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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practicing Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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I recently let a property in London from an overseas

Resolved Question:

I recently let a property in London from an overseas landlord, just 6 weeks into the tenancy the real owner of the property turned up surprised that I was in the property - the owner it transpires is the 'landlords' mother, and they don't talk. The owner has asked us to leave the property and has signed what amounts to a deed of surrender, but the landlord refuses to communicate and has even disconnected her phone. The agent (F*x***s) also refuses to accept that the tenancy agreement (that was signed electronically from Canada) is null and void and is stating that we may be still liable for the rent. We are in the situation where we have to move out and yet the agent seems unable to accept the situation and return our deposit.

Please advise us on where we stand

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 3 years ago.
Matt Jones :

Hi I will try and help

Matt Jones :

have you seen evidence of the ownership of the property by the mother?

Customer: Yes I downloaded a copy of the land registry. It clearly shows the mother as sole owner
Customer:

Can you please advise?

Matt Jones :

Hi I am now back on line

Matt Jones :

a couple of other questions

Customer:

ok

Matt Jones :

1) who drew the "deed of surrender"? was this a solicitors ; 2) I presume the "deed of surrender" between you and the mother, is that correct? the landlord is not involved 3) do you want to stay in the property or are you happy to leave? 4) where is the deposit? is it in a deposit protection scheme? 5) do you know why the "landlord" let the property without the "owners" consent?

Customer:

1) the mothers solicitors, 2) yes correct, 3) happy to leave, 4) DPS, 5) no idea - she says her mother knew, but her mother didn't know - she turned up at the property expecting to stay there for a holiday

Matt Jones :

Ok thanks

Matt Jones :

is your only concern therefore if you can get the deposit back? or are you concerned about the rent ?

Matt Jones :

also, how much rent have to actually paid to date?

Customer:

my concerns are 1) getting the deposit out of the DPS asap - when foxtons don't seem to care and 2) reducing any liability on the future rent (I have activated the break clause). I don't expect the "landlord" to resurface - but if she does what is the situation, the tenancy agreement clearly states she needs to "to obtain all nec. consents to enable the landlord to enter this agreement". I have paid 6 weeks deposit and 2 months rent so far

Matt Jones :

ok thanks

Matt Jones :

1) the DPS deposit repayment can be activated by you. The Agents/Landlord will then be given an opportunity of agreeing or disputing this. From what you have said I cant see what advantage they would gain by them disputing it, however they may. If they do then it will go to adjudication. You will be given the opportunity of advancing the evidence to the independent adjudication service provided by the DPS. Given the agreement has been entered into in the best case scenarios without due consent, and worse case with outright fraud I can see no reason why the adjudication would go against you

Matt Jones :

2) You have a contract with the "landlord" that much is a fact. By ending the agreement there is technically a breach of contract.However it appears that the agreement was void "ab initio" or from the beginning as the "landlord" didn't have the requisite legal title or consent to enter into the contract with you. Should the "landlord" decide to sue for breach of contract you could counterclaim for the loss you have suffered, and even possibly a wrongful eviction claim

Customer:

thank-you - you have been very helpful - I'm assuming that requesting the deposit back before the end of the tenancy is going to be tough - but I will give it a go.

Matt Jones :

you are entitled to claim it back at any time, but yes it may not be a nice easy break away as you would expect. However I see absolutely no reason why the agents would be entitled to claim part of the deposit. They are obviously aggrieved because they are not going to be getting their percentage of the monthly rent,but that quite frankly is tough and they need to take this up with the "landlord". What you may wish to consider is getting the deed of surrender checked and ensure there is an indemnity clause form the "mother" so that if the landlord does come back saying she was legally entitled to rent the property out (for example because she did have the requisite authority from the "owner" at the time but the owner latterly changed her mind) then the "owner" will indemnify you against any loss of the "landlord"

Customer:

thanks

Customer:

I will provide Excellent feedback - so you get paid

Matt Jones :

great stuff. Good luck with everything

Customer:

thanks!

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