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SASH_Law
SASH_Law, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 551
Experience:  LLB (Hons)
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My son rented a room in a house with four others. It is only

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Hi my son rented a room in a house with four others. It is only a three bedroom house and the two sitting rooms were rented as bedrooms. There have been significant cleanliness issues with the house as it has one small kitchen and one bathroom. Is the landlord operating within the law?
Assistant: What steps has your son taken so far? Has he prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: No
Assistant: Where is the house located?
Customer: Eastbourne
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: My son has not been an occupant in the house since January but has continued to pay rent as no-one lease has been willing to sublet due to the conditions

your son did contract with the landlord ?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.

if your son does not live there then your son let the landlord know about this?

If your son does not live there then why he did not ask landlord to leave the contract?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He did but the landlord wouldn’t agree as he was unable to get anyone else to take the room.

its not my expertise i leave it for other experts. please do not answer.

Hi, I'm Lea

What type of contract does your son have?

How many other people live in the property? Are all rooms let out separately to different people?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi Lea
The contract is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. There are five people in the house. It is a three bedroom house with one kitchen with no seating and one bathroom. The contract duration is September 2018 to July 2019 (with one payment outstanding). My son has not lived in the property since December last year but has been unable to sublet because the hygiene of the property is low due in large part to the cramped conditions.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hello, can I expect a reply please?

What's the local authority area?

Please note that this is an email service so answers will not always be instant.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Eastbourne council

Do you know if the landlord holds an HMO licence?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
No I am not sure.

Do you have the landlord's full name?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Jon Ridley

Are you certain that is his name and that is how it is spelt? Could you give me the address of the property? We can ask customer services to hide this thread afterwards so the information is not online, but it would be useful for me to have it so that I can check the register properly.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The names on the contract are “J.Ridley and K. Ridley” and he signs his emails with “Jon”. The address is*****Eastbourne BN21 3RT.

Bear with me whilst I check and write up a response for you.

I have checked the register for HMOs in Eastbourne and I cannot find any reference to either a J Ridley or a K Ridley with the corresponding address. There are two properties in that street which are registered HMOs, but not no.90.

If the information you have given is accurate, and the tenancy has been in existance since Sepember 2018, it is very likely that the property is not a registered HMO. The register I checked is accurate to June 2019.

If the property is indeed not registered as an HMO, the landlord is committing an offence, the penalty for which is an unlimited fine and they may be ordered to pay the tenants compensation by way of repayment of up to 12 months rent.

So your son appears to be in a very good negotiating position, a) to get out of his contract (which the landlord is not entitled to if he/she requires to be registered as an HMO), and b) to get some of his rent back.

The alternative is that your son just reports the landlord immediately and waits for the prosecuting authority (in this case the local council - contact environmental health) takes action.

Please acknowledge receipt and acceptance of this response. You will then be able to ask follow on questions and later will be asked to rate using the five stars at the top of the page so that I am credited for my time.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Should I ask Jon if he is registered as an HMO?

Scrub that...unfortunately it is registered as I have just located it on another register.

In that case your son will need to negotiate a release from his tenancy by agreement.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok. I don’t think he placed the deposit with one of the registered deposit schemes.

I have also checked how many people his HMO allows, and it is five.

If he hasn't placed the deposit in a scheme, then that is a problem for him...but advantageous to your son.

Have you checked all the deposit schemes?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
No I haven’t checked them (not sure how). But he didn’t give us a receipt showing that he did make the deposit.

Not providing the prescribed information for the deposit protection is the same as not protecting the deposit, and can lead to your son, if he makes a claim, being awarded his deposit back and potentially 1 to 3 times the deposit as a penalty. Since the landlord has more than one HMO, he can't pretend not to know the law as he is clearly an experienced landlord, so it is likely the court would award a higher penalty (i.e. perhaps the maximum 3 times the deposit).

Your son could use this as a negotiation angle to get out of the tenancy.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
How can we make a claim? Should I ask Jon if he used a deposit scheme.

You can find out how to check the schemes here: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/tenancy_deposits/check_if_your_tenancy_deposit_is_protected

Yes, ask the landlord, though it should also be in the tenancy agreement.

I would use the lack of protection/not providing the prescribed information as a negotiating tool to get out of the contract...but yes, you could make a claim if you preferred to do that.

Please accept and rate the response by clicking the five stars at the top of your page.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok thank you. I will give you a tip rating.

Thank you very much.

I hope that you get it all sorted out.

Hi, could I ask you to remember to click the five stars at the top of your screen please?

Thanks

SASH_Law, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 551
Experience: LLB (Hons)
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