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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25432
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My dad is 82, and has lived in a rented house since January

Resolved Question:

My dad is 82, and has lived in a rented house since January 1986. He has a regulated tenancy.
The landlord put house on the market since last June (trying twice to illegally evict my dad to gain vacant possession). He now has an offer on the table that he is apparently willing to accept. The purchaser is asking for a copy of the tenancy agreement, but one does not exist (the landlord never issued one for my parents to sign).
It looks like the missing agreement might be a deal breaker, so the estate agent rang me earlier asking that, if he can find a copy of a regulated tenancy agreement, would I get my dad to sign it so the negotiations can move forward?
I am very concerned about my dad signing anything. The landlord is a slumlord who cannot be trusted. The house is in a shocking state of repair! He has ignored the council’s, environmental health and local tenants association’s repair demands for over a decade. There has never been an safety inspection at the property, not even for the gas.
There has never been a Gas Safe Record (CP12) issued in 29 years of tenancy!
The estate agent pressured me to get dad to sign, saying it’s in dad’s best interests that he has a signed tenancy agreement, and that I should speak with Citizen’s Advise, or a lawyer about the situation.
I’ve never trusted the landlord, and now I don’t trust the agent either...
Why should we have to pay a solicitor to discuss this matter when it’s the landlord’s problem, not ours?
Dad has done fine for 29 years without an agreement, and I don’t see why he needs one now..., especially seeing as I have spent the last 2 months trying to get a CP12 out of the landlord and am just about to report him to the Executive for his breach of HSE law.
I know he will shaft everyone involved, agent, buyer, dad, just to get the house off his hands! Best case scenario is that we help him sell up and get out of the noose he has placed around his own neck!
Worst case is that my dad get’s evicted due to some loophole in the new agreement that isn’t spotted!
So my question is: should an agreement be presented, should my dad refuse to sign it?
Thanks for your help
Deb
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

may I clarify one point: you say the agent pressured you to get your dad to sign a tenancy agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, I believe I'm right to conclude from what you say that you have refused and your dad has not signed any agreement to date?

Customer:

Hi Josh,

Joshua :

Hello

Customer:

No Dad has not signed anything yet.

Joshua :

Great. Does your dad have a rent book or some other form of evidence proving he has lived there since before 1989?

Customer:

Yes, I have it.

Joshua :

thanks. That being the case, there is really no advantage to your father signing a written tenancy agreement. It is possible for a regulated tenancy agreement to be prepared and signed, and providing the agreement references the correct Act rather than seeking to create a new tenancy under the Housing act, then this would not affect your fathers tenancy status. However, the risk as you rightly identify, is that primarily, signing an incorrect tenancy agreement could create a new short hold tenancy agreement which would remove your fathers security of tenure rights as a regulated tenant and less significantly, may include stipulations and conditions which he is not presently subject to. In other words, there is really nothing for your father to gain and potentially a great deal to lose

Joshua :

It is unlikely the agent would have the expertise to prepare a regulated tenancy agreement in any event and it is likely that an agreement would have to be prepared by a solicitor and in any event, it would be crucial that your father retains written legal advice from a solicitor specialising in housing law before he signed any agreement to protect himself. All of this, for the landlords benefit.

Joshua :

Accordingly, I would agree that your father's best position is likely to simply to refuse to sign anything at all. If he is minded to cooperate however, he should seek a full indemnity in respect of legal costs from the landlord and if the landlord has poor past form, you may consider requesting that he pays such legal fees upfront before he signs anything.

Joshua :

In terms of the difficulties your father has encountered, I think you are largely aware of the various rights he has but for the sake of absolute clarity, you may wish to consider as you suggest, reporting the lack of gas safety certificates to the health and safety executive who can prosecute and seeking the involvement of the local authorities housing officer and environmental departments to bring the property up to standard. The local authority has legal powers to require the landlord to carry out repairs or failing which the council can carry out repairs itself and recover costs from the landlord. Some councils can be very helpful whilst others require some persuasion. alternatively, your father could take action directly in the County Court using a disrepair action to claim costs of bringing the property up to standard himself

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Joshua :

Have I been able to help you with all your questions on the above?

Customer:

Wow, that's a lot of good information, Josh. I will discuss it with my father and see what he thinks, but I suspect our best policy is to refuse to sign and see where that leads us. As for the repairs, I have spoken with Shelter and the Private Tenants Ass, and they are advising me on how to proceed.

Joshua :

Thats great. There is a sizeable body of housing law that protects your father though it can be a little effort to enforce those rights if the council is not proactive.

Joshua :

If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Customer:

You've been brilliant, Josh. Excellent service! Thanks so much, and I will be back if I have any more issues (mighty likely, lol) Do I need to do anything else, or is the payment already issued to you?

Joshua :

Many thanks. If you are happy with the above there should be a rating button you can use to rate my service. That will complete and save the thread - in case you need to come back to it in the future to ask anything else.

Customer:

This site just gets better the more you use it! Thanks again.

Joshua :

Best wishes

Customer:

Bye

Joshua :

Good bye

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