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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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, We are moving into a rental property this months and

Resolved Question:

Hello,
We are moving into a rental property this months and my question is regarding 2 sky contracts.
I have a broadband contract with sky until March 2016
The owner and landlord of new property also has a sky contract until July 2015. She has asked us if we would take over her Sky contract (£88pm) until it expires, because 2 Sky contracts cannot be held at the same address.
But obviously we have our own Sky contract, so we are not willing to do this.
My question is, the legalities of what she is asking.
Can she ask us to do this?
The account name cannot be changed so we would be paying the account under her name, with no access ie passwords, to the account. And we have our own Sky account which we want to use at the new address. I feel we are being forced into this, because as tenants you basically have no rights, you have to hand the money over and hope people don't behave like this.
Our view is; she should pay to end her contract, and early termination fee. We feel that as Sky is paid a month in advance that financially, this isnt unreasonable.
While if we we had to early terminate ours it would cos £133
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.

Customer:

Hello Joshua

Joshua :

Wht the landlord is proposing is not possible. The landlords sky contract is personal to her. A contract cannot be taken over by another party without Sky's consent - according to their terms they do not allow this which would be quite normal. You could of course simply pay to cover the cost of the existing contract which continues to be in her name but this is of no advantage to you.

Customer:

Ok I Do not wish to take over her contract, I want to use my sky contract at the new house? What would you advise to be a good argument to present to the letting agency about this when I speak to them in the morning?

Joshua :

You can move address and keep your existing contract on the same terms. All you can agree to do with the landlord is cover the cost of her contract - however as you rightly identify that means one way or another you are going to be hit by sky for an early termination fee for your contract. Essentially the landlord is proposing to increase your rent by the cost of your termination fee. It seems reasonable to refuse to do this.

Customer:

with regards ***** ***** if the landlord refuses to cancel her Sky contract, what can I do?

Joshua :

The landlord cannot force you to take over her contract because it is impossible so you do not need to concern yourself with that proposal as you could not do it even if you wanted to. All she can do is include a term in your tenancy agreement which provides that you cover the cost of her termination fee. You can quite properly refuse to pay any termination fees for her contract and refuse to pay for her sky package. Ultimately if you cannot agree you do not have to rent the property nor does the landlord. however, if the landlord refuses to rent the property to you on this basis, you be entitled to a full refund of any fees or deposits you have paid unless the proposed cost was disclosed to you before you paint them

Joshua :

Providing you do not agree to pay any money to the landlord for this in your tenancy agreement then beyond this the whole matter is irrelevant to you. Once you become the tenant of the property you can ask sky to transfer your account to that address. Because you are the tenant you are entitled to receive sky at that address. If sky query the existing contract you can advise that the landlord no longer lives there and if necessary you can prove this with your tenancy agreement or council tax statement.

Customer:

Right, the thing is we haven't signed a tenancy agreement yet. We have paid the first months rent and bond to the letting agency and have receipts. Would she be able to put this in the contract now, even though we have paid over all this money?

Joshua :

Sky will transfer your existing package to that address and any telephone line / broadband etc and pursue the landlord for further charges under her contract directly - the landlord may decide to transfer her package to her new address but that is entirely between her and Sky; As tenant you have right to service

Customer:

Should the letting agency have had us sign the contract when we gave them the money for the bond, do you think?

Joshua :

If the tenancy agreement has been prepared and a draft provided to you if you have already paid the first months rent, you may be able to enforce the tenancy agreement regardless of the lack of a signature however that is a slightly separate topic. The answer to your question is that the landlord cannot seek to impose new charges not previously agreed. If she chooses to do so, notwithstanding the above you would be entitled to walk away and have a full refund.

Joshua :

Financially it will not make sense for the landlord as she will presumably lose more rent waiting to find a new tenant that she could possibly save by you paying for her sky costs so I would be suprised if she dug her heels in.

Customer:

The landlord is saying we cannot have our sky account at new address because her's is there until July, She says Sky have advised her that 2 accounts cannot be active at the same time with regards ***** ***** broadband, which is what we're in contract with

Joshua :

What she fails to appreciate is that if she is letting the property you are the new "owner" for this purpose for the period of your tenancy. She does not live there nor have any rights in the property save for the right to rent. She cannot keep a sky contract at a property she no longer has a right to against your wishes. The process will be once you move in you will bring your sky account over to the new address and Sky will remove her account from the address. It is just the same for any BT or virgin phone line / broadband, utility contracts she may have signed up to - you name it.

