PDA

View Full Version : Rent arrears only because of agents' inefficiency



stardust
28-09-2006, 09:11 AM
I moved in to my rental property 3rd august the letting agent had not brought a copy of contract or standing order forms with them and told would post it to me, which has never arrived even after speaking to them on numerous occasions. Plus I was told my white goods would be delivered within a few day which again has still not arrived. I went away for two weeks and arrived back to letters pushed under my door dated 30th august saying i was late paying my rent and they were coming to change the locks and remove my property. How I can be late with my payment I dont know it was only due on the 3rd september. Two hours later they were there with a locksmith and they are now saying I moved in a month earlier than I did and want me out is this legal what they are doing? It seems as though I may have a dodgy agent cos another couple moved in at the same time as me and now they are gone it may have already happened to them.
Can anyone help please

Sorry it was so long
stardust

P.Pilcher
28-09-2006, 10:40 AM
It would appear that you have a verbal assured shorthold tenancy agreement with the landlord on whose behalf these agents are acting most unprofessionally. Your rent must be in arrears by two months before they can take action to evict you and this must be done by a court. If this is the case, then payment of rent to bring your arrears below the two month period or an attempt to make such a payment negates any court action from being taken. Under these circumstances, the landlord cannot apply to the court for your eviction until he has both given you at least two months notice that he intends to evict you and six months has elapsed from the time you moved in. As he has no signed tenancy agreement, a court hearing is also necessary.

To evict you by any other means such as changing the locks is totally illegal for which the penalties are severe. You must immediately contact your citizen's advice bureau, Shelter or a solicitor (the first half hour of the consultation period is free) and explain the situation. They will know what to do. Paying or attempting to pay the agent and rent you think you owe (and obtaining written receipt for same) will not harm your case.

P.P.

Beeber
28-09-2006, 10:56 AM
Can someone on the forum confirm whether, if the tenant has not paid any rent to date, the tenant is actually almost two months in arrears?

My interpretation of the original post is that the tenant, moving in to the property in early August, hasn't realised that rent should have been paid up front, therefore by early September, the tenant is actually a whole month in rent arrears.

The rent was considered to be due on the 3rd of September but surely the letting agent would have considered this date as been payment for the following month's rent (i.e.October)?

If this is not the case, I apologise for any confusion - the tenant would not have been helped by the absence of a contract which would have made clear their payment terms and conditions anyway.

This tenant is being treated atrociously.

The tenant could ring the free Shelter advice line -0808 800 4444, open seven days a week from 8am to midnight.

stardust
28-09-2006, 11:17 AM
Thanks for all the advice I have actually signed a contract they just didn't give me the copy and also I have paid the first month rent upfront and also my bond, the rent for the 3rd September has also been paid. But they are still saying I am in arrears. I have a horrible suspicion that they may have altered my contract in some way and that is why they will not give me a copy. I have also contacted the landlord himself who didn't even know I had moved into the property, but once he had spoken to the agent he is now believing them. It is all a bit of a mess. All I want is a quiet life.

Stardust

MrShed
28-09-2006, 11:18 AM
It is a criminal offence they are attempting to carry out...unlawful eviction, and also I would say harrassment. Contact your local council, Shelter, Citizens Advice, and if they come round again contact the police. May be worth contacting the police anyway just to let them know what is going on. Although...they do seem to be somewhat unwilling generally to get involved in such disputes.

Beeber
28-09-2006, 11:34 AM
Though I imagine you've already done this, have you double checked your bank account to verify that the transactions have taken place (i.e. that the electronic transfer worked okay or the cheque has been cashed?).

Perhaps they don't want to give you a copy of your tenancy agreement, not because they've necessarily changed it - though they seem pretty unscrupulous so they may well have doctored it, but because it may make clear that they can't just come round and change locks or boot you out!

Or maybe they have a head in the sand approach and wrongly believe that if you don't have a copy of the TA in your hand, it should be treated as if it doesn't exist!

Ultimately, though, the previous posters are correct - even without a copy of the document and even if you were in arrears (which you are not), the agent is not following the legal processes.

I assume that you can easily prove that you did not move in a month earlier than they claim - for example, you have a previous tenancy agreement for your last property that indicates you were living somewhere else during those dates?

And did the locks get changed or was that just a door-step threat to change them?

stardust
28-09-2006, 11:49 AM
Thanks again. They did actually turn up with the guy to change the locks. But I was very stubborn which I thinnk I was entitled to do and would not move from in front of my front door to let him change them. I have called the police and NO they do not want to know but what is unusual. The money has gone out of the account and I had to pay it by cheque over the counter when I finally got the account details from them so I have proof through my own bank and a receipt it has been paid in. As I said at first it seems as though I am not the only one they have done this to even my neighbour had problems when he first moved in but she wont go near his place now (god knows what he did to scare her off) Oh forgot they said they can get the bailiffs to call around anytime they want is that true or not?

Stardust

MrShed
28-09-2006, 12:01 PM
Baliffs thing is a bare faced lie.

Beeber
28-09-2006, 12:31 PM
The following links indicate that the Bailiff threat is an empty one and it would seem to be a scare tactic from the Letting Agent

http://www.thesite.org/homelawandmoney/money/creditanddebt/bailiffs

" a court can order the seizure of your possessions - amounting to the equivalent sum of your debt - and this is carried out by a bailiff"

As you are not in debt and no court action has been taken, this isn't applicable.

http://england.shelter.org.uk/advice/advice-496.cfm

Content applies to England

"Most private tenants can only be evicted if their landlord gets a possession order from the court. ...The bailiffs can evict you if your landlord has a possession order and the date on it has passed. Your landlord can only ask the bailiffs to come if you haven't left after this date"

Make sure you document all the events and contact that you've had with your Letting Agent, including all the threats and so on.

Does anyone think that the tenant should contact his local council to see if they have a department that deals with private tenancy disputes/rogue agents, even the trading standards department, or is there either no such service or they are likely to be toothless and reluctant like the Police?

stardust
28-09-2006, 15:54 PM
Thanks guys for all the help you have given me. I have been in touch with a housing advice officer at my local council and they are already on the case for trying to illegally evict and harassment. Hopefully this matter shall be resolved soon.

Will keep you posted.

Thanks again.
Stardust

P.Pilcher
28-09-2006, 17:34 PM
I think that the only other thing to say is that after you have correctly stood up for your rights, your landlord will not want you to stay in his property. Thus he will probably serve you with a notice to vacate the property when the six month period period is up. He must of course give you two months notice of this intention.
After all this, do you really want to stay?

P.P.