Our landlord is uncontactable

(39 Posts)
MisselthwaiteManor Wed 01-May-13 15:06:34

Apologies if this is the wrong section but I thought there might be some landlords here.

The landlord will not speak to us over the phone, or come to the house. He will only text, and takes days to reply.

There have been a few issues including a broken boiler and his answer has always been 'google it'.

The kitchen has no floor - he was apparently in the middle of doing it during our second viewing, so we were surprised to see there was still no floor when we moved in.

So DH has been leaving answerphone messages and texts asking when it will be done, landlord has text every few days saying he will do it soon but never does. He's now been ignoring us completely for almost two weeks.

What can we do? The inventory lists a new kitchen floor. We stupidly signed this because we thought he was doing it right there and then. DH would put down some lino or something himself but the agreement says we can't do anything to the house (including putting up curtains/pictures/posters) without his written permission.

I'm annoyed about it because what do we do if there's an emergency with the house and he won't answer the bloody phone?

MisselthwaiteManor Wed 01-May-13 15:12:37

There's also a back yard which we can't get to because we weren't given the key. We've actually given up hope of ever getting this but are obviously paying rent for a yard we can't use. I wish we could just leave.

Weegiemum Wed 01-May-13 15:14:25

Is it a private arrangement or through an agent? We used an agent but they were still damn all good, our landlord just didnt speak to them either.

Hope you get it sorted soon.

MisselthwaiteManor Wed 01-May-13 15:33:09

It's private, not through an agent.

I don't understand why a landlord would outright ignore a tenant, fair enough not being at our beck and call 24 hours a day, but if I owned a house I'd want to know when there was something wrong with it.

msrisotto Wed 01-May-13 15:36:08

Do you have a receipt that your deposit has gone into a deposit protection scheme? This is law and seeing as your LL is flouting other rules I wouldn't be surprised if they failed to adhere to this one either.

MisselthwaiteManor Wed 01-May-13 15:46:51

We haven't paid a deposit, is it law that you have to have one or that it has to be protected? I did feel uncomfortable about not having one but couldn't get hold of the landlord to even discuss it, between our first view and moving in he didn't speak to us at all. We had to call his mother to get our second viewing.

PseudoBadger Wed 01-May-13 15:58:50

If there are safety issues then contact Environmental Health.

LIZS Wed 01-May-13 16:00:02

Do you have a contract ?

MisselthwaiteManor Wed 01-May-13 16:12:16

We have a tenancy agreement

msrisotto Wed 01-May-13 16:16:25

No it's the law that any deposits have to be protected.
I don't know other legalities but if I were you, i'd leave to be honest. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. He's clearly not bothered, I wouldn't bet on ever getting your kitchen floor.

specialsubject Wed 01-May-13 16:46:13

if they haven't paid a deposit, it can't be protected! (If they have, it must be - but there is no legal requirement to take a deposit)

what decent landlord wouldn't ask for a deposit?? The OP doesn't have a decent landlord. Check your tenancy for a notice period or a break point. If there isn't one, give one month's notice to end on the rental payment date. Then leave.

you are legally entitled to his contact details. If he won't give them to you, just tell him by text that you are serving him written notice.

to be honest, this was clearly fishy from the start so start planning to move.

msrisotto Wed 01-May-13 16:59:54

Yeah I know, I was saying that it isn't the law to have a deposit, but if you do have a deposit then it is the law to have it protected. Excuse me for any misunderstanding.

MisselthwaiteManor Wed 01-May-13 17:06:05

The tenancy agreement says 6 months and then a review, the 6 months ends in August. It also says we have to give 60 days notice to leave, I'm 7 months pregnant so that's a bit of a nightmare. Could we give notice now even though the agreement is until August?

Sorry I know nothing about all this, it's only our second rental and the first was so simple.

LIZS Wed 01-May-13 17:10:03

The earliest you can give notice is before your end of June payment is due , ie 60 days before the end date in August. AST is a 6 month minimum commitment although you could negotiate sooner and not pay the full 6 months if you got ll consent and it was relet within the remaining period.

