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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Serious concerns regarding the landlord

Customer Question

My landlord wants to change a clause to my AST when it is due for renewal. The clause would include the Ground Rent and Estate Charge which would be payable by me. Is this allowed? The prescribed particulars were never given to me despite the deposit being held in a scheme? Can I do something about these facts? Failing to sign the new agreement will result in a section 21.


 


According to the landlord, he has deposited it with DPS although when I use the online checker service in accordance with my deposit, postcode and surname the site comes back negative and says no deposit has been protected under those details. 


 


I am quite concerned that the landlord is trying to make a fool out of me and use consistently indirect threats that should I not be happy, I am free to vacate the premises. 

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : Which prescribed particulars are you referring to please?
Customer : As stated previously, the deposit is supposed to be held in a scheme. After this the landlord is responsible for giving me the prescribed information relating to this deposit along with an informative leaflet. These are the prescribed particulars I am referring to contained within the landlord-tenant relationship.
Customer :

In addition, I am left with no other option but to sign the renewed agreement with the new provisions contained therein relating to "Ground Rent and Estate Charges". Refusing to sign the new agreement will result in an eviction notice with a 2 month notice.

Customer :

The landlord has made a statement by email claiming the deposit is held with DPS, however as of today when I checked with DPS using the agreement specifics DPS returned no result for any deposit being held on my name and address which I find most peculiar as I believe the margin for error on DPS is very small.

Customer :

The house suffers from a number of injuries, is overpriced according to the latest real estate valuations, previous tenants have warrants out for them for failing to pay council tax and all these matters were not disclosed to me upon entering the agreement with him.

Customer :

Original agreement started on 03/09/2013 ending on 03/03/2014 whereby no demand for "Ground Rent or Estate Charge" was made but now upon renewal he decides to pass these charges onto me much to my bemusement. He notified me 2 days before the agreement was due for renewal that he would pass these charges onto me which I believe is insufficient notice.

Customer :

Whenever I mention a complaint he suggest the two month notice period and my liberty to vacate the property which I believe to be an infringement of my right to be free of harassment. In addition to misrepresenting facts and making subsequent fraudulent claims.

Customer :

It appears that I have no choice but to comply with his request and renew the contract on his terms, allow him to act with impunity but consequently seek a liability against him for failing to comply with the Localism Act or provisions contained therein in relation to the protection of a tenant's deposit.

Customer :

The penalty of which are up to 1-3 times the amount of the held deposit. Partial or late protection is considered a violation too. Please confirm.

Customer :

Look forward to your reply sometime between now and Monday evening.

Customer :

Thank you.

Alex Watts :

Have you yet asked for the information relating to the deposit please?

Customer :

In review of the Housing Act 1988 there is no provision in which I am obliged to request the particulars however the landlord is supposed to provide me with the information. And when I asked to provide me the information I was told that he will give it to me together with the renewal of the agreement. This implies that no custody was given to a scheme in the past and upon renewal he is now going to do this but he is still liable to pay the penalty as I have given him my deposit 6 months ago.

Customer :

Also, in lieu of the above, the old contract did include a clause for estate service charges which he chose not to pursue but now upon renewal he has decided to pursue it. This contract is designed to give all the leverage to the landlord and to maximise revenue for the landlord and disadvantaging the tenant at every corner.

Customer :

And when I question something he merely replies with if you are not happy he is willing to terminate the tenancy. The landlord treats me with disrespect and nothing more than a cash cow.

Customer :

I am not sure whether an answer will be given in sufficient time but given that I only have 24 hours to face this unprofessional individual, I am going to sign the renewal and pay the service charges and continue the rental for another 6 months after which I will seek a liability in full against the landlord for late filing of the deposit and making a calculated attempt to avoid liability by pretending that the renewal is the original signing and subsequent deposit correlates to the renewal opposed to the original contract. I have two witnesses of when I gave the deposit.

Customer :

In addition, he has withheld critical information from me which has had a severe impact on my credit profile as there are various markers on this address for warrants from the council. To which he has failed to notify me and when I asked he ignored the question.

Customer :

The value of the property on the rental market is considered less than what he is charging me every month and the condition of the property is below average. I have done up the property and the landlord keeps saying that I am to return the property in the condition I received it in...Am I supposed to destroy the paint work, ruin the carpets etc to bring it back to the condition he gave it to me? If not than on the balance of it again, the landlord is going to benefit from the free upgrades to the property.

Customer :

Surely there ought to be a law against unfair business practice within the rental markets, behaviour which could reasonably be considered as a negligence.

Customer :

And, my tenancy agreement should give me some rights too.

Alex Watts : In short you are entitled to the deposit Information within 14 days of asking.
Alex Watts : If the landlord does not then he can not take any step to evict you.
Alex Watts : Therefore if he has not supplied it, he can not serve a notice to quit.
Alex Watts : He can not issue possession proceedings.
Alex Watts : But the law states the landlord can not take any step, such as refusal to renew if he has failed to provide details of the deposit scheme.
Alex Watts : Please see the link below for more information.
Alex Watts : tenancy_deposits/tenancy_deposit_protection_schemes2/tenancy_deposit_protection_schemes
Alex Watts : I mean
Alex Watts : http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/tenancy_deposits/tenancy_deposit_protection_schemes2/tenancy_deposit_protection_schemes
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Customer :

The query is broken down in several sections.

Customer :

I am aware that a notice can only be served when I am in possession of the deposit information. He is not threatening to serve a notice. He merely likes to remind me that he is happy for me to quit the tenancy should I be displeased with a matter opposed to negotiate it. This does not constitute of a good landlord but only a money-hungry landlord.

