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Landlord requesting (insisting) on surrender of tenancy (sorry, long)

(25 Posts)
Arkengarthdale Wed 20-Jan-16 16:21:37

I took on a property recently so I could move in with my father who is ill and needs care. We applied for a joint tenancy as I needed him to be resident in the town for access to social services and health care, but the agent put the tenancy in my sole name as it was easier for them. However my father is an authorised occupant.

I've ended up not being able to get a job local to the property as I am currently off sick myself and too ill to work, so I have only been at the property part time whilst I'm back and forth to the hospital with appointments every week. Care has been provided for my dad by social care four times a day, seven days a week.

The neighbours have complained to the landlord about my father's sometimes erratic behaviour (he has Alzheimer's) and the landlord has told the letting agent to get us out because I am in breach of tenancy by not living there full time. They have so far failed to put the reasons for the 'request' to surrender the tenancy in writing despite numerous requests from me.

The neighbours have also reported various inaccuracies such as damage to the property, the property being insecure (none of which are true). They have also taken post off my father and sent it on to the landlord when my father asked them for help with understanding it. The agency say he is in arrears of council tax (from the letters) which is also not true.

The agent tells me I am liable for the re-letting fees and also all the rent and utilities until such time that the property is re-let. I have protested against this and have finally got an email saying if we move out by the end of the month they won't charge any further rent or fees, but I trust them not one whit after all the problems.

I am worried they will retain the deposit or somehow charge me for rent for leaving before the end of the 6 month tenancy (although it is at their request). The deposit is in a proper scheme. and we have always paid rent bang on time.

It is such a toxic and unsafe environment for my poor old father with neighbours reporting all sorts of nonsense so I am very keen to get him out of the property and safe, but will I have any recourse if the agent plays up and keeps the deposit? I will have the property professionally cleaned although I've only been there a couple of months.

Any advice very gratefully received! And thanks in advance if you've read this far.

specialsubject Wed 20-Jan-16 16:54:48

first, look at the tenancy. The general concept is a 'tenant-like' manner which means not leaving the property unoccupied for long periods - but it doesn't sound like you are doing that. So you aren't breaching.

second; 'they' don't get to just keep the deposit. As they've protected it you have the dispute resolution scheme at your disposal.

third; the agent and landlord have no right of access to the property without notice and tenant permission. So what are they doing in there taking post from your father?

you hold all the cards and have done nothing wrong. If you do want to go early, tell them that you want a written and binding agreement of surrender, which defines liability for rent up to an agreed time.

you cannot be evicted until at least six months in, even if you have breached - which you haven't.

you're in charge.

Arkengarthdale Wed 20-Jan-16 17:15:41

Thanks very much, specialsubject. I argued about being in breach as there is nothing in the tenancy agreement about me actually living there, just not to leave the property unoccupied for more than 14 days without authorisation. My dad has been there every day.

Dad took post round to the neighbours to ask for their help in how to deal with it (he has Alzheimer's - it was addressed to me but he forgets I now have a married name which is no longer the same as his) The nasty neighbours took it off him and sent it to the landlord who then sent it to the letting agent.

I think they could possibly get me on not causing a nuisance or allowing a nuisance to be caused, but I could also get them on the 'quiet enjoyment' part - who wants to live next to people who report your every move?

I shall call them on their discrimination and underhand ways.

specialsubject Wed 20-Jan-16 17:53:56

this is awful. And isn't it illegal to open someone else's post? Those neighbours are disgusting. Apologies - I misread your OP.

you don't have comeback against them, but you do against the landlord with whom you've got a contract.

forget discrimination or anything else - no need. You've done nothing wrong and can stay right where you are. Clearly the landlord wants you out. If you want to go, fine - but on your terms. He's signed a binding agreement for you to be there for six months. He can't evict you before then, any judge will laugh in his face.

damage can only be proved against an inventory (is there one?).

as I said, you're in charge. Tell them that, tell them what you want to happen and make sure you get a binding agreement.

or just stay...

