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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3843
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I am a university student renting from a construction company

Customer Question

I am a university student renting from a construction company who claims the flat to be legal for residential purposes. In my monthly bill, the landlord claims that utilities (including council tax) are included, since I am exempt from council tax payment, I did not follow up on whether this claim was true. My roommates and I are planning to move out in June, therefore the agent has started the viewing process with new future tenants. I heard from the real-estate agent that this flat I am renting is in fact illegal, it is supposed to be an office building, but the landlord rented it out as a residential flat. We had a lot of problems with this flat in the past 7 months and wasted a lot of time to make sure the landlord does all the repair work. We have not paid the rent for the last two months yet (we made our first payment in full for 6 months as we are students with no income), but they do hold our deposit. How will my landlord be punished for this illegal renting activity, will I get any compensation?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer.

It is very unlikely you will get compensation. In affect you have not actually suffered any loss.

In your tenancy agreement does it say anywhere that the landlord acknowledges that he is allowed to use the property as a flat?

Kind regards

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It doesn't say on the contract that he is allowed to use the property as a flat, we found out this property is illegal through the agency, who admitted that the reason we have not received council tax bills was because this is actually an office.


Is it correct to assume that offices are not allowed to be rented out as residential flats ?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you.

Yes it is correct to assume that. Properties have to have a certain use class allocated to them under the Town and Country Planning Act. It is highly unlikely that an office space would have permission to be used as residential space.

If you reported this to your local planning officer the landlord will probably be subjected to an enforcement notice and fine. You cannot blackmail anyone because that is illegal but perhaps if you could use this as leverage to ensure your deposit is safely returned.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards