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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hi, I hope you can help me with this complicated situation

Resolved Question:

Hi,
I hope you can help me with this complicated situation and I thank you in advance.

3 years ago 5 people moved into a house that as we were told belong to one of the tenant's boyfriend's friend ( Iwona). Only 3 of us were on a contract. Iwona decided to manage all the bills and asked everybody to pay fixed rent every month (or week).
She refused to give the contact of the landlord on request as she wanted to deal with all the enquiries.
After 1 year of asking for my contract I finally got a COPY of the contract were was an unreadable signature of non existing-definitely not present witness. Apart from the landlord's address, there was no other contact.

In March 2013 Iwona brought a new contract where the rent was increased. She asked only one person-me-to pay more. I had a meeting with her (our ex house mate was present) where I asked her to explain how she calculates the money and how she worked out that only I need to pay more. She refused that. I also requested that she shows us all the bills so we know where our money goes. I refused to pay more until we all clearly see all the expenses. She finally agreed that within 2-3weeks she will show us the bills and other expenses. She did not do it.

In January 2014 Iwona send us txt that the landlord is not extending the contract and we need to move out on March 7. I asked for an official written notice which she gave me. On the notice, there was different address of our landlord.
My partner and I went to that address an found out that the landlord is Iwona's boyfriend's wife!!! She confirmed her signature but when I wanted to talk to her she said that she could not speak English. Iwona's boyfriend (Mohammed) came out and ask us to meet and talk in local MacDonald because of the children. He said that he is a joined landlord and landlord's representative. I said that Iwona does not really talk to anyone, she takes all the money (direct debit and cash) and after a few months of our meeting re:bills not only she did not provide any bills nor proof that the rent was paid to the real landlord. I also said that none of us wants to move out on such a short notice. He said that he&his wife wanted to do some extension in the house. I know that he has no official permit to do any building work but I did not tell him that. Re: rent- he said that the check book is on his wife name.
Finally he agreed that you would write a new contract notifying all the tenants who are currently living in the house, he gave his word and shook hands with me and my partner.
After our telephone conversation two days later, he changed his mind and no longer wished to write the new contract/extension of the contract but he assured me that we can all stay in the house until the 7June 2014 as he promised on our meeting.

A few days ago I asked Iwona to show us the bills and she refused it completely.

QUESTION: Do we-tenants-have right to write an email stating that:
1./ Knowing that we put quiet a big amount of money into Iwona's pocket every month for more than 3 years.

2./ We don't want to move out and we decided not to pay a rent until until we have clear figures and proof of the expenses for the bills and rent. We want to see where our money went and where is the money that was left after paying all the expenses.

3./ We want to see proof that the rent was paid to the real landlord and that it was all legal.

4./We probably would want our money back if all this renting was illegal!

What can landlord do? What are our rights?
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 :

Do you know what type of tenancy do you have? Is it an assured shorthold tenancy please?

Customer: an assured shorthold tenancy
Alex Watts :
Do we-tenants-have right to write an email stating that: 1./ Knowing that we put quiet a big amount of money into Iwona's pocket every month for more than 3 years. - Pursuant to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 you are entitled to have in writing a copy of the tenancy agreement and any notice to quit
Alex Watts :
2./ We don't want to move out and we decided not to pay a rent until until we have clear figures and proof of the expenses for the bills and rent. We want to see where our money went and where is the money that was left after paying all the expenses. - Yes and you are entitled to ask for a full statement of account. Even if you do not pay it will take around 3-4 months to get you evicted, so you have plenty of time
Alex Watts :

3./ We want to see proof that the rent was paid to the real landlord and that it was all legal. - I agree and you have a right to see receipts that the rent has been paid correctly.

Alex Watts :

What can landlord do? What are our rights? - The Landlord must give you everything in writing, you have a right to this including copy agreement and any notices.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: Can the landlord change the locks or can he throw out our belongings while we are not at home?
Alex Watts :

No.

Alex Watts :

He MUST have a Court Order.

Alex Watts :

And you would know about this - it would take around 2-3 months

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Customer: Iwona has keys of all the rooms. She also holds everybody's deposit. Legally she is a tenant. How can we prevent her from coming into our rooms when not at home-shall we put that in the email too?
Alex Watts :

Legally for that you would need a Court injunction preventing Iwona

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’.


 


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Customer: Do we have right to claim all our money back if all this renting was illegal?
Alex Watts :

No

Alex Watts :

Because you still benefited from the propertyu

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/

Customer: I know you said. That the landlord has no right to change the locks but what would be the right thing for us to do in case that the locks are changed one day? Or if our belongings are damaged or even missing?
Alex Watts :

You would need to complain to the Council or get a Court Order

Customer: Not the police..?
Alex Watts :

No - its not a criminal matter

Customer: What can we do if the landlord refuses to provide the proof of the paid rent? Do we have right to stay until he does so?
Alex Watts :

Yes or you can seek a Court Order that he discloses it

Customer: Does Mohammed-saying that he is a joined landlord -need to be stated on the contract-because he is not
Alex Watts :

No - it only needs one Landlord named

Customer: If a rent is paid legally- must it go into landlord's account only or she can ask us to pay into another person's account?
Alex Watts :

No, it can go into someone else's account

Customer: Would we-tenants- be completely safe and right if we send the email to the landlord saying that we paid certain amount of money over three years. But due to the facts about the true house owner and wanting to have a transparency re: bills, rent we are refusing to pay until this is all clear?
Alex Watts :

Yes you can email the Landlord but you can NOT refuse to pay in the meantime. You MUST continue to pay

Customer: Oh, sorry, I missunderstood- earlier you answerd: 2./ We don't want to move out and we decided not to pay a rent until until we have clear figures and proof of the expenses for the bills and rent. We want to see where our money went and where is the money that was left after paying all the expenses. - Yes and you are entitled to ask for a full statement of account. Even if you do not pay it will take around 3-4 months to get you evicted, so you have plenty of time
Alex Watts :

Yes if you do not pay you would have 3-4 months before being evicted.

Alex Watts :

But I encourage you - continue to pay

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Customer: Ok, I see what you mean. Now-if we pay only the rent? Since we don't know how much are the bills??would that be alright
Alex Watts :

Yes

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Customer: Ok. And can we ask the landlord that we would like to pay rent into his account and if he does not wish that, could he confirm (in writing) into who's account we should pay?
Alex Watts :

Yes that is fine

Customer: Can we also write to the landlord that 1/ we all want to pay into bank account ( no more cash into Iwona's hand)
Alex Watts :

Yes you can do that.

Alex Watts :

The Landlord can refuse

Customer: 2/could we state in the email that we are only paying rent until we see the bills?
Alex Watts :

No, as I have said you can not with hold rent

Customer: Sorry, I did not say it correctly-could we state in the email that we are paying only rent from now on and when we are shown the bills we will of course pay them
Alex Watts :

Yes you could

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Customer: And one more about this:Can we also write to the landlord that 1/ we all want to pay into bank account ( no more cash into Iwona's hand)Alex Watts says:11:23 PMYes you can do that.11:24 PMThe Landlord can refuse
Alex Watts :

Yes you can ask, but the Landlord can also say no

Customer: if landlord refuses that all of us pay into account and he wants some of the tenants to pay cash to Iwona-shall those tenants ask for the receipts ?
Alex Watts :

Yes you can do that.

Customer: Ok, thank you very much for your help!!! Have a nice evening (and wish us good luck;o) jozefina
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/

Alex Watts :

Good luck!

Customer: Thankyouuu
Alex Watts :

No problem - all the best

Alex Watts :

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