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Rental situation

(26 Posts)
kubex13 Mon 08-Jun-20 19:29:52

My partner and I have been living in a rented property for almost 2.5 years now. It's a flat in a block with 4 other flats, all managed by the same guy.

A couple of weeks ago, we got a knock on the door from a couple who actually turned out to be the co owners of the property.

It turns out that they are locked in a legal battle with the guy we rented from, and have been since before we moved!

All 3 of them are on the mortgage but the guy we rented from has apparently been lying and withholding funds and information from the couple - they are in the process of trying to remove him from the mortgage etc, but it's not going well.

I know we've been a bit naive but we have never had a tenancy agreement - he was supposed to meet us at the property with the tenancy agreement on the day we moved in but ended up leaving the key under the door mat and messaging us to say he'd bring the tenancy agreement round, but never did. We also paid our deposit to him in cash, didn't get a receipt and it hasn't been paid into any deposit scheme 😭

We have a rabbit and a dog, who moved in with us and the guy we rented from was aware of - the co owners have said that animals are not allowed in any of their rental properties and they would like us to sign new tenancies agreeing to the no animal policy. They also want us to pay another deposit and say we will have to sort out the previous deposit with the other guy.

Aibu to think that they can't expect us to pay another deposit and that as co owners they are just as liable for the other deposit as the other guy??

Also, where do we stand with regards to the animals?

OP’s posts: |
LadyFeliciaMontague Mon 08-Jun-20 21:02:28

Bumping in case anyone can help.

In your shoes I wouldn’t sign anything until I’d had advice, try the citizens advice bureau.

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/contact-us/
england.shelter.org.uk/get_help/local_services

LadyFeliciaMontague Mon 08-Jun-20 21:03:38

And maybe speak to the people in the other flats to see if they are in the same situation.

Racoonworld Mon 08-Jun-20 21:07:08

If you have no rental agreement, paid the deposit in cash and no deposit protection scheme, do you have any evidence that you actually paid the deposit? If not, this should be your first priority to sort out

DipseeDaisey Mon 08-Jun-20 21:11:30

Are you sure these people are definitely Co owners and not just some people trying it on?
I definitely wouldn't sign anything new, or be paying an extra deposit. Their argument/dispute is with the other land lord, not with you. Seek legal advice and go from there. Good luck.

VenetoResident Mon 08-Jun-20 21:12:16

Is the flat leasehold or freehold?

We have a leasehold flat. We pay ground rent biannually.

We pay a charge to the landowner for permission to let our flat. They want copies of our rental agreements.

Maybe worth seeing if that's the case for yours?

Also we have to have permission to let from our bank for the mortgage. Have they got this?

I'm sure that you are owed a big chunk of money if your landlord doesn't deposit your deposit in a protection scheme. But I don't know where you stand without a tenancy agreement.

Is it a new flat? Does it meet regulations? There are so many requirements for landlords now. That's why we go via an agency.

VenetoResident Mon 08-Jun-20 21:13:21

Our leasehold agreement says no pets.

Pipandmum Mon 08-Jun-20 21:17:56

Definitely speak to the other tenants. And did these people show you any proof of what they were saying? You must get professional advice on this.

Warpdrive Mon 08-Jun-20 21:46:36

You need to ask these new owners for evidence the property belongs to them. It sounds suspicious to me.

If I co-owned a property which had a rent paying tenant, I wouldn't wait 2.5 years before introducing myself to the tenant! I'd be knocking on straight away, showing the tenant my ownership rights and asking for the tent to be paid direct to me.

kubex13 Mon 08-Jun-20 21:48:01

Our landlords own the freehold.

The tenants in the other flats all paid a cash deposit and no one has a receipt, we're all in the same boat in that respect.

Same with the pets for some too.

The co owners are saying that because the guy we rented from is the one that was managing the property at the time we rented, it is him that we need to sort out our deposits with.

Surely this can't be correct - regardless of who we dealt with, if there are 3 owners of the property, all of them should be equally liable, right?

OP’s posts: |
Crunchymum Mon 08-Jun-20 21:55:08

Tenancy agreements work both ways I'm afraid and without one, or any proof of your deposit, I doubt you'll see that moneyagain.

How do you pay rent?

Even when I lived in the most dodgy of sublets (never met the owner, paid in cash to some scary lady who would turn up as and when.... thankfully I always kept the correct rent to hand ) I was given a tenancy agreement - albeit one just a standard template from the internet.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 08-Jun-20 21:56:17

This is what I'd do.

Don't pay another penny to anyone

Save all your rent and move out when you have enough for somewhere else

You have no rental agreement - by the time anyone evicts you, you will have enough to move out

Either of them could be lying. Contact Shelter.

But right now you can't continue to pay without an agreement.

I would say that you will get 3 times your deposit back as he hadn't put it in a rental scheme but if there's no money you can't get blood out of a stone and even if you're right legally it could take months/years to get it - you might as well save your rent money and move

^^ I would never normally say don't pay your rent but you'd be mad to pay rent AND a deposit without any guarantee you'll get it back

happinessischocolate Mon 08-Jun-20 21:56:31

The co owners are saying that because the guy we rented from is the one that was managing the property at the time we rented, it is him that we need to sort out our deposits with.

