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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 24625
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I have a dispute with my landlord. I have a car showroom

Customer Question

I have a dispute with my landlord. I have a car showroom which i am renting from him.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Im in the UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: The gist of it is that I agreed with the landlord that I would give a one year notice to him from February 2021 and leave at the beginning of February 2022, which I have done. He has gone back on his word and wants me to stay until October 2022. The other problem is I gave him a deposit of £10000 which I don't think he has any more and I might have little chance of retrieving as he has no fixed address and lives in a caravan travelling around Europe. I decided to stop paying the rent which was due on August 5th this month in order for him to back down and keep his word but its now reached a stalemate and he can not prove that the deposit of £10000 was ever deposited in a separate account as required by the lease. The only proof he has provided is a picture of an account with £10000 in it, no date as to when it was deposited. The lease says the deposit must be put in a separate account as soon as the lease was signed in January 2020. Thanks Hamid.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I dont think so
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist your with this today.

Please bear with me and I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Do you have anything on paper regarding this lease?

and do you have any idea where he is at present?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I have a lease. But what I want to know is if the lease says that the landlord must keep my £10000 deposit in an account as soon as the lease is signed , can he then not put the money in this account and use it himself. Does this make the lease invalid?
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I would rather not pay £44 so will continue online and not on the phone
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

You have probably seen a pop-up offering you the chance of a telephone call at an extra cost.  It is up to you whether you have a telephone call or not but do bear in mind that a 15-30 minute telephone call covers an awful lot of ground and you can get an awful lot of information in that time.  So you can ignore it or go ahead or go ahead later.  It’s your choice.

Meanwhile, we can carry on on here.

Once notice has been given and accepted, then it is not possible to retract it unilaterally or for the landlord to decide unilaterally, once they have accepted it, that they now no longer want it.

That is of course unless you both agree, which you don’t agree..

I haven’t seen your lease but in a properly drafted lease once you were overdue by 14 or 21 days in paying rent, the landlord can simply repossess the property and lock you out without a court order.  Much different than residential property but the provision must be in the lease.

Otherwise what you would do is simply stop paying rent and that the arrears take account of the deposit.

You would have proof that you paid the deposit because you would have a bank statement.

There is no legal requirement to keep the deposit separately although if he goes bankrupt, the deposit would go with it.  What he cannot do however is use that deposit money as his own because the money does not belong to him.

It would only make the lease invalid if it struck to the very heart of it and I don’t think it does.

Do remember that I can only give you my opinion.

Another lawyer may have a different opinion. Litigation needs at least 2 parties and neither goes to court expecting to lose.

Nonetheless, one of them does, even though they have been told by their respective legal advisers that they have a good chance of success.

If there was a black-and-white answer to every legal problem there would be no need for anything to ever proceed to court.

However that opinion is based upon this being in court and you are a long way from that so I would tell him exactly what you are suggesting, he has not kept the deposit in a separate account therefore he’s in fundamental breach of the lease and as such the lease is invalid and as such you can walk away at any time but you will stay until February as agreed

He is not going to find it particularly easy to argue or instruct solicitors if he is out and about

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Thanks for the advice. The lease is until 2024 but before the lease was signed the landlord agreed with me verbally and by email that I could leave if February 2022. Do I have a case here as the lease was signed after the verbal agreement and the subsequent email confirmation.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

If the lease was properly done, by deed, then your notice in his agreement is ineffectual because only a deed can vary a deed.  You cannot do it verbally.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
okay so the verbal agreement before the lease was signed and the subsequent email to confirm by the landlord can not be used to argue that the lease's end date is not correct?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 17 days ago.

If it’s not in the lease, it’s irrelevant.

You can use it to argue what you like but whether it would stand up in court is a different thing altogether.