AwkwardSquad Wed 01-May-13 17:54:25

Try your local council - they should have a private sector housing team,and I think can help with unsafe accommodation and complaints if disrepair.

firawla Wed 01-May-13 17:59:02

Could try shelter for advice? we had a landlady very similar tho this - wouldn't give us any contact details at all, she used to go out to hawaii and email us from there but no phone number we could use or anything, then she went crazy and sent us calls from someone else warning us to never contact her again even while we were still living there!
If you can, I would just leave - luckily you don't have a deposit to loose.
Not sure about the contract, if you can show its unsafe and he's not doing things properly the contract may become void so thats where shelter may be able to give u advice. You will be waiting on the line for ages but once you get through, they are good

xabiuol Wed 01-May-13 18:04:09

Just stop paying the rent. He'll soon contact you then!

Cloverer Wed 01-May-13 18:05:52

Speak to the private tenancy team at the council - they can put pressure on the landlord for you.

If you've not paid a deposit, I would just find somewhere else and leave. Personally I wouldn't pay him a penny more in rent either! He is unlikely to chase you for it I reckon, and if you have plenty of evidence of the condition of the house then you will have good reason in court to say why you left.

BonzoDooDah Wed 01-May-13 18:07:10

I'd check with the council or citizen's advice to see about breaking the contract early due to the landlord failing to comply with his side. If you don't have a floor covering after being in the house for 2 months and no emergency exit out of the back of the house then I'd say this is breach of his side. You have no deposit to lose so I'd find somewhere else, arrange to move and give him notice as you're moving out. I wouldn't even pay the last month's rent until the last minute - in case he plays up. And as penalty for inadequate furnishing. I'd take loads of photographs of the kitchen floor too (with a date stamp) "just in case".

Get somewhere new and less stressful before the baby arrives. You don't want him farting about when you have a new baby. And having a yard you can't go out into means no sitting in the sun with the baby in their pram in what should be our oncoming summer.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Wed 01-May-13 18:08:29

Legally, you should have a contact address for him, even if this is an agent. This and the lack of deposit would have rung alarm bells for me in the first place. Get proper advice from Shelter/CAB. You will have enough on when the baby arrives.

specialsubject Wed 01-May-13 18:09:26

ignore the advice to stop paying the rent, that is theft. Two wrongs do not make a right.

However with a missing floor and no way out, I'd go with BonzoDooDah and get advice.

you can give notice now but you signed up until August.

LIZS Wed 01-May-13 18:10:48

You would have no leverage if you don't pay rent , legally that immediately puts you in the wrong.

mangohedgehog Wed 01-May-13 18:14:46

Best thing you can do is talk to Shelter.

BonzoDooDah Wed 01-May-13 18:35:11

True about not paying the rent putting you in the wrong. And you need to be clean that way.
But I really would find somewhere else and move as soon as you can. (hopefully that's not difficult where you live)

xabiuol Wed 01-May-13 18:49:56

"ignore the advice to stop paying the rent, that is theft"

It's not theft to not pay the rent. That's a ridiculous comment. LL has breached the contract by not repairing what he should have repaired.

And actually if the LL hasn't supplied address contact details (by way of a section 48 notice) the tenant is not legally obliged to pay any rent until they do!

www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2010/09/03/landlord%E2%80%99s-addresses-and-other-matters/

MisselthwaiteManor Wed 01-May-13 19:09:12

Thanks for all the advice. I think we will be spending the day contacting shelter/the council etc tomorrow and seeing what our options are.

We have a phone number and a phone number for his mum. We've never been given an address, I will ask for it and see if he replies, will a text count as a written request?

MisselthwaiteManor Fri 03-May-13 21:06:54

Things got arsey today. He sent a text saying he would have done the floor if we'd let him in when we were out (we said no to this for obvious reasons) so apparently he's now going to 'let myself in and do it when I feel like it'.

I am SO uncomfortable with this. I'm on maternity leave so here on my own all day and don't want a strange man walking in whenever!

We are going to change the locks tomorrow. I don't care if its allowed or not, I'm not feeling unsafe in my own home.

Can not wait to leave!

