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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22400
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street Practice
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Hi, this is aTenancy Agreement query.I have just discovered

Customer Question

Hi, this is aTenancy Agreement query.I have just discovered that the tenancy agreement (assured shorthold) in the hands of my letting agents was not signed by the agents, only the tenant. The reason for this was because the tenant had crossed through a number of the tenancy clauses, such as maintaining the garden etc. I wasn't happy with this and instructed the agents to pursue the matter and advise the tenant that she could not just cherry pick the tenancy agreement. I left it with the agents to finalise this matter and given their assurance that this would be resolved, assumed all had been resolved. These agents took over the tenancy management at the start of the 5th month of the tenancy, because I had to change agents, so they just had to get a new tenancy with theh new company as agents. The tenant was a nightmare, so at the end of the 12 moth term, I refused to estend her tenancy and she left of the 31 Oct. 2011. My concern is that I have just been informed by the agents that the revised tenancy document was never signed by the tenant - the only signed agreement is the altered copy, which was signed by the tenant and not the agent. Please could you tell me, was this a valid tenancy? I am pursuing monies owed by the tenant and need to submit a copy of the tenancy agreement. I have been told by the agent that I should now sign, but not date the original tenancy agreement, even though the tenant had crossed out large sections.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.
What is owed?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


just under £2000. This is for repairs and garden work- she left the place ina shoking mess and very smelly, to the extent that it couldn't be let until it was thoroughly sorted out.She didn't empty the septic tank or refil the CH oil tank as per the tenancy agreement.I haven't gone down the route of small claims court yet and am going to ask debt collectors FCC Paragon to try to get some of the money back first - this firm successfully traced this woman after she'd been evicted from the latest tenancy, where she left owing over £7000. I want to get my debt at least acknowledged before her last landlord makes her bankrupt. The agents have been less than helpful, even taking their fee from the deposit of £950.00 after she failed to pay the last month's rent at my property, which I thought was rather sharp practice.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.
So you have no signed agreement at all, signed by tenant?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, the "doctored" agreement was signed by the tenant, but not by me or the agent - I am concerned that because I and the agent didn't agree to the crossings out on the tenancy agreement - which was just a standard agreement, nothing unreasonable or out of the ordinary - it was not a proper tenancy. However rent was paid monthly to the agent, until the last month, October, when the tenant didn't pay for that month. I finally received a payment from the deposit in January this year, which covered the rnet owing, but not the damages/maintenance/fuel etc.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.


I think you are better having a signed
doctored agreement than an unsigned virgin agreement A virgin agreement is no
agreement.

However, unless it's signed by you, then you
have not agreed to grant it.



My suggestion would be to sign the agreement
now and date it at the date the tenants moved into the property. I cannot
imagine why the agent said to leave it undated. You are not doing anything
fraudulent by dating it, all you are doing is simply confirming the date that
the agreement came into force.



What does not help you is that the tenant
should be provided with a signed tenancy agreement, details of the tenant
deposit scheme and gas and electricity safety certificates at the start of the
tenancy. Without all that, you risk a judge saying that you have not complied
with all the statutory requirements and therefore the tenancy is not valid.



However, it is small claims are, and there is
a chance that the tenant (who seems to do this habitually) will not turn up and
if she does not put a defence in, you may end up with judgement in default.



Can I help further?



Please bear with me today because I will be
online and off-line



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The thread remains open. Thanks

L

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you for this advice( I'll be very happy to click on the "excellent" symbol, by the way). The tenant was supplied with an electricity safety certificate and there is no gas at the property - just oil and electricity. When she moved in, I'd just spet £70,000.00 in refurbishment and the 3000 sq ft property was immaculate in every respect - new everything, everywhere, including new ch boiler. Do you think that the agents have acted poorly/negligently in not a) pursuing the tenant to sign an unamended agreement and b) not telling me that they hadn't obtained her signature on the proper agreement? Shouldn't the agents, rather than I, at least sign the agreement albeit that they took over the management of the tenancy in March 2011?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.


There is no requirement for any gas
certificate obviously, if there is no gas and there are no statutory
requirements with regard to oil surprising though it may seem.

I think you have a possible claim against the
agent for failing to exercise a duty of care and also I think they are in
breach of contract. I would probably look to recover any losses that you do not
recover from the tenant, from them.

Keep it under £5000 and then it will be in
the Small Claims Court and even if you lose, you will not have to pay costs to
them.



If the agreement is in your name, it should
really be signed by you, although you can delegate it and if signed by the
agent it should be signed by the agent and noted "on behalf of landlord.
Authorised signatory."



Can I help further?



Please bear with me today because I will be
online and off-line



Please dont forget to positively rate my answer
service (even if it was not what you wanted to hear) and I will follow up any further
points you raise for free. If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep
your deposit and I get 0 for my time
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Please could you explain a little more about the possibility of taking action regarding of breach of contract?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.
You need to check the agreement with the agent to check that they have done every single thing that they should have done to see if any loss can be attributed to the agent's failings.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you so much for all the valuable advice. Very helpful and has pointed me in the right direction to take further action to recover the debt.


 


Kind regards,


Victoria.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

Glad to help.

Please dont forget to positively rate my answer
service and I will follow up any further
points you raise for free. If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep
your deposit and I get 0 for my time

Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22400
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street Practice
Stuart J and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello again, I would value your opinion on the current scenario. I batted the problem of the unsigned tenancy agreement back to the agents, whose responsibility it was to get the agreement signed on my behalf in the first instance, after all, it's what they've been paid to do (they've done this with the current tenants, I didn't sign the TA, the agents did). I spoke to the director of the company on the afternoon of Thursday, 13th Dec and also pointed out that it clearly states in the tenancy agreement that the deposit "is not to be used by the tenant as payment for any rent due under this agreement.". The agents had used the deposit as the last month's rent and deducted their fee of £114.00. They received the return of the deposit in December 2011, but didn't pay over the "rent" (which was not paid for the final month of tenancy by the outgoing tenant for October, 2011) until mid January 2012. After a bit of a debate, I insisted that the fee be refunded under the terms of the TA and the director reluctantly agreed. He also agreed that the lettings manager should sign the TA and send a scan of the signed document to me by email by Saturday, 15th Dec. This still hasn't happened and the lettings manager hasn't replied to a message from me left on his mobile on Sat at 12.10 p.m., asking him to contact me. This is, after all, a 5 minute job. As a result, I still haven't been able to send off the documents to the debt collectors. What do you think should be my next action? I'd really like to start legal proceedings against the agents if I could, but don't want to make threats of legal action if I don't stand a chance of a successful outcome. You previously said that I could claim the loss from the agents and I wondered if you could explain this a little more.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.


If you are going to issue proceedings against the agent, you
have to have suffered some kind of loss in most cases.

You cannot sue the agent for money, for not doing something
(getting signature, whatever)if that has had no consequence and was simply a
failing.



If you require the agent to let you have a copy of a
document, and that is not forthcoming, you can apply to court, either for an
injunction for Delivery Up if it is a document that they should be giving you anyway
or Pre-Action Disclosure if it is in anticipation of litigation.



You can ask the court, in both cases, to award legal costs
against the agent. You must warn the agent that if the documents are not
forthcoming by a particular date, you will have no option but to make an
application to court to compel them to give you the documents and the
application will include a further application for court costs.



What you are going to need to do is to sit down and
calculate exactly how much in real money. This has cost you.

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