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stephen_kular
22-12-2011, 12:21 PM
A friend rented a house through a homeless charity, they seem to have let
the tenant take possession without getting him sign the tenancy, this was
about 15 years ago. the charity collects the rent from the council and
act as agents and pay my friend less commission. At the time of renting
they admitted they had forgotten to get the signature and passed the
tenancy to my friend to see if he could get the tenant to sign, the
tenant refused to do this.

The tenant keeps breaking things and also now has started to make claims
that he hurt himself do to loose fittings and so on. The rent is also
very low.

Is the tenant a sitting tenant? can my friend get his property back? any
thoughts.

thesaint
22-12-2011, 12:25 PM
I think the question you are asking is whether he is a protected tenant.

jjlandlord
22-12-2011, 12:44 PM
I think it will depend on whether the tenancy started before or after the 28 Feb. 1997.

westminster
22-12-2011, 13:25 PM
A friend rented a house through a homeless charity,
Do you mean the friend granted a tenancy to the charity, and the charity sublet the property to the current occupier?

If so, did the tenancy contract impose any conditions in respect of subletting?



the charity collects the rent from the council and
act as agents and pay my friend less commission.
OR do you mean that the charity agreed to act as agent for your friend, and find a tenant/manage the property? If so, is there a written contract spelling out the charity's obligations etc?


Is the tenant a sitting tenant? can my friend get his property back? any
thoughts.
The type of tenancy the occupier has will depend on the exact date it started (i.e. when he moved in), so please tell us the date. Please also confirm that the property is in England/Wales.

Regaining possession is one issue, but there's another; if the charity has acted negligently/breached their contract, your friend may have a case to claim damages from the charity.

stephen_kular
23-12-2011, 10:39 AM
I think the question you are asking is whether he is a protected tenant.

Could be? I am not sure what protection or rights he has, need to find out where my friend stands.
Thanks

stephen_kular
23-12-2011, 10:41 AM
My friend said that he thinks he moved in 1996,

stephen_kular
23-12-2011, 10:50 AM
The charity are acting as agents, he said that he did sign a contract with them but does not have a copy. The tenant moved in 1996 and it is in England. He has asked the charity for paperwork but non is forthcoming. I will check if the charity is actually a charity or just a company.

Also the charity must have given some paperwork to the council, how could I get this?

45002
23-12-2011, 13:16 PM
My friend said that he thinks he moved in 1996,

If they moved in between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 and the ordinary landlord did not give a notice at the start of the tenancy, saying that they would have an assured shorthold tenancy..

They would be Assured tenants.http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/renting_and_leasehold/private_tenancies/assured_tenancies

westminster
23-12-2011, 14:46 PM
My friend said that he thinks he moved in 1996,
45002 is correct, and it is likely that the occupier has an assured tenancy, not an assured shorthold tenancy (AST).

This is assuming neither the LL nor charity/agent served a s.20 notice on the tenant at the start of the tenancy - and since there wasn't even a written contract, this seems a fair assumption. (Your friend needs to obtain a copy of the contract with the charity to see whether it mentions the agent having to serve such a notice. And what their other obligations are meant to be.)

There's a big difference between the two types of tenancy; it's easy to evict an AST tenant (under s.21 Housing Act 1988 - which applies only to ASTs), but very difficult to evict an assured tenant - unless there is a certain amount of unpaid rent or a serious breach of contract, etc. (Also, if your friend used to live at the property, and wants to move back in, this would give him a basis upon which to apply for possession). See Schedule II Housing Act 1988 for the full list of grounds for possession, but bear in mind that only Grounds 1 - 8 are mandatory.

Slightly better news is that your friend may unilaterally increase the rent by serving notice under s.13 Housing Act 1988. The T would have the opportunity to contest the increase and the matter would be decided by a rent assessment committee, but if the increase is fair and reasonable then it should be okay.

What exactly does the charity/agent do in exchange for their 'commission'? Apart from being so good as to collect the rent from Housing Benefit. Do they, for example, organize repairs? Arrange annual gas safety checks? Etc.

If rent collection is ALL they do, the first thing I suggest your friend does is take back control of this, and get the HB paid to him direct; cut out the charity/agent and stop paying them a commission.

If they manage the property in other ways, I would still recommend he takes back control of rent collection; that way, he will be in a position to refuse to pay the commission until they produce a copy of the contract.

Link to Housing Act 1988 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/50/contents