Joshua :

I do not have sky but for example I have a virgin fibre line and phone line. If you rent my house that line has no effect on you at all. You would sign up to a new contract with whoeer you want or bring your exisitng supplier with you. I cannot stop you whether I want to or not.

Joshua :

All I can do is seek to charge you for any termination fee in the tenancy agreement which would be wholly unreasonable but this is all the lanlord can do in respect of her sky contract.

Joshua :

Frankly she is either inexperienced as a landlord or simply trying it on. The agent if they are a good agent should be managing her expectations better. The obvious solution is that she simply transfers her sky contract to whichever property she is moving too. If she cant for some reason this really is her problem not yours and she should not be trying to get you to cover her costs.

Customer:

Is she able to use part of the property for her own storage? We were shown out houses for the purpose of storage at our viewing and it was not explained we wouldn't have access. Now today, she is saying we will not have access as she wants the out houses to store her own things. We took the house on the basis of having these outhouses

Joshua :

You will have exclusive access and use of the whole property and garden unless any part or parts are specifically excluded in the tenancy agreement.

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Customer:

We haven't signed a tenancy agreement yet, we were told in the viewing the outhouses would be accessible and now they're saying they won't be

Joshua :

Were you asked to pay the first months rent? Have you been given a draft tenancy agreement (albeit not signed it yet)?

Customer:

we've paid all the bond, and first months rent and now they're telling us about the outbuildings and the sky contract

Customer:

yes they said we had to pay the first months rent to continue with the process of renting the property. We haven't seen any sort of tenancy agreement yet

Joshua :

Thank you. Have you a written note of the terms offered for the tenancy - e.g. that it is 12 month let and the monthly rental?

Customer:

No, nothing

Customer:

only receipts

Customer:

I now realise I've been pretty stupid :-/

Joshua :

Thanks. The position in law is that if you have paid a deposit and rent then you can already claim an implied 6 month tenancy agreement unless that deposit and rent was made explicitly "subject to contract" and that was agreed by you. However you probably will not want to consider going to court to enforce this though if you wished you could use this to your advantage in negotiation or ultimately seek a declaration of tenancy from the county court and move in on an implied 6 month tenancy.

Customer:

Ok, so am I in a position to argue that we should have access to these outhouses?

Joshua :

However more practically, print off a copy of the advert for the property so you have a record of the rent and term proposed; one would hope you will simply be able to finalise matters with the agent tomorrow on the terms agreed. If not and they insist on including terms you are not content with you can either force a tenancy as above or more practically you can advise that the terms proposed were not included in the original advert and have not been notified to you previously and accordingly you require a full refund without deduction

Joshua :

If you have paid a deposit and rent on the basis that no restrictions were proposed, and no sky payments were requested then you can..

Customer:

That's where I think I cannot enforce as the outhouses were not included in the advertised description of the property

Joshua :

This depends where there are located. If it is necessary to enter onto the property to access the outbuildings - i.e. come into the garden, then it is reasonable to assume that they are included in the tenancy unless specifically exlcuded. If they are separate to the property and can be accessed without coming into or onto the property then they can be reasonably be excluded even though they were not explicitly included.

Customer:

they are not connected to the property as such, but you either access them through the property's back door, or through a secure back gate, they are located in the back garden, they cannot be accessed from the front of the property

Joshua :

If it is necessary to come onto the property or private garden to access the outbuildins and they are located within defined property boundaries - eg. fences then they will be included in the letting unless specifically excluded in the tenancy agreement. Obviously here you have not been given a tenancy agreement, and ideally you would have not paid rent or a deposit without at least being given a draft of the tenancy agreement. But given that you havem you are entitled to rely on the basis of the advert for both rent, and what is included. If it was the intention to exclude a structure or part of the property this should have been specified.

Joshua :

If you have problems with the agent you can complain to the property Ombudsman free of charge. They are required to be members of one of three property ombudsman services.

Joshua :

Hopefully though you will be able to reach an agreement tomorrow as I am sure you would prefer to move in rather than spend weeks arguing over the return of your deposit and so on which is the alternative. If you cannot agree consider emailing the agents after your meeting with a set of what was agreed prior to you paying your deposit and the demands that have been raised afterwards so there is a record of the basis for the dispute.

Customer:

Ok well thanks for your help Joshua, that's clarified a lot of things for me. i'll be going down there with all this tomorrow, thamks a lot

Joshua :

I hope your meeting goes well.

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:

Ok I will do the feeback. Thank you very much

Joshua :

Best wishes

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