DoreenLethal Wed 20-Jan-16 17:57:14

I think you need to speak to Shelter.

Arkengarthdale Wed 20-Jan-16 21:34:55

Thanks again for input. There is a detailed inventory and photographic evidence of grubby/stained bits when we moved in but I'm afraid I'm rather expecting the letting agent to cut up rough. They have been so unpleasant. And we haven't done anything wrong! I don't want my poor old dad to have to put up with any more so the sooner we are out the better. Thanks for responses, and I will speak to Shelter tomorrow, I hadn't thought of them.

BubbleLight Wed 20-Jan-16 21:44:21

Your local council may well have a team who can give you advice and also speak to the landlord to remind them of the proper legislation to end a tenancy properly. Might be worth a quick call in the morning.

specialsubject Wed 20-Jan-16 22:12:28

make sure you are informed about the dispute procedure for your deposit scheme.

'cutting up rough' is not a valid reason for a deduction. If by any chance the agent are a member of ARLA, report them for what it is worth.

Arkengarthdale Wed 20-Jan-16 22:53:12

Great advice again, thank you. I want to make a formal complaint and have told the owner of the agency I will be doing this. Like they're bovvered!

specialsubject Thu 21-Jan-16 09:59:44

exactly, they won't care. Save your energy for ensuring you get your legal rights and your deposit back.

RB68 Thu 21-Jan-16 10:15:35

I think you might want to investigate bullying and harassment of a vulnerable person ie your Dad who is an authorised resident. I would say you definitely need some sort of legal advice and would suggest shelter or failing that CAB

whataboutbob Thu 21-Jan-16 21:11:05

As the daughter of a man with Alzheimers I think this is disgusting. At least most of my Dad's neighbours either ignored him or were helpful. I am sorry you are going through this.
Just wondering what the landlord's anxieties are? Does you father's illness make any legal difference eg it would be harder for him to regain possession.And (separate question) if he is expelling you then does that mean you have a case to be rehoused by the council (or more likely your Dad, who is a vulnerable adult?). I hope others will come along with some answers.

Arkengarthdale Thu 21-Jan-16 23:10:43

Thanks again for further replies. I tried so hard to persuade the agency to put the request for surrender of tenancy in writing so I could 'prove' to the council that dad had to move out but the agency just didn't do it. However, he's gone into respite care (hurrah!) and the chances are he will stay there. If not, as the rented property will no longer be available, the council will rehouse him. So it suits me to cut the tenancy short, I'm just worried that they'll stiff me for the rest of the rental and keep my deposit. They did say I was liable for the fees for re-letting the property but they appear to have backed down on that. Thanks to replies on here, I'm much more clued up and confident of my position. Thanks to all who responded

Arkengarthdale Thu 21-Jan-16 23:17:03

Oh, and it was the neighbours who complained about dad's behaviour so the landlord wanted us out because it's too horrid living near a vulnerable adult, isn't it? They complained about him wandering and having to be returned to his house by various people, overlooking the fact that that's why he lives in a village where people know him and know where to return him to when found wandering. I don't want my elderly and vulnerable parent living next to callous and whingeing people reporting his every move. I will speak to Shelter and the CAB and also the police about the taking of mail and sending it on issue.

Cel982 Fri 22-Jan-16 07:32:26

Sounds like an awful environment for your poor Dad, glad you've got respite care sorted. Just about the post issue specifically, is it possible that they didn't recognise your name either and were trying to be helpful? I.e. your Dad said "I don't know who this is for" and they said "Oh, it must be a previous tenant - we'll send it back to the agent for you." It just seems an unlikely thing to do maliciously.

Arkengarthdale Fri 22-Jan-16 09:56:58

Good point about the post Cel. Hadn't thought about it that way.

