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829 views 1 replies latest reply: 15 December 2014
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Tenant

Hi there, I have recently signed a assured tenancy contract for 2 years to start on 15 January. The letting agent has taken my deposit, advance rent and admin fees. The owner of the property has also signed the contract. I am self employed which the agency knew and I have incidentally been with them at my current property for 5 years. They told me they needed my passport, 3 mths bank statements and a landlord ref which they would provide. They are now saying the apartment building has a management team who need to vet potential tenants and they require an employers ref which I can’t give as I am self employed. I keep contacting them but they still won’t let me know if I am moving or not. They say they haven’t heard from the building managers. I am getting so stressed out as I have no idea if I will be homeless come January. It is getting too late to look for other flats now what with Xmas coming up etc. because money has been taken and contracts signed, are they obliged by law to let me move in?

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Administrator

Hi Tiba

Sorry to hear you’re going through something so stressful. This is pretty bad practice by the agents – they really shouldn’t have taken anything other than a holding deposit until the day of the move.

We aren’t lawyers so we can’t advise you on whether you can force them to perform the contract but as it doesn’t start until 15th January it seems unlikely (although we’re not sure whether the fact that everything has already been paid would affect that – perhaps contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and ask them that question?).

On a practical level, if you didn’t move in that would probably leave the property empty as it’s late for them to find another tenant too so it’s probably in everyone’s interests for you to actually move in and start paying rent. Instead of an employer’s reference, freelancers are often simply able to get a statement of earnings – do you have a reputable accountant who could provide this? As far as we can tell this is really just to prove that you’ve earned enough in the last 12 months to cover the rent. Can you contact the building management team direct and find out if this is enough if the agent is still dragging their heels?

It may just be a case of being relentlessly persistent with the agents. Unfortuantely, as they have everything from you already, there’s little reason for them to move quickly but it doesn’t mean it will fall through. Presumably you’ve passed the credit check (if they’ve already taken the fees from you and you’ve signed the contract) and your 5 year renting history should also work in your favour.

Hope that’s helpful.

Alex

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