Sorry for the long post.
We moved into our property in August 2010. Our landlord 'A' signs tenancy agreement with contact details of solicitor 'B' on behalf of new landlord 'C' due to impending sale.
We're mostly paid by HB, though I recently started my own business so have been paying an amount, my rent is 'X' and I pay around 20% of 'X' whilst the council (Sorry) pay the other 80% of the rent.
Until October, we had regular contact with 'A' who we believed to be our LL. He left to return to South Africa, told us he didn't know when he'd be back and didn't leave contact details for anybody else.
We paid our 20% of 'X' rent until February, we owe a fee to either 'A' or 'C', whoever turns out to be our landlord, the money is lying in our possession until the details become clearer. We have been in touch with 'B' a solicitor who claims that 'A' sold the property to 'C' and we maintain contact with him, he promised to let us know how much we owe to 'C' in February after we contacted him by phone. To do this he'd need to know how much we paid through standing order to 'A' and how much was owed.
Many tenants could only dream of the next situation. 'B' never got back in touch and instead, we had to phone him a fortnight later, he said 'C' was in South Africa due to personal circumstances and would be back in a couple of weeks.
We got to May and phoned 'B' again, we could have continued paying 'A' but considering he wasn't our LL and 'B' didn't know how much was owing etc, we felt uncomfortable in doing so. We contacted 'B' to state our intentions to leave and asking about how much we owe either 'A' or 'C'. 'B' told us that he was speaking to 'C' in a weeks time and he would find out, he was very thankful that we wanted to pay and told us to go to him if we had any issues.
Last month, we viewed three properties, and decided to go ahead with two (Bit greedy eh!?). Feeling that 'B' was on our side, we gave his details out for references, afterall he said we hadn't been a trouble (We've never met him) and seemed to like us.
Letting agent 'D' said they couldn't process our tenancy application and letting agent 'E' went further to say our landlord was not happy with the state of the property and we are apparently £3000 in debt. (I've worked it out to be under £400, which is put to one side for when I know who to pay, and nobody has visited since October 2010, we haven't even met 'B' or 'C'.
'B' now claims that 'C' is in South Africa, where a family member of 'C' is undergoing a triple heart bypass. We felt in February that the situation was dodgy and that's why we witheld our money, partly to protect our finances and partly to get clarification. I may add that AB and C are all South African.
I've been in contact with Citizens Advice, who say that if we need a reference, to go to a previous LL. Problem is, this is our first tenancy.
We have two children and are hoping to move to get our eldest in school before September. We feel that maybe 'B' is trying to keep us in the property as it is less hassle to do so than travelling 150 miles from London to find a new tenant.
We want to leave moreso now as we've found out that we're caught up in a bad situation that we never intended to be.
Please advise, I apologise for the long post and if it seems confusing.