Just spoken to the social worker and am told the agent has been phoning them trying to find out where and when dad is moving and is the respite going to be permanent shock

whataboutbob Fri 22-Jan-16 13:43:46

As special subject said you hold the cards, a county court judge wold take a dim view of a landlord trying to expel a vulnerable adult even if you did stop paying rent. Legally they have to issue a section 21 which is time consuming and costly as it involves the courts. If you move out voluntarily that is best case scenario for them. I would advise keeping a notebook and recording all dealings with landlord/ agents with time dates, names of persons etc. Don't let them scare/ intimidate you and make you jump whenever they call. sounds like the social worker s on your side and disapproves of landlord's actions.

specialsubject Fri 22-Jan-16 14:38:49

glad your dad has a safe place, must be a huge stress buster.

ok - you signed a six month agreement which binds both you and the landlord. You can't be evicted before then; even if you were breaching the tenancy it takes longer than that. The only way to end it early is by mutual agreement. If either party refuses, that's it.

check your deposit protection info - and if that hasn't been given to you, they can't evict you at all. If the deposit isn't protected, no chance of deductions.

Arkengarthdale Mon 25-Jan-16 17:36:26

Ho hum. The latest is that they won't accept move out this weekend as I haven't given them 14 days notice! I have to wait until next week for handover. And pay utilities until they decide. Which is counter to the written agreement we had last week. What utter tw*ts

specialsubject Mon 25-Jan-16 17:40:16

so you had a written agreement, signed by both, to surrender at a certain date and they are now reneging on it?

is this landlord or agent?

is your deposit protected?

Arkengarthdale Tue 26-Jan-16 13:36:48

Hi specialsubject. The agent emailed me to tell me the landlord had 'kindly' agreed to release me from the tenancy at the end of the month with nothing more to pay, although the landlord is the one requesting I surrender the tenancy (through the agent). I emailed back after seeking advice (on here and from Shelter) and said ok, come and get the keys on Friday, and they said as I hadn't given them 14 days' notice, they wouldn't come until Monday and I would be liable for all charges until they had agreed the handover.

The deposit is protected. I'm engaging professional cleaners as I do not trust the agent to be fair and reasonable, even though we've only been there three months. I'm sorely tempted to stay in the property and just not pay the rent, which means I will forfeit the deposit but it's less than the remaining rent! But actually, all I want is to hand over the property and have done with it. It was my understanding that all the agent and landlord wanted was to have us out of the property, so I do not have a clue why they're behaving as they are.

If I deliver the keys to them on Friday am I within my rights to just walk away, with the house being empty and sparkling clean?

specialsubject Tue 26-Jan-16 13:54:20

last question first - no. you are contracted for six months and so is the landlord. Emails have no legal force, nothing is signed.

have you spoken to the LANDLORD? Not the crooked clowns in the agency who are making it up as they go along, but the person with whom you have the contract.

what a nightmare.

Arkengarthdale Tue 26-Jan-16 14:03:27

I don't have access to the landlord, it's a fully managed property so have to deal with the letting agent. They asked me to leave, I agreed, now they're arsing about. I understand about being in a contract, but I thought the agent and I had come to an agreement. I know it's only three more days but I am finding it really hard to deal with the animosity (I'm off sick and have been for months and will be for months to come yet). I have medical appointments in another part of the country on the day they want me to hand over the property to them.

I didn't know emails were not legal documents. I thought they were now with the prevalence of them. Thanks for that.

The removers have been paid and are in first thing tomorrow. If I keep the property on the agent will say I'm in breach of the agreement by leaving the property unoccupied - and they'd be right!

You're right about the nightmare.

specialsubject Tue 26-Jan-16 14:27:20

bollocks to that. You have a LEGAL RIGHT to your landlords contact details. DEMAND them from the agent.

get your stuff out as planned. Tell them you won't be there on the day they have arranged. You've got 14 days before you breach the tenancy by not being there. At that point the landlord can start the eviction process, which takes months and costs a lot.

so you really do hold all the cards and it would be much easier to let you go. Tell the agent that.

Arkengarthdale Tue 26-Jan-16 14:37:06

Thank you so much!

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