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Landlord wants to cut out the rental agency

(29 Posts)
JellyBellies Mon 04-Mar-13 22:10:59

Hi, We rented a property last July and we found it through a rental agency. We signed a contract with them, paid a deposit etc.

Now the landlord wants us to start paying the rent directly to him. He says the rental agency has been bought over by another company and he no longer wants to deal with them.

Our tenancy agreement has the landlord's name on it but it is followed by 'C/o agency name'

And our deposit is in a deposit scheme put in by the agency.

My question is what do we need to do to make it so that we have all legal agreements with landlord? Do we need a new tenancy agreement? Or will it be enough to have a letter signed by the landlord saying that he is taking over the running of the property and we are to pay rent directly to him?

Also, how do we get our deposit back? I am going to ring the deposit scheme and the agency tomorrow. However if you have any experience is this area please could you share?

Thanks.

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 09:10:26

Anyone?

HecateWhoopass Tue 05-Mar-13 09:21:26

I would need a lot of assurances about the security of the deposit, etc, before agreeing.

Is he going to reduce your rent a bit so that you share the benefit of him not having to pay agency fees, do you know? grin

You will know more when you contact the agency and get their take on it.

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 10:55:12

Thanks for replying!
We asked about the deposit as it is in a scheme with the agency name. He told us he would be happy for us to have it back, meaning he doesn't want a deposit!

I contact the deposit scheme today and they told us that the landlord has to register with them and get the deposit transferred etc. When I told him this he said he will get the agency to release the deposit back to is and we can take it up from there.

We haven't contacted the agency yet because we are not entirely sure what ha has told them. He originally told us that he would tell them that we are leaving! We are not happy to lie to the agency. Now he says he has told the agency that his brother has bought the property and is now the new landlord. Not entirely sure of his story!

However he says he will get the deposit released to us so we will see!

Do we need a new tenancy agreement with him? Or is a letter from him asking us to pay rent to him enough?

He did offer us a reduction in rent if we put him on our council tax bill so that he doesn't have to pay landlords insurance shock angry we refused!

Are you happy to rent from such a wheeler dealer?

Not sure I would be.... Lies and lies....

How much is left of your contract?

"He did offer us a reduction in rent if we put him on our council tax bill so that he doesn't have to pay landlords insurance "

So legally it is going to look like he lives together with you? It will absolve him from all his duties as a landlord? No insurance? YOU would be liable with him, as co-habitants?

I would refuse to do this. I would wait for him to give you notice and move out.

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 11:03:05

That's the problem Pure. We are very uncomfortable.

But, we just moved here last July for DS1's school. He starts this September. He is at the pre school now and is very happy. We have moved 5 times in the last 7 years for work, house issues etc and are reluctant to move if we don't have to right now. Will probably move about a year down the line anyway.

The contract was for 6 months so if finished and it's now on a rolling contract.

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 11:07:31

We already refused to do it. We told him, no way was he going on any of our bills.

We are not from the UK, have lived here for 7 years now. He seems to think that, because we are not from here we do not know how things 'work' IYSWIM.

Ok, so he wants to sign a new contract without the agency involved. His current contract with the agency may prohibit him from doing so.

I think you need to see the new contract first! Do not agree to any less than you had before in terms of security and his duties as a landlord. I would scrutinize new contract, make sure landlords duties are the same in the new as the one you have through the agency, insist on things like gas safety certificates etc Be mindful of contract length, and break clause.

Get the deposit transferred in the way the scheme holders suggest.

I am not a legal person, so hopefully somebody will come along and either say I am right, or explain why I am wrong grin Speaking as a landlord.

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 11:15:12

Thanks, the problem is he doesn't want to do any paperwork , have a new contract etc.

We are the ones forcing him saying if you want us to pay you rent, we need a contract with you. He says - I'm happy to sign on anything as long as you pay me the rent! He even said, you draft it, I will sign it confused It doesn't feel right. Why doesn't he want a deposit, contract. Sure that protects him more that it protects us?

Sounds very strange.....

HecateWhoopass Tue 05-Mar-13 11:17:21

It does.

I wouldn't want any part of it, tbh.

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 11:19:52

Yes, we are getting that feeling too.

Which is a pain as we really don't want to move at the moment!

The main thing is primary school places, how will we get a place at a good school now? sad

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 11:23:45

If we do sign a new contract with him, we will ask for him to bring his ID and the deeds of the house if possible to prove he is the landlord/who he says he is. And it will be a rolling contract, no minimum term.

