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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69534
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello - I require advice regarding a dispute with a former

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Hello - I require advice regarding a dispute with a former landlord asap please! I signed a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy agreement on 17 August for one year. I was going to move into the house on the 27th August, but when I arrived there was mold in the kitchen cupboards and around the radiators which must have been leaking (as well as other less major issues). I immediately contacted the landlord to request termination of the contract as I was not happy with living in those conditions. Initially, the landlord did agree - but then he said that he would only agree if he kept my months deposit and 2 weeks rent for August. He kept giving me impossible time constraints to seek advice, and to take my query up with the deposit protection scheme. I did take the issue up with the deposit protection scheme in August/September and they reached a conclusion in October that the landlord was to retain the deposit for possible loss of rent or moneys spent seeking a new tenant. I had not heard from the landlord since the end of August, when he said we could terminate the contract as long as I agreed to his conditions - leaving the property in the condition I found it and leaving my key in the bedroom, and agreeing that neither party was to ask for further monies off the other - but he did advice me and said I was welcome to take the issue to the My Deposits scheme. I have now received an email from him on Tuesday 28 January 2014 stating that no termination was reached and demanding that I have to give him a further £630 by MONDAY 3 February or he will pass it on to debt collection to make me pay the full 12 months rent! I am aware that he cannot make me pay any monies to him if he has got another tenant living in the room I signed a contract for, but how would I go about finding this out? I have also spoken to SHELTER who have advised me over the telephone that it appears to them also that the landlord did in fact enter into an implied surrender of contract with me on the 29 August. Also, is there not some sort of law stating that he should have contacted me regularly in order to seek money from me, as opposed to 5 months down the line? I am a PGCE student and have had to take two days off school to try to gain advice regarding what to do as the landlord has once again given me an unreasonable time constraint, but I am no further forward as of yet and he is demanding this money by Monday! I cannot afford, nor do I think I should have to give him any more money, but I can't afford to risk not giving him money by Monday and potentially then having to pay over £6000 rent for a house I stayed 2 nights in!! Can you please get back to me as soon as possible. I can forward on all email correspondence to you to read through if that helps. Many Thanks Deborah XXXXXXX

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I need to know what my rights are. Should I have to pay another 630 pounds when he agreed to terminate the contract, and kept my deposit?


And can the landlord / how would he go about pursuing me for the 12 months rent?


 


 


Is there a way of finding out if he has someone else living in the room I had signed for (as he cannot then legally make me give him any more money).


 


What shoud I reply to him?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.

You could argue that he surrendered originally but the problem with that is two fold. The first is that he will only deny that and the second is that the deposit scheme seems to have considered the point and rejected it. That is not to say that it couldn't be renewed in court but its not likely that a court would take a different view.

However, if you left in August then it will not have taken him until January to fill the room. This situation is simply resolved and it really comes down to this. You left early. The tenancy deposit scheme considered the issue and decided that was unlawful which is why he got the deposit. In legal theory he can sue for the remaining months due under the contract but he is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking another tenant.

If he has not filled this property already then there will only be two reasons. The first is that he isn't looking and he won't get away with that. The second is that nobody will take it because of disrepair and he won't get away with that either.

You just refuse to pay and invite him to sue if he disagrees. If he does sue he will have to prove what steps have been taken to find a new tenant and its not likely he would get away with claiming for this long.

On your main point though, you can always ask him if he has let to anybody else but if he refuses to tell you then he cannot be forced.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have the "implied surrender" in email form - shelter has advised me that he cannot give back on that, especially 5 months down the line. Would that stand up in court?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I haven't seen the email but my concern is that it didn't seem to work at the tenancy deposit scheme if they decided he was entitled to your deposit.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

They said that he should get to keep the deposit to cover his losses of having to advertise and look for a new tenant.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, and thats the problem.

If there were an accepted implied surrender argument you wouldnt have been liable for anything.

Sometimes the scheme do get it wrong. They are capable of error like any other tribunal.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

But I didn't receive anything back, and the landlord had my rent until the end of August so does the fact that he was allowed to keep my deposit for potential loss of rent not mean that the contract was annulled.


 


And can he just pick this up again 5 months down the line - I haven't heard from him since I left the property in August?


 


Sorry for all the questions, I am just so unsure as to what to do!

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No. It just means that they rejected the implied surrender argument.

However, if you left in August then it will not have taken him until January to fill the room. This situation is simply resolved and it really comes down to this. You left early. The tenancy deposit scheme considered the issue and decided that was unlawful which is why he got the deposit. In legal theory he can sue for the remaining months due under the contract but he is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking another tenant.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok, so my best bet really is to reply (so that if it does go to court it doesn't look like I've tried to ignore the issue) and tell him that I have sought advice and that if he wants to proceed through the courts he is welcome to do so?


 


Thank you for all your help!!

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, thats right.

No problem and all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’. You can also bookmark my profile http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-remus2004/
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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