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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I was in a council contract in private renting and offered

Customer Question

I was in a council contract in private renting and offered a refurbished home if signed a new contract. I had two hours to read, understand, sign and pick up keys - this from offices some distance from my work. I was told, verbally, I was still a council tenant and it was a 'new sort of housing association set-up' and reassured if I needed to move or downsize I would be able to transfer to council. In May it will be 5 years - the rent goes up by 5% every year, even though this is supposed to be 'reasonable rent' i.e.20% below private rates - this is not true. I have compared what friends pay in areas nearer to rail links and closer to the main town in my area and some are paying less than me now. I have been made redundant and may have to down-size. On contacting the council they have said I can not have council accommodation. I know the council have had many complaints about their practices in regard to this new housing project, and there are others who have been misled. But I have no witnesses to this, and the wrong information was verbal. Do I have to swallow this, even knowing this was an intentional strategy by my council? I have no redundancy money left - I have used it for rent mainly - and so cannot pay for prolonged legal advice. Should I just accept it and downgrade , if need be, to the same housing groups smaller property, which is the option I am offered?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX 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 as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

What type of tenancy do you currently have, is it a secure one?

Customer:

Yes, I have a 'life-time tenancy' at this address. If I transfer within Thameswey Housing (the company concerned) I would be on a short-term assured (they would not transfer current status).

Alex Watts :

In effect you would be giving up your current property and tenancy?

Customer:

Yes - there other offer is for me to go into 'other private renting arrangements'!

Alex Watts :

Does your current tenancy agreement say you have a right to give up or assign please?

Customer:

Sorry -will take a moment to find on agreement. Reading now.

Alex Watts :

Sure.

Customer:

It says 'You must not assign or exchange your home with anyone else'

Alex Watts :

Ok - and what about exchanges and things like that?

Customer:

As above, can't exchange - can you expand?

Alex Watts :

If you can't exchange then I am sorry but if you give up the tenancy the current one and its rights come to an end.

Alex Watts :

Therefore if you have a new one, those rights are NOT transferred because your current agreement does NOT allow for it

Alex Watts :

You can only exchange if permitted by the agreement.

Alex Watts :

Otherwise the agreement ends and you have to sign a new one

Customer:

Ok - thank you. My original query was also about the false information I was given verbally. I was definately told this assured tenancy was a under a council umbrella and it would apply to an exchange. The fact I signed under duress has no weight in law as there is no witness?

Alex Watts :

No.

Alex Watts :

Duress is only where you are signing because you fear for your life etc.

Alex Watts :

Sadly therefore it does not apply to these circumstances.

Alex Watts :

If this is a council officer that made these assertions then you can do the following:

Alex Watts :

1) Complain to the Chief Officer of the Council

Alex Watts :

They can investigate the matter for you

Alex Watts :

2) Complain to the Local Government Ombudsman

Alex Watts :

They are an independent body designed to deal with complaints and offer a free service

Alex Watts :

Their website is: www.lgo.org.uk

Alex Watts :

I realise this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Ok. Thanks very much. No need for clarification. You have been really helpful and saved me endless waiting for a consultation. I will be giving excellent smiley! Regards.Carole

Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can page be e-mailed to me for my information?

Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
I know you can come back to it at any time. You may need to ask customer services if it can be emailed.

Alex