I think we will have downloaded one ourselves off the Internet as he isn't bothered about things like contracts.

Will not do anything until we get the deposit back though.

Will show DH this thread when he gets home. He wanted Mumsnet advice grin

I would not touch this to be honest.

aufaniae Tue 05-Mar-13 11:45:21

The LL sounds dodgy and it's not ideal, but you need to be pragmatic here.

Given that you need to be living locally to get your DS into primary school, this would be the priority for me.

In your shoes, my first task would be to find out what the rules are if you move before school starts. I may be wrong about this, but I suspect it's possible you need to still be in a local place when school starts.

I would be very wary about signing a contract with no minimum term, as protecting your DS's school place is essential. Therefore what I'd do would be to get the LL to sign a contract with the minimum term being whatever your DS needs to be eligible to take up his school place, with a view to finding a new place once DS has started school if you feel the arrangement isn't working for you. So if you need to be there in Sept, get him to sign a 7 month contract (you probably don't want to be moving the week he's starting school!)

As he has offered to give you your deposit back, your risk is small I think. If it's only for 8 months or so, it should be OK I imagine.

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 12:10:11

That's a good idea aufanie, will check on the schools. Thanks!

he doesnt want a contract, do any paperwork, and put his name down so it looks like he's living with you?

i understand that you dont want to move again (we've moved 5 times in 7 yrs and planning another in sept so know what its like), but i wouldnt trust this at all. it sounds very dodgy. personally id go and speak to the agency to see what they say about it all

Actually agree with Aufania. If you can get a standard 1 year contract, but include a 7 or 8 month break clause, it means you are secure for a year, but can give notice in at 7 or 8 months should you wish to do so. If this work, you can just make another such contract with him the following year. As you are doing it with him, not an agency, it cuts the cost, and you are in control over your contracts. Just ensure you put your deposit in a protected scheme with him as landlord.

Having a deposit is a good thing for you, so I would not be happy NOT to have one, to be honest. What if your landlord decided you had caused damage and asked you to PAY out of your pocket? You would have to argue it out with him. But if there is a deposit in a scheme, landlord will have to bring a case to the deposit holder, show evidence, etc. It will then be up to the deposit holder to mediate and come to an agreement. I prefer this security. Also, take photographs so you know what the place looks like, if there is any damage, when sorting the new contract. You can have an inventory with him where you point out everything that is wrong. This way you can refer back to it if there are any problems later.

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 12:55:02

Ok, landlord just called back. He has spoken to the agency about our deposit.

He has told them that he has sold the property to his brother and that his brother doesn't want to delay with the agency anymore, just with us!

He wants me to say the same thing to the agency if they call angry

I don't want to lie. I think I will claim to know nothing for the moment. Hopefully they will not call me. He can lie if he wants. I really don't want to get stuck in this.

Llareggub Tue 05-Mar-13 12:57:06

I agreed this with my landlord. The letting agency transferred the deposit via the scheme and I had an email from whoever is holding the deposit with the PIN number I need to release the funds at the end.

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 12:57:33

Deal not delay.

Quodlibet Tue 05-Mar-13 13:08:16

Ok, another angle. I have only ever rented direct off landlords, as I CBA with agents who push the rental price up 15% (and neither can my current landlord). I have found that it's cheaper, easier and I get to stay longer - I've left both my places when I wanted to after several years of paying the same rent, whilst friends who have rented through agencies are often bounced from place to place every 12 months when the agency decides to hike the rent up. Landlords on their own tend not to bother, I find - if they have got a reliable tenant paying an ok rent they let you get on with it.

I definitely think there are pluses to having a slightly lax landlord - you could, if you wanted to, negotiate a 2yr contract fixed at current rates which would protect you against rent rises. He seems fairly happy to have you there as tenants.
I would also want to negotiate splitting the 15% agency fee with him, so your rent reduces by 7% or so. Only fair - and you might find that the standard/timeliness of repairs etc is reduced once he has to do it himself.

Definitely protect yourself with a contract and a deposit.

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 13:48:24

I do not mi D renting directly from the landlord at all. As long as it's legal and above board!

Thanks for the information about the deposit protecting us as well as the landlord. I did not know that. Will make sure we have deposit, contract and inventory sorted if we do this!

JellyBellies Tue 05-Mar-13 13:50:42

Is there anything in else we need to keep an eye out for. I should probably conform that he is definitely paying landlords insurance shouldn't I?

Is there anything else I need to check?

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