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AWOL Landlady!

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1613 views 1 replies latest reply: 06 November 2013

Hi all, I’m new here and wondered if anyone may have some advice.
I have lived in a rented property for nearly 5 years now.
The property was managed by an estate agents originally but they pulled out of managing the property in March this year as they had had no contact from the landlady in over a year! When they pulled out, I wrote to the landlady and had no reply. The council wrote to her and had no reply (regarding housing benefit payments). Agents told me that when they tried to see the landlady at her place of work, she ran out the back way!! The agents also confided in me that in the whole time I have lived here, the landlady hasn’t cashed any of the rent cheques that they sent her!!
I was in receipt of some housing benefit and I paid top up.
Since agents pulled out of managing, I haven’t paid any rent and housing benefit was cancelled (as they had no response of who and where to make payments to).
My question is…. all the rent I have paid minus the agents management fees of course, is still sitting in the agents bank account! As I am moving out shortly (and I know a lot of people have said to me why move out if you’re living rent free? House is in a state of disrepair and I have council letter to confirm that) I was wondering, is it right that the agents keep all the rent I have paid when they are no longer the agents and when the landlady hasn’t collected it, in all the time I’ve been here?

I would appreciate any thoughts, comments or professional opinions on this.
Thank you

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There is something distinctly odd about this in that the landlady hasn’t cashed the cheques. Has anyone done a land registry check to make sure that she owns the property?

However, in answer to your question, the estate agents should be holding the rent money in a client account and that money does not belong to them, it belongs to the landlady.

Clearly since you have lived in the property for 5 years you have and should have paid rent so the money doesn’t belong to you either.

What seems strange is that the landlady ran away from the estate agents. Do you have the work telephone number of the landlady or will the agents give it to you? It might be an idea to call her at work and ask what she intends to do about the cheques that she hasn’t cashed. Many of them will be out of date now in any event. If by some stretch of the imagination she doesn’t want the money, you could ask if she would be prepared to refund it to you.

If she refunds it, make sure you get something in writing from her but there has to be an underlying reason why she is not cashing these cheques. Maybe she doesn’t own the property, there is some reason that she is not allowed to let the property, she is claiming some form of benefit and would have problems if she declared the income from the rent – the list is endless. We can only speculate as to what the reason might be but you can be certain that there is one.

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