Am I being screwed over? | The Tenants' Voice
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Am I being screwed over?

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291 views 2 replies latest reply: 18 January 2017
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Tenant

Hi all,

We rolled over a 2 year tenancy for a further 6 months in Oct 2016.  Initial request to change to rolling monthly contract or 3 month contract were declined by the landlord (LL).  We wanted it short term/flexible, as a visa from UK to Australia was being processed and we didn’t know if or when it would be granted.  Visa has now been granted and we have moved to Aus and served 2 months notice in Nov 2016.  This left 3 months of the lease remaining. The property has been marketed since Nov, however they have not found new tenants yet.  

In the 8 years of having the flat the LL has stated it’s only been empty for 5 days, due to its popular location and good condition.  We are aware of friends of ours applying twice and being rejected by LL even though they have the same situation (married, professional couple, one toddler).

We moved out on the 2nd Jan but the last monthly rent payment took us up to the 12th Jan.  We expected a new tenant to be found; as they had from Nov to market it and we knew we would face a penalty of 10% of the remaining rent (3 months).  With no new tenant a further payment has been taken for Feb.

I enquired if the landlord had taken back possession but was advised that she has not.  I also know that she planned to carry out some improvement works in the flat, such as painting etc after our tenancy and before the new tenancy.  The agent has confirmed that the flat is currently being painted throughout, which no doubt I will be billed for.  I am in effect paying the rent for her to decorate her own flat.

Does the fact that without me as the tenant being advised they have commenced improvement works constitute the landlord taking back possession?

Also when I asked for the check out report I was advised it won’t be completed until new tenants are found or the lease expires.  What if damage is done after the 2nd Jan when we moved out, especially as they have had painters in?

Many thanks

Pete

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Tenant

Hello, 

Am I being screwed over? – Maybe, but there is hardly anything you can do about it. 

Could the landlord intentionally reject every application in order to make you pay for the full duration of the tenancy, while they do restoration works and tidy up ? – Yeah, they might be, but you signed the contract and are responsible for the rent regardless. 

The landlord is not required to accept new tenants just to let you off the leash. Furthermore, they may only be considered in possession, if they change the locks or put a permanent resident inside the property. Builders and handymen are not considered of being in possession. 

The fact that they didn’t consult you before they proceed to do building work means they did ,in fact, ignored the rules and technically did not respect your privacy. However, unless you’re prepared to pack a bag and go back sleeping in the property and just make things difficult for them, there is no goal you can pursue. 

As for the check out report, it’s done when the tenancy ends, so you should not expect it before that. If you wanted to make sure there is no damage done and pinned on you after you leave, you should have done your own inventory and have the landlord signed it, so you have a benchmark of your own in case of a dispute. 

The bottom line is you should have never signed the contract if you expected to leave in a couple of months. If you don’t sign a new contract, the tenancy rolls into periodic and the landlord has to either accept it, or initiate an eviction procedure which will take a minimum of 2 months for the Section 21 notice to run out and then probably 1-2 months more for a real eviction. 

By the sounds of it, your landlord probably wouldn’t have bothered to go to court and evict you just because they can..

Anyway, sorry you’re not getting the answers you wanted, but you effectively tied your hands together and now you can’t do anything about the situation, EVEN IF your landlord is trying to mess with you. 

On the other hand, your landlord maybe just doesn’t like your applying friends or is looking for a different type of tenants now. Unfortunately for you, they can use the time you pay for rent to look for the perfect tenant to take your place. 

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Tenant

Audrey Wright – not sure if my first reply made it through, but I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed response and for summing the situation up so well.

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