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Old landlord and 'rent arrears'

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174 views 1 replies latest reply: 21 May 2016
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Tenant

Last year, me and my friend moved into a 2 bed flat together. We had signed a 6 month tenancy.

4 months in, rent up to date, the living room ceiling started leaking, and after a few days, fell through. We tried to contact the landlord to get it fixed when we first noticed the leak. The number we had wasn’t working. We asked other tenants, but they had the same number.

We stopped paying the rent, in an attempt to get him to contact us, as we were now both ill as a result of how cold and wet it was. We were desperate. We couldn’t afford to move, as he had our deposit of over a grand, and I lost my job 2 months after this happened.

As we were trying to get the money together to move, 4 months after the hole appeared, he cut our electric. No notice. He put a letter through our door, saying we owed him £3000, and he wanted us out. Now that we finally had a number for him, we contacted him to discuss the situation. He said he wanted his money, and was applying to have us evicted. I told him there was no need, as we were leaving, but it was illegal to cut our power. He said he would put it back on if we let him view the condition of the flat, which we had no choice but to agree to it, especially as we wanted to show him the damage to the living room.

He completely disregarded the damage, saying it wasn’t reason to not give him rent, and that he had had the same number for years (before he drove away, he changed a ‘to let’ sign across the street to his current number). He didn’t care about the damage to our stuff, or our health.

We have finally managed to move out. He is texting us, threatening to take us to court for £3000.

My thinking is this. We didn’t claim our deposit back, so that would reduce the amount to £2000. Also, he is trying to claim for months outside of our tenancy agreement. Are we legally liable for those? Because he could just say we lived there and are liable for rent even after we moved out.

I am trying to do the right thing here. I know we haven’t handled things brilliantly, but with losing my job, I had a bad bout of depression and shut down.

I am still unemployed, and cannot afford to pay him anything right now. But I want to check what I am actually responsible for. Am I liable, even with the damage, and the tenancy agreement being so short?

Thanks for your time and help.

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Agent

K,

This is a very complicated and multi-layered issues. I would urgently seek legal advice. I would also advise the Landlord, should he contact you again, that he should not harass you and should simply take the action he is threatening.

The likelihood is that he knows he wont or is unlikely to succeed at claim but this is a common pressure tactic used against Tenants who dont understand their rights.

Personall, bassec on what you have said, I think you were wrong to surrender your deposit and, had this not been registered, you could have been entitled to up to 3 x times the deposit (£6k) for breach of regulations by him.

As for switching of the electric- this is not legal without a court rder to do so.

The various issue here highlight how important it is that, as Tenants, you educate yourself- both on your rights AND your responsibilites. Knowing this enables you to handle situations like this with relative ease and confidence.

This site is full of free courses to do- so start doing them. If you dont inform and educate yourself then issue slike this will persist whenever you come across a bad landlord or agent.

Hope that helps

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