Rent arrears, New landlord…? | The Tenants' Voice
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Rent arrears, New landlord...?

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100 views 2 replies latest reply: 31 August 2017
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Other

Hi

I have lived in the same flat for almost 3 years.

The property has just been sold to a new person.

I have most of my rent paid by my local council as I am on Jobseekers Allowance and I make up the remainder with my Child Tax Credits. 

Not really relevant but my doctor would verify that I was very ill at one point, about 2 years ago, for several months – I couldn’t even get out of bed except to use the toilet – and I let all my benefits slip so my [£950/month] rent went unpaid for a few months. I am now fully recovered, thankfully.

Due to this I had agreed a plan in place and have been gradually paying off the arrears to my previous landlord ever since.

The new landlord says I now owe him the arrears. Is this correct and/or legal?

He has also said I have 14 days to pay it ALL [almost £800] or an application may be made for possession.

IF he is now owed the arrears, I don’t have the money and had an agreed plan which I was sticking to, so can he legally demand this?

I believe he wants to evict me so that he can put the rent up and re-let the property.

I’ve done nothing wrong but this is stressing me badly. I only want to carry on as I was before,

I’m panicking and very worried so all help would be appreciated.

Many thanks

Ann

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Tenant

Hi Ann.

It does rather sound like your landlord’s primary motivation is to pressure you into moving out.

If you signed a new tenancy agreement with your new landlord after the change of ownership (and you should have), then the debt owing to your previous landlord definitely does *NOT* carry over, unless you *ALSO* signed any additional document to acknowledge that was the case.

It sounds as though the arrangement you had in place with your previous landlord to repay the arrears was informal. That is: you and he just agreed verbally that you would repay the arrears. Unless that arrangement was formally covered by a County Court Judgement or Administration Order, it does not exist as any kind of financial contract or instrument that can be passed or sold between creditors.

Your previous landlord would first have to get you to formally acknowledge the debt, and the repayment schedule you agreed, in a written contract. Then he could in theory have sold that contract along with the property. I strongly suspect that this didn’t happen, from what you are saying.

From a legal perspective (disclaimer: but I’m no solicitor…), your debt is an informal personal debt with your previous landlord. And if you are not directly paying him back, there is no reason why you should be paying it to your new landlord.

It really does sound like your new landlord is trying to pressure you into leaving. Property sales with a “sitting tenant” are always a bit of a challenge, and it may be that your new landlord isn’t all that keen on having a tenant who relies on supplementary benefits/tax credits in order to pay their rent.

My advice to you would be for you to visit your Local Authority benefit office and ask them for advice and guidance. Local authorities have an obligation to ensure adequate housing for those who qualify for benefit assistance, all the more so if you have children. And because of this, they do not appreciate Private Landlords trying to get rid of tenants who are on benefits, as this means more work for your local authority to find you somewhere else to live…

…And this means that they will very much be on your side, if there is any sense or indication that your current landlord is trying to “constructively” evict you.

So a visit to your benefit office should be your first priority.

Good luck!

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Other

Hi Steve

Much to digest there and a lot of great information. Very much appreciated indeed. Many thanks for your time and effort in sharing your know-how/experience.

Thank you so much

Ann

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