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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Can a landlord raise a social tenants rent even when the local

Customer Question

Can a landlord raise a social tenant's rent even when the local Authority refuse to increase the tenant's benefit payment to meet this increase. The tenant left the property, but could not pay the unagreed increase. Now six,months later the Estate Agent who handled the tenancy, has threatened to send a balief to the extenant's new residence to force entry, and to collect the money or to seize property unless the ex-tenant pay over one thousand pounds. Is this THREAT ONE OF HARASSMENT, AND IS THE THREATENING LETTER IN BREACH OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 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 : What type of tenancy do you has and does it allow for rent increases please?
Alex Watts : Note it may be the morning when I can reply.
JACUSTOMER-yq9bk37p- :

Hi Alex ! Thanks for taking up this case. My sister had a 'shorthold' with no written, nor verbal indication / provision for a rent increase. She believes that bit

Alex Watts :

And Assured Shorthold Tenancy?

JACUSTOMER-yq9bk37p- :

Yes it an assured shorthold tenancy. We believe that it is the Estate Agent who is making the demand now. My sister was told that her car would be clamped or any other that is seen on her drive if she does not pay this money by 11.00 am tomorrow .can this be a legal step?

Alex Watts :

No - clamping is illegal

Alex Watts :

It can only be done by Councils - no one else.

Alex Watts :

There is a set down procedure for increasing rents for an AST

Alex Watts :

The Landlord must serve a Section 10 notice

Alex Watts :

If the tenant disagrees they can take it to a Rent Valuation Tribunal

Alex Watts :

The Landlord just can't say this is the increase and that is it

Alex Watts :

However to answer your substantive question

Alex Watts :

If the rent is increased and Housing Benefit only pays a portion then in law, the tenant is liable for the balance.

Alex Watts :

However if there are arrears the tenant can ONLY be evicted with a Court order, nothing else

Alex Watts :

The Landlord can't clamp the car, can't come into the house and can't evict

JACUSTOMER-yq9bk37p- :

My sister works at a school nursery, and would be out of the house in the morning. How should she go about / deal with this threatening situation before any illegal action takes place?

Alex Watts :

She should contact the Council to alert them.

Alex Watts :

But she should write to the Landlord, dispute any increase and say she wants it to go to a Tribunal.

Alex Watts :

However you should know there is always a risk the Landlord can give notice to end the tenancy

Alex Watts :

If she is outside her fixed period the Landlord can give 2 months to take possession back.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this?

JACUSTOMER-yq9bk37p- :

Remember that we are talking about a former landlord. He present tenancy, at her new residence from December 2013 is fine. It is the Agent who acted for her former landlord w2ho is engaged in this current threatening demand for payment of arrears. arrears

Alex Watts :

Sorry I see.

Alex Watts :

The FORMER Landlord can do NOTHING AT ALL

Alex Watts :

The landlord can ONLY seek redress through the County Court

Alex Watts :

He can't clamp

Alex Watts :

He can't attend the property, this would be harassment

Alex Watts :

All he can do is issue a claim for any arrears through Court.

Alex Watts :

If judgment is gained then and only then can be enforce it by:

Alex Watts :

Sending in bailiffs

Alex Watts :

Attachment to earnings

Alex Watts :

Freeze money bank account

Alex Watts :

Charge on any property owned

Alex Watts :

But if he is a FORMER landlord he can NOT do anything until he has a Court Judgment

Alex Watts :

Does this clarify?

JACUSTOMER-yq9bk37p- :
  1. This is exactly what I thought, but what should she tell the former Agent to stop this harassment ?
Alex Watts :

She should write and ask them to stop, or say she will seek a Court order to stop them.

Alex Watts :

You can't stop the Landlord chasing arrears, if they are due, but that should be done by letter

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

JACUSTOMER-yq9bk37p- :

yes, thanks Alex !

Alex Watts :

Great.

Alex Watts :

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Alex Watts :

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Alex Watts :

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Alex Watts :

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