Customer :

For example, I will be renewing the agreement with for another 6 months in which he has now decided that he would like to charge me ground rent and estate charges. These charges were not charged in the original tenancy six months even though it was in that agreement as well. Now with the renewal he wants this money. Upon questioning the matter he responded merely by stating that he is happy to turn the agreement into a period rolling contract for two months and I happy to look elsewhere leaving me no choice but to sign the agreement or face quitting the tenancy despite deposit related technicalities. He is a lawyer and abuses his position to create a situation of duress in which I am to comply all the time with his requests.

Customer :

The second part is the deposit which he claims to have protected with DPS but DPS cannot find any record.

Customer :

Meaning he is in breach, however when he gives me the new contract he will be providing me with deposit details. In my view, these details will be 6 months late and should not be considered as details provided under the renewed contract potentially pretending to dps that it concerns the renewed agreement. Should the information say that the deposit was protected on 3 March 2014 than this would be 6 months late. Should it say it was protecting on 3 September 2013 then it was on time but I never received a leaflet of deposit information. What is my position on this matter?

Customer :

Thirdly, what is the position in relation to outstanding markers on this address for warrants by the council? It should not form part of my responsibility as a tenant as the landlord has withheld this critical information and misrepresented the property.

Customer :

Fourth, I have done up the house and the AST states that I must return the property back to its original state..In doing so it would mean I would have to cause injury to the property (potentially breaching other clauses within said agreement) and by not doing so the landlord enjoys a significant benefit at my expense.

Customer :

What is the position on this matter as the landlord is clearly in it for himself not the wellbeing or customer satisfaction of his tenants.

Customer :

I just don't understand how this man can get away with ripping me off and lying to me without consequence. I am the one that is out of pocket, consistently subjected to indirect threats to quit the property, Supposed to keep quiet and cough up every time he asks, enjoy very little legal protection in the matter because he ensures that whenever he may need money it is a clause of something covered in the AST... effectively creating a situation in which I have not other option but to cooperate.

Alex Watts :

I agree they will be 6 months late, but then if he DOES give you the details there is no breach and you can't take action.

Alex Watts :

There is case law to say that even if proceedings and issued and the Landlord THEN protects the deposit, nothing will happen.

Alex Watts :

But you can refuse to sign a new lease on the basis the particulars have not been signed and there would be nothing he can do.

Alex Watts :

But clearly if he then protects it he could serve notice to quit.

Alex Watts :

You are only required to put the property back into the same condition, save for fair wear and tear.

Alex Watts :

So you would not be expected to decorate etc.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Customer :

Hmm, this is information contrary to what I have received before in relation to my other questions from the perspective of a landlord. In which it was made abundantly clear that when a landlord protects the deposit late the tenant can still claim a penalty.

Customer :

When everything is said and done, there is nothing I can do and as a tenant I have no rights of any kind. This is the short of it and I ought just accept these unfair business practices or move elsewhere, in my opinion this is a very poor standard of legislative protection for anybody to have.

Alex Watts :

Sadly not - there is case law to show that is against you.

Alex Watts :

If the Landlord remedies the fault, then you have suffered no prejudice and there is no continuing breach.

Alex Watts :

I am sorry that I can only tell you what the law is.

Customer :

And surely the landlord, as a lawyer knows this and therefore flouts the legislation.

Alex Watts :

That may be the case.

Customer :

In my view, there is absolutely no point in having certain provisions within the Housing Act as they do not serve a purpose. What do I do about the warrants that are out on this address?

Alex Watts :

Warrants for what?

Customer :

As explained prior, there are a number of warrants out on this address in the name of previous tenants and have been for quite some time. This historic problems prevents me from obtaining credit. The landlord did not mention anything about this prior to accepting the lease.

Customer :

Now I have bailiffs turning up at our doorstep on a consistent basis and I am having to justify myself being in the property and going through this same inane nonsense repeatedly.

Alex Watts :

The warrants do not concern you - you do not need to worry about them.

Alex Watts :

If you search your credit file and it is linked to previous tenants then you can file a notice of disassociation.

Alex Watts :

That would sever any link if it exists.

Alex Watts :

You can search for free a credit report at: www.creditexpert.co.uk

Customer :

I have already done that but it is not a speedy process by any means as I have to prove the disassociation.

Alex Watts :

But that is the legal option - you can't do anything else.

Alex Watts :

I have had to do this once and it was only 2 weeks to resolve the matter

Customer :

Some law. Landlords can do whatever they want and if the tenant does not like it he/she can be evicted just like that.

Alex Watts :

Sadly I can only tell you what the law is, I can not change the law

Customer :

Is it common for estate charges to be included in the rent?

Alex Watts :

Only MP's can do that.

Alex Watts :

Some Landlords do, some Landlords do not.

Alex Watts :

It is a commercial decision between landlord and tenant.

Customer :

It was not a decision. It was a part of the contract and if I did not like it, I may leave. Simple. If there is an issue with the house and I don't like it, I may leave. If an independent valuation of the property proves the property to be overprice and I don't like I may leave. There is no scope for negotiation or discussion whatsoever.

Alex Watts :

I see. Then it is a choice for you whether you leave or not

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer :

Sadly, I have to continue to be in these unfavourable contractual terms due to having a family here and I cannot just uproot everybody on a whim and he knows that.

Alex Watts :

Yes indeed.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Customer :

What I am unable to understand is how there can be so little protection. No, you have made it clear that I'm screwed and the lawyer/landlord can act with impunity as such is the lack of adherence of law.

Alex Watts :

I am sorry - maybe you should become part of a lobby group.

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.

Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.

Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

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