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To think this estate agent has no right to do that

(22 Posts)
Bunnyhipsdontliegrl Fri 11-Nov-16 16:12:38

I just hung the phone with my friend and am outraged on her behalf! She is having a shitty time at the moment (for some months already) and doesn't have the strenght to fight so I thought I would see if I could help her with some ideas how to deal with this situation.

She was supposed to move this week in a new flat. It was through an estate agency. She was honest regarding her financial situation (she works but not 9-5, so a bit unusual). She was told everything was fine, signed comtract. Agency then said she would have to give references. She did. They kept on asking more and more papers (proof of work, bank statements) she sent it all. The day before she moved, they told her they could not accapt her references (all legal and paying taxes) and due to her unusual situation they would need one paper.

The problem is it might take a month to grt it and they refuse to let her move in as long as they haven't seen the paper. She was not told that when she mentioned her situation or when she signed. (Or anytime before the day she had to move in)

They now want her to pay the rent from this week but refuse to let her move in.

Aibu to think this is illegal? And completely crazy to make her pay the rent but refuse to let her move in because they are not sure she can pay the rent.

She has to pay two rents , isn't sire she will be able to move and gave notice for her actual place (where she was able to stay a bit longer)

Anybody knowledgable on the subject? Anybody have any suggestion

I suggested the citizen bureau but she can't go as she works long hours.

19lottie82 Fri 11-Nov-16 16:20:20

If she pays rent then she lives there, yes. If your friend and the Landlord signed the lease then if they don't let her move in, they are in breach of contract. (Have they?)

Bunnyhipsdontliegrl Fri 11-Nov-16 16:26:50

I think the estate agent is managing the building for the landlord. The estate agent and my friends signed the contract (which is why the estate agent says she has to pay even though they won't let her move in)

Bluntness100 Fri 11-Nov-16 16:28:48

Insuspect the issue is she wishes the flat held for her till she can provide the paperwork. If this is the case someone loses financially, either the landlord or her. If she doesn't pay they can put it back on the market for others. How much does she want it?

She can have a solicitor look at the contract, she can just read it herself, but would assume it says she has to provide all necessary paperwork. As for the references obviously there is a reason they are not accepted.

Were they from previous landlords? Who were they from? Having rented out two properties via an agent, the only time this sort of thing happened was when there was something like a ccj in place, or the references looked to be unreliable.

However the moving in date for me was always after the paperwork was submitted corrrectly. As said, I think she wants the property held, but has failed to provide adequate documentation and that's where the issue lies.

Bunnyhipsdontliegrl Fri 11-Nov-16 16:32:24

The reference is from her current landlord and her employers. She would have been happy to provide the paper had they mentioned it earlier (she actually wants to pay and wait for the paper, I am the one who think she should refuse)

Bluntness100 Fri 11-Nov-16 16:36:04

Then there is something she is not telling uou,

How long has she been at her current place? How long has she been employed at that company?

What "paper" is being requested?

Lewwat Fri 11-Nov-16 16:39:39

This doesn't sound right. What paper needs to be handed in?

Bluntness100 Fri 11-Nov-16 16:40:09

Also, don't tell her not to pay, if she has not provided adequate paperwork and she then doesn't pay she will likely be in breach and she could be out of pocket severely.

As said, not enough info here to comment though, from what's the paper, how long she has been with her employer and landlord, did she pass the credit checks, has she had a ccj etc.

NerrSnerr Fri 11-Nov-16 16:43:01

What is the paper they're asking for? Not being a 9-5 job won't be an issue, I worked all sorts of hours and jobs when renting. All that mattered was regular income.

baconandeggies Fri 11-Nov-16 16:43:46

Tax return?

Bluntness100 Fri 11-Nov-16 16:45:23

Also does she have a criminal record? Why does it take a month to get this paper? Whatever it is?

Bunnyhipsdontliegrl Fri 11-Nov-16 16:46:38

She has been in her job for years, at her current flat too. She never paid late once or have any credit.

I don't want to say too much but the paper they want is related to how much she will earn next year and she hasn't got that written yet.

Bunnyhipsdontliegrl Fri 11-Nov-16 16:49:18

That might be a drip but she works for a private employer (she had told them that from the beginning) which is why they are making her life so hard. There is nothing else.