Cosmosim Fri 03-May-13 21:56:40

You're allowed to change the locks as long as you keep the originals and change them at end of your tenancy (returning to same condition). So tell him to call the police if he starts banging on your door and if he tries to force entry/harass, you call them.

specialsubject Fri 03-May-13 21:57:54

oh great, not. It is trespass for him to come in without your permission - his property but your home while you rent it from him. Tell him this. He cannot come in without permission unless it is an emergency, and even then it is iffy.

time for 101 in the morning, before spending money changing the locks.

MisselthwaiteManor Sat 04-May-13 03:43:26

Hard to tell from a text but it sounded more like willy-waving, 'my house I'll do what I want' type of thing rather than a real threat to walk in unannounced, because if he was really going to do the floor why not just tell us he's on his way, even 2 hours notice would be fine. But now the threat is there I feel like I have no privacy.

DH has replied with 'we aren't comfortable with anyone in the house while we are out or without notice.' I doubt the LL will reply but it's in writing now that we aren't happy with it.

We're putting a chain on the inside of the door instead of changing the locks for now. I don't want to feel unsafe getting a bath or whatever in my own home. If he does walk in is that enough to let us end our tenancy early?

Jaynebxl Sat 04-May-13 06:25:36

Did you contact shelter / the council?

If a rental relationship starts off like this then it can only get worse when he starts blaming you for things further down the line. You need to move out or you will be left at home with a tiny baby and a landlord who is a terror.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sat 04-May-13 07:29:00

What a nightmare.

You've been given good advice about your rights. TBH if I were you I would be looking for another place ASAP, this guy / situation will only get worse.

Just this time make sure you do everything right - deposit, inventory etc.

Good luck.

ediblewoman Sat 04-May-13 07:50:24

Please call Shelter for advice; 0808 800 4444

You are not legally liable for rent unless you have an address for for your landlord in the UK. This is because you need to have an address for service of Court papers (if it ever came to it), it doesn't have to be their address, it can be an address for a representative, eg a letting agent, but you have to have one! As soon as you have one you become liable for the rent including all back rent so if you do chose to withhold the rent put it in a separate bank account and don't touch it.

I would suggest (following advice from Shelter). Texting your landlord and saying that you have been given legal advice that you are not liable for rent until you have an address for advice in the UK and you'll be putting the rent in an account in your name until you have the address you need when you will transfer it. Once you have the address I would send a letter recorded saying that you signed the inventory on the promise that the floor would be completed and it isn't so you want the inventory amended. Make it clear you have taken photographs and have people who are prepared to make it clear the floor was never laid. Ask for confirmation that the floor will be done by a certain date and say if you have 't heard from them by a certain date you will be doing the work yourself (after getting three quotes) and will withhold the money from the rent.

Pleas be aware though that this all sounds v dodgy and I think you'd be better off giving notice and leaving!

Please speak to Shelter (I was a legal advisor in Housing but years ago now so you should get some up to date advice).

ediblewoman Sat 04-May-13 07:52:01

Big old x post!

Cosmosim Sat 04-May-13 07:58:47

Do not say you are going to do work on the flat without his consent. Not legal and from what you've written, it sounds as if he is still thinking it's his "home" rather than a property he owns and lets out - his tenants' "home". I think that kind of empty threat would negatively escalate the already uncomfortable situation.
, he would not t

Cosmosim Sat 04-May-13 07:59:35

Gah, sneezed as I posted and iPhone autocorrected to some random wordsgrin

flow4 Sat 04-May-13 08:47:41

Apart from the bit about getting the work done yourself, which I am not sure you can (legally), I think the rest of edible's advice is good.

Your LL has to give you 48 hrs notice of a visit. If turns up unannounced and tries to force entry, call the police.

But to be honest, this already sounds too stressful. I would give notice and move elsewhere ASAP if I were you.

And do get urgent advice from Shelter, because you signed an incorrect inventory, and I think it is currently possible that you could be sued/charged for removing the new floor you agreed was there, even tho' it wasn't. sad

BonzoDooDah Sat 04-May-13 11:23:32

What a horrible situation. Really, it's a Saturday - get out looking at houses and find somewhere else asap. It is the only way you are going to feel safe - and .at's the most important thing about being at home. The stress of it all on top of being pregnant is just not worth it. sad

greenformica Sun 05-May-13 21:07:40

get someone to asses fire regulations. Sounds like it might fail.

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