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Ask Ash Your Own Question

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10914
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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my landlord let my previous flatmate to move in without references

Customer Question

my landlord let my previous flatmate to move in without references or credit check. The tenant didn't pay any bills and vanished without leaving forwarding address. Now I am being asked to cover the bills despite me giving him money. In addition, my landlord put both our names on council tax bill 6 months after we moved in after she gave him written notice. So now the council asks me to pay the whole thing. I believe I am not responsible for my [previous flatmate. My landlord endangered me by not checking his record. Moreover, my landlord breached lease on few occasions (repairs not done, no inventory, pushing responsibility for council tax on tenants etc). In addition, my landlord lost his copy of the lease. What should I do? don't want to pay my previous tenants bills.

thank you for your help
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 : Are you named on the council tax after you moved out?
Alex Watts : Are you being asked to pay bills after you left please?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

No, I still live in the property my flatmate moved out

Alex Watts : Ok. What bills save for council tax are you being asked to pay?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

both our names are on that bill. We received the bill 6 weeks before he moved out

Alex Watts : ok. But there is only one person living there now?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

this bill is for period September 2013-March 2014

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

my flatmate moved out on 31.03. My landlord only contacted the council about us living there in February

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

6 months after I moved in

Alex Watts : Ok. You have an assured shorthold tenancy?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

1 year lease, she lost her copy

Alex Watts : Ok. Why didn't you notify the council you had moved in?
Alex Watts : What other bills are you being asked to pay?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

it's landlords responsibility to inform the council she failed to do so

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

my question is whether the landlord should take responsibility for the previous tenant actions since she didn't ask for references and let him to move in- references are mentioned in the lease. Also she didn't ask for forwarding address

Alex Watts : How do you know?
Alex Watts : What other bills have not been paid?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

How should I know? that is a very unprofessional answer#

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

landlord didn't do her job

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

sorry missunderstood

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

stress is getting to me

Alex Watts : Yes I underatand.
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

she told me that she did not ask for references

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

she didn't ask me for references either

Alex Watts : But I need to know how do you know it was landlord reaponsibility to inform the council and not you please?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

it is stated on the Oxford council website

Alex Watts : Did the landlord say she would inform the councik
Alex Watts : Council
Alex Watts : What other bills have you need asked to pay please?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

I don't remember having any conversation with her about it when I moved in

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

she only mentioned something in late jan

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :


JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

electricity was on my flatmate's name but he never paid it despite me giving him money

Alex Watts : Because it was the other tenants name?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :


Alex Watts : Ok. There are several issues here. It's good and bad news.
Alex Watts : Was it a joint tenancy?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

but, the electricity company asked my landlord for a copy of my lease so they can bill me

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

2 bed flat separate leases

Alex Watts : dont you jab a copy of the lease?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

I do

Alex Watts : domt you have a copy of your lease?
Alex Watts : ok....
Alex Watts : won't they accept that?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

yes, but they will try to bill me for the whole period because they can't reach the other flatmate

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

exactly the same situation as with council tax. They can't get money of my previous flatmate so they will chase me

Alex Watts : What does the Oxford council website say exactly?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

Keeping us informed

We recognise that landlords, owners, managing agents and housing associations are very busy. To assist us in reducing unnecessary paperwork, visits and phone calls, we advise you to keep us informed of all tenancy changes immediately. This will let us provide a more efficient service to you and your tenants by sending correct bills and awarding discounts and exemptions promptly.

If you have a rented property, you must tell us:

  • The property address
  • What date you bought the property
  • Whether the property you rent out is furnished or unfurnished
  • What was the previous owners name and new address
  • What is your solicitor or managing agent's name and address
  • Your contact details i.e. mobile number, email address and current residential address
  • Details of any alterations you have made to the property you rent out

When tenants move into your property, you must tell us:

  • The property address
  • Name/s of the tenants moving in
  • Date tenancy commenced
  • Provide a copy of a signed and dated tenancy agreement and send a new one if the tenants change

You can submit this information by using this link:

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

it also says:

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

Joint tenancy agreement

If you have signed a joint tenancy agreement, then the person/s named on the agreement, who have their sole or main residence at the property, will be the ones liable to pay. They will be jointly and severally liable. Visit our Council Tax Payment page for more information on Joint and Several Liability.

Individual tenancy agreement

If the tenants in the property have individual agreements with the landlord, then the landlord is liable to pay the Council Tax.

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

We signed individual leases

Alex Watts : Did you pay any council tax?
Alex Watts : You say that the landlord breached the lease by not checking his record - is this a term of the lease?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

yes it is,

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

no, I have not paid any tax

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

sorry, it says references

Alex Watts : What does the term of the lease say please?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

12 months

Alex Watts : What the term saying about credit checks say please?
Alex Watts : You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.
Alex Watts : If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 and take it to your local County Court.
Alex Watts : The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.
Alex Watts : If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

one thing. The electricity company asked for the copy of my lease to be sent to them

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

but my landlord doesn't have a copy

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

can they still charge me for the past period without the lease?

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

in addition, the flat I live in is two bed and I signed a separate agreement for my bedroom sharing kitchen and living room- that HMO right? so isn't the landlord who is responsible for council tax despite council tax being mentioned in the lease?

Alex Watts : You need to pay your share, therefore it is for the landlord to prove you owe it.
Alex Watts : If its a HMO then the landlord is responsible for council tax.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything else?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

how does my landlord proves that I owe it without lease

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

and I paid my former flatmate

Alex Watts : Its a matter for the landlord and council.
Alex Watts : As for you and the other tenant I assume you can show payment ie cash from account or direct transfer etc?
Alex Watts : Can I help further?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

this is actually question for the electricity bill which was on his name I paid him sometimes in cash then directly to his account. Now since he left the electric company asked for a copy of my lease from the landlord.

JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

to charge me for bill that my flatmate did not pay

Alex Watts : If it is in his name, you are not liable.
Alex Watts : You are only liable when it becomes in your name.
Alex Watts : Does that help?
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

even if i lived in that property at the same time?

Alex Watts : Yes
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :

ok thank you for your help

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:
JACUSTOMER-zxj6eh4z- :


Alex Watts : Thanks
Alex Watts :

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