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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hello! I have a questions regarding tenancy and subletting

Resolved Question:

Hello! I have a questions regarding tenancy and subletting
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX 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 as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Yes, what is it you would like to know please?

Customer:
Background.

Roy Hellings is the the landlord of a three bedroom property. The rent of £1100 gets paid on 19th of each month in one lump sum and as he has stated himself on record, he is not interested in renting out individual rooms, he just wants to rent out the whole flat and make sure that the one principal tenant (which is Martin in this case) takes responsibility for covering the rent and bills in any way he wants - all he asks is that all occupants are represented on the lease agreement and that there is not more than 5 occupants in the flat at any one time.

Martin has lived in the flat for 7 years without any major issues. Roy has stated that he does not care how the rent is carved up between the occupants. The bills and council tax for the flat are between £450-500 a month and have all been coming out of Martin's account via direct debit for years.

William and Debbie came based on an ad for a room for rent for £750 including all bills. We asked for one month's deposit and one months rent in advance. They agreed to that and accepted the deal without signing any agreements but I emailed them a confirmation of what we had discussed as per below. They asked if we could put the deposit in a DPS but we said we have never done that for the previous tenants and that we don't normally do it due to the bureaucracy involved. They agreed and have not asked for the deposit to be put into a DPS scheme again. They have never asked what the total cost of bills or rent was for the entire flat.



The way the rent and the bills were carved up at that point was as follows:

Will and debbie - 750 (1 room)

Gabe 450 (slightly smaller room)

Martin and Barbara - 400 covering all bills (1 room)

So no actual profit was made. XXXXX, XXXXX and Gabe were all aware of this.

Roy then presented us with a new tenancy agreement (attached). At this point Martin decided to not show this to William and Debbie but decided to sign it for them. He did not forge the signatures, as they bare no similarity to the original, he simply made them up. The reason for this was that he felt he wanted to avoid them questioning why they are paying a larger part of the rent than the rest of us did.

William and Debbie found out how much the total rent was in a conversation with Roy earlier this week and confronted us all with this and recorded the conversation. We disclosed the total amount of the rent and bills. After some arguing - mainly about personal disagreements, we agreed to pay rent equally as follows:

Will and Debbie - 600

Gabe 350

Martin and Barbara 650

The following day Martin phoned Will to apologise again and told him that he had made up his and Debbie's signatures on the tenancy agreement. Will claimed that he doesn't mind and that he just wants to move forward now. After this conversation Will called Roy to ask if he could take over the flat and evict Martin and Barbara.

Later that night Will, Debbie, XXXXX, XXXXX and Roy had a meeting in Roy's kitchen which was recoded. Will read a statement he had prepared and threatened Martin and Barbara with legal action for identity theft if we do not return their deposit within 48 hours and move out within one month. Roy stated that he would prefer if we all come to another agreement and sign another lease.

Will and Debbie then said they were prepared to negotiate on the proposed one month deadline in which were supposed to move out in order to avoid them taking legal action. We could not accept 1 month and proposed 3. They offered 2, we couldn't accept that and asked for 24 hours to think about it. After 24 hours and some legal advice we told them we were not willing to comment any further. They then threatened to call the police and then texted to say that we have until 9am the next morning to reconsider.

On the 19th January Roy left us a letter informing us that he expects rent to be paid, and that we will contact each of us regarding the lease agreement by Friday 25th. We then responded with a letter to Will and Debbie (attached). They responded with a threatening text.

Questions:

Can we get a criminal record for misrepresenting their identity on the tenancy agreement?

Can we get a criminal record for subletting?

Have we got a legal tenancy agreement with Roy?

Have they got a binding tenancy agreement with us?

Have they got a legal case against us for not putting the deposit into the DPS scheme even though they agreed with it.

Who can evict whom?

Worse case scenario - what can Will do to us legally?

What should our next steps be - legally?

Alex Watts :

Is this for an essay or assignment please?