Bunnyhipsdontliegrl Fri 11-Nov-16 16:52:14

No criminal record and the paperwill just take long to be sent to her, she wish it was faster.

She just called me to tell me the agency now tells her she can move in if she pays 6 months in advance. I find that fishy but she is desperate to move and it's a well known agency

Bluntness100 Fri 11-Nov-16 16:57:52

Ok, I've dont that, but I asked for a year in advance, because the contract was for a year, and it was because of unstable employment and a county court judgement.

There is obviously a concern over her finances. The agent won't accept a tennant if they aren't sure they can afford the property.

I suspect she may lose this flat, I'd probably put it back on the market, and if she comes good or pays up then I'd let her move in. Sorry but agents don't behave this way for the shits and giggles, they do it to prevent people moving in who then can't afford it, default and won't get the hell out.

baconandeggies Fri 11-Nov-16 16:59:32

Standard practice for tenants who fail the referencing process... Nothing to worry about if she can afford it.

baconandeggies Fri 11-Nov-16 17:01:43

Sounds like they wanted to see her projected earnings. Think failing referencing might affect landlord's insurance (don't quote me on that), hence reducing the landlord's risk by asking for 6 months in advance.

Bunnyhipsdontliegrl Fri 11-Nov-16 17:01:53

Thanks for your answer. So it is a done thing? I might be worrying to much, she is a bit vulnerable (not financially) at the moment, I am scared she might be scammed.

baconandeggies Fri 11-Nov-16 17:04:30

Yep - really common - not fishy at all as long as she's checked the estate agent is legit - i.e. belongs to the trade body / regulator / whatever.

Bluntness100 Fri 11-Nov-16 17:04:43

No, I doubt she is being scammed, as said our agents once got a year in advance, I didn't get it, the money was held by the agent and paid as rent monthly to me, to be fair to both us and the tennant.

QueenJuggler Fri 11-Nov-16 17:14:10

"she...never have any credit".

Do you mean she's never had any credit problems?

Or literally she's never had any credit - i.e. never taken out a loan, used a credit card etc?

Because if it's the latter, she probably doesn't have any credit rating, right? That could leave her looking dodgy to a landlord - thus them asking for rent in advance.

One of our tenants paid us two years in advance - they knew they would fail the referencing process (recently moved to the UK, no credit score, but employed by a very good company in a senior position), so worked round it by giving us the money, plus work references .

triphazard Fri 11-Nov-16 23:05:13

I am not legally qualified but do have some relevant experience so can add my thoughts, but you shouldn't rely on them and I would advise you to see a solicitor/ the CAB ASAP.

I think you need to double check a few facts here for clarity; what exactly has been signed - was the contract you mention a tenancy agreement or a only form for a holding fee/ deposit? Is this for an assured shorthold tenancy? As opposed to a lodger agreement or something.

Has she been asked to set up a standing order to pay rent? In my experience agents/ LL usually ask for the the first month to be paid in advance, as well as a deposit against damage. Has she paid/ been asked to pay any of these?

Have a read of the Shelter and CAB websites for more info. Also the Property Ombudsman sites, ARLA the Letting Agents body have info on guidelines.

Working on the understanding that the contract you refer to OP is a tenancy agreement, then procedurally, the agents should not have allowed the tenancy agreement to be signed until the references were completed satisfactorily.

It is too late to impose further conditions after signing and to withold possession is serious.

The tenancy agreement is a legally binding document that a tenancy will commence on a given date and I don't see how the agent or LL can legally stop the tenant taking possesion (receiving the keys/ moving in) on that date without causing a breach of contract which can be challenged in court.

If your friend has signed a tenancy agreement then she does not have to agree to any alterations to the contract and I believe she should be able to take possesion regardless of outstanding/ late requested documents.

Any agreement to vary/ terminate the tenancy agreement (date, frequency/method of rent payments) should be made in writing not just verbally for the sake of all parties, and a new tenancy agreement signed that includes the changes.

Check the documents to clarify what is going on and get some proper advice ASAP. I hope this works out OK for your friend. It sounds a bit dodgy to me.

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