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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70507
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi, Two months ago I rented a parking space through an estate

Resolved Question:

Hi,

Two months ago I rented a parking space through an estate agent (who let it on behalf of the space's owner). I paid a deposit and the first month's rent up front in cash, and have an email confirmation of this. The permit I was given, to display in my car, has an expiry date of July 2014. I have not been contacted regarding the space until today, and nearly 200 pounds is being demanded from me by the estate agent *immediately*.

I never signed a contract, I was never asked for any payments after given the permit - either by the estate agent or space owner; as such I presumed the payment I'd made was in fact to cover the valid period of the permit (mid-April to 1st July).

Am I liable to pay the charges being demanded of me, or can I allow them to simply keep the deposit as settlement (the deposit was equivalent of 2 weeks' rent). I no longer wish to keep the space.

Many thanks.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

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

Did you discuss a notice period?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No, there was no notice period stipulated. Thanks.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
thank you.

Have you just not given notice at all and they only recently approached you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Neither the estate agent or myself have contacted the other since the payment/permit was provided. Today is the first correspondence I've received about the space, and they're asking me to settle "my arrears" today. They're also asking for a higher rental sum than was agreed (though I think this is just a mistake).

This is the explanation I was given by the estate agent today:

"I believe you were supposed to pay your Landlord directly but they must not have been in touch with you up until via ourselves recently."

- I was not told this at the time, and never given any contact details or bank account info. I don't even know the name of the person who owns the space. As the permit has an expiry date I was simply going to allow it to expire and remove my car from the space.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you. That is bad news overall I'm afraid.

I just need 10 minutes to dictate an answer if that's okay? Y
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Sure.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you.

Whichever way you look at this you did enter into a contract. I realise that you didn't sign anything but contracts can be agreed verbally and in fact most are. Very few contracts are reduced to writing and in this case you have made payment so there is no doubt that they can prove there was a contract.

The difficulty with this is that you seem to have paid a deposit and the first month rent upon the original agreement. Upon my calculations that would take you to roughly the middle of May. In the interim the space has been available to you and you are liable to pay for it. There is no way around that. You didn't give notice and so you are liable for the cost of the space. You can tell them to keep your deposit but if that is two weeks rent then that would only take you until June and that leaves at least one remaining months roughly for which you are liable.

You can give notice and they will only have a right to demand one term of the rental periods unless they negotiated something else which cannot be right if what you say is correct. Unfortunately though even if you gave notice tomorrow they would still be entitled to a period probably until the end of July. The practical reality is that they are unlikely to pursue that though.

They cannot charge a different amount to what you agreed. Whether it was a mistake or not that is their problem. If they agreed a bad price then they have to bear it.

Of course, the practical reality is that they are quite unlikely to sue for the sum that you describe that they will probably pester you and instruct debt collectors to do so. Whether or not you are prepared to risk being sued is a matter for you. You should bear in mind that if they do issue then they would probably succeed but the costs would be very low so it might be worth the risk.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for your comprehensive answer. I understand there is the likelihood that a verbal agreement was entered into. It is very frustrating though, that neither the landlord or estate agent made any effort to request/acquire payment when it was due, and subsequently are now demanding the full amount without notice. I do not want to be on bad terms with the estate agent as they are regularly in the apartment block in which I live, so avoiding them would be tricky! Do I have a right to at least agree a payment plan, or future payment date, for the full amount owed?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
You don't have a right to do that. The full amount is due immediately. But they will agree to payment instalments because the other alternative is that they will get nothing without suing which they probably won't want to do.
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