Customer:

tenancy agreemet
Full Size Image

Customer:

No no

Customer:

this is happening to us now

Customer:

i just wrote it out to clear my head as i knew i would need to talk to a solicitor

Customer:

:-)

Alex Watts :
Can we get a criminal record for misrepresenting their identity on the tenancy agreement? - Potentially it is fraud by false representation if they wanted to complain to the Police.
Alex Watts :
Can we get a criminal record for subletting? - No, it is not a criminal offence.
Customer:

ok

Alex Watts :
Have we got a legal tenancy agreement with Roy? - No, only the main tenancy holder has a tenancy agreement with the Landlord. Sub letting is not a tenancy agreement, simply lodger.
Customer:

we are the main tenants

Alex Watts :
Have they got a binding tenancy agreement with us? - If they signed a legally binding contract then yes there is, but again a sub let can not be a tenancy agreement.
Alex Watts :
Have they got a legal case against us for not putting the deposit into the DPS scheme even though they agreed with it. - No, because only the main landlord needs to protect a deposit. For a sub let it is NOT a legal requirement.
Customer:

ok

Alex Watts :
Who can evict whom? - The Landlord can evict everyone. Only Martin can evict other tenants who sublet
Alex Watts :
Worse case scenario - what can Will do to us legally? - Nothing. They have a lodger agreement that is it. There is no legal power they have.
Alex Watts :
What should our next steps be - legally? - I do not think you need do anything. Will can not take legal action. Will can not stop any eviction as he is only renting a room/lodger.
Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

ok but he can report us for fraud to the police for misrepresenting his signature on the tenancy agreement

Customer:

what should we do regarding this?

Alex Watts :

He can - but then he would show he has suffered a loss. He has no loss. So the Police are not likely to do anything

Alex Watts :

You can't do anything regarding that - it has happened.

Customer:

but if a police does come and tries to caution us

Customer:

we should deny

Alex Watts :

You can - but someone signed the document. If you deny it, it could go to Court.

Alex Watts :

But there has been no loss, so do not worry too muchg

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything?

Customer:

i think he believes there has been loss and he is malicious so he may try the police thing

Customer:

so it may have to go to court

Alex Watts :

Possibly.

Alex Watts :

Can I help with anything else?

Customer:

Can I just ask you a few more questions i am happy topay some more

Alex Watts :

ok -

Customer:

what convictions can we incur in court?

Customer:

What is the process of going to court... how does it happen and what is the time frame?

Alex Watts : Possibly fraud.
Customer:

how do i pay more sorry Alex I am not sure how this works

Alex Watts : No timeframe. You are charged, the matter goes to court, you either plead guilty or not guilty.
Alex Watts : If not guilty the matter goes to trial and you see whether the court believes you.
Alex Watts : To pay more, you can just leave a bonus at the end - thank you.
Customer:

and what sentences are there?

Customer:

ah ok

Customer:

thanks i will for sure

Customer:

sentences if found guilty i mean

Customer:

and how long can it go on for?

Alex Watts : It could go on for 6-12 months. Potential for custody.
Customer:

and if he calls the police for fraud does he have to prove to them that there was loss before they prosecute?

Alex Watts : Yes that is correct.
Customer:

and if he can't can they investigate? We can prove everything

Customer:

in terms of paying rent and bills etc i mean - ie that we gained nothing

Alex Watts : Yes if there is no loss, there is no offence.
Alex Watts : They will probably just around and say this is a civil dispute and won't get involved.
Customer:

ok so we should just be ready with all documentation

Alex Watts : I would, just in case. Does this help?
Customer:

I think so ... just one final thing

Customer:

Martin is a teacher - should we try and just avoid any legal action

Customer:

at the moment will gave martin and me an ultimatum that if we leave he will not prosecute

Customer:

but 1 - i don't believe he has a case really

Customer:

and 2 - he's a bully

Alex Watts : No, I do not think you should be bullied. Stand your ground.
Customer:

BUT teaching is a tricky profession in terms of reputation

Customer:

that's what i worry about

Customer:

if this goes to court

Alex Watts : Yes
Customer:

Also just another question - we have tried to give him the deposit back but he will not accept cash and he will not provide his bank details - what shall we do with it now?

Alex Watts : If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/
Customer:

I will leave a bonus a rating of excellent this is really reassuring thanks alex

Alex Watts : Just give him a cheque for t.
Alex Watts : it
Customer:

does it matter if he does not accept it?

Alex Watts : No. It shows intent.
Customer:

Great thank you! That is all! you have been very helpful

Alex Watts : Glad to help.
Alex Watts : Please remember to leave feedback before you go to today.
Customer:

yes of course good night

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