And I'd agree with them and therefore there is no reason to pay them a deposit too 🤷‍♀️

How much is the deposit in relation to the monthly rent? Ie if you move out could you just not pay the rent that month?

I'd tell them that I'll sign s new tenancy when the previous! Landlord gives me notice to leave and my deposit back

Go to citizens advice, the situation with them knocking on the door is ridiculous

LaurieFairyCake Mon 08-Jun-20 21:57:34

You certainly shouldn't pay the deposit TWICE

For all you know it's a racket hmm

happinessischocolate Mon 08-Jun-20 22:00:38

Actually I agree with @LaurieFairyCake

Start looking for somewhere else and stop paying the rent, at very least until the matter of who you should LEGALLY pay the rent to is resolved.

BakedCam Mon 08-Jun-20 22:04:23

I'd call Shelter legal line for advice here, OP. You have a strong case as your deposit is not in a tenancy deposit scheme. The fact you have no tenancy agreement is the least of your worries. The fact you have been paying rent suggests you have a contract which will be an assured short hold tenancy and will be treated as such.

I'd say to the co owners that you're taking legal advice. If they are in a legal dispute with their co owner, that is not your problem. Their relationship is not yours as a tenant problem. If, they become the sole owners, then they should issue new tenancy agreements and only then. You should also launch a legal action regarding the deposit. Shelter will assist you with this.

BakedCam Mon 08-Jun-20 22:06:24

Lauriecakes is right. Just seen her post. Keep the rent aside until this is resolved and get everything in writing. Call Shelter tomorrow.

SnackSizeRaisin Mon 08-Jun-20 22:30:09

You need proper advice. As far as I'm aware though, if you have paid rent in good faith, it is not your problem if the person pretending to be the sole owner has been lying. You can stay until a court evicts you. Definitely don't pay any more money to anyone - you probably won't get the deposit back but maybe you can save a couple of months rent (or more) to cover it. Don't engage with these new people at all - your agreement (even if only verbal) is with the original 'landlord'.

kubex13 Mon 08-Jun-20 22:49:28

I'm not too worried about the lack of a tenancy agreement as we have paid rent every month via bank transfer - and I have been advised that this is enough to prove that a contract is in place, albeit a non written contract.

The account we pay rent in to is a joint account owned by the 3 owners, they've shown us statements. There's no reason to doubt what they say.

I can't prove the deposit was paid, although I withdrew the amount from the bank so there's a record of the withdrawal. The deposit is 1.5 months rent.

OP’s posts: |
kubex13 Mon 08-Jun-20 22:52:27

I forgot to add that as crazy as it sounds, we really don't want to move! The location is perfect and we're saving for a mortgage, so we'd love to stay out until that's possible

OP’s posts: |
LakieLady Mon 08-Jun-20 23:15:27

Definitely contact Shelter, and advise your neighbours to do the same. There are some circumstances where a secure tenancy can be accidentally created, and this could be one of them. You've been paying rent to these three people, and there's no agreement to say that it's not a secure tenancy, iyswim,

This is really a dispute between the 2 owners and the 3rd owner, the one you paid the deposit too. Imo the owners should be getting on his case, not the tenants'.

Ring Shelter and sit tight, and don't part with any more deposit money.

springdale1 Tue 09-Jun-20 00:49:28

Definitely don’t pay a new deposit or sign a new agreement.

By moving in and paying rent you have created a tenancy that falls back on a model agreement with obligations for both the landlord (i.e safety checks, repairing obligations) and the tenant. Without an agreement in place the only way to end the tenancy is through a court order.

It’s also important to consider whether you were given a gas safety certificate or EPC when you moved in. If they didn’t issue you with these they cannot apply for eviction.

In terms of your deposit, did they issue you with a Deposit Certificate? If not they cannot with hope your deposit for any reason and through a simple process you can apply for three times the deposit in compensation. This is claimed from the owners as opposed to the letting agent.

Shelter will give you great advice and can check whether your deposit is protected. I’m quite certain without a written tenancy agreement the landlords can’t withhold any of your deposit for any reason.

SiaPR Tue 09-Jun-20 01:03:54

I would not stop paying rent because your proof that you have been paying rent ensures you are covered by statutory legal rights even without a written tenancy agreement. Therefore you do not have to pay a new deposit, and should not under any circumstances. The landlords also need to serve you a section 21 notice of possession to get you to leave. The issue of the existing deposit is difficult because whoever you gave the deposit to can just deny you gave a deposit. Can you prove it?

Pixxie7 Tue 09-Jun-20 01:30:30

You need legal advice, it sounds as if your landlord may well have broken the law.

FortunesFave Tue 09-Jun-20 02:06:16

Did they offer you proof of this? They could be anyone! I could knock on any door and say the bloody same thing!

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