Any solicitors on here - problem with private landlord

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nyssa7

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Joined
Jan 16, 2020
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Bucks
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AMG GTS, Hyundai Ioniq 5 73 AWD, Elise S1; Ex owner of: CLA45 Shooting Brake, 2 x R129 500SL, 280GE
Looking for some advice in first instance, which may follow on to a need to engage

My son has had issues with his landlord in his Uni rental flat, Problems from day 1 include not being invited to the handover so no chance to agree condition of flat, multiple occasions of abuse, screaming, swearing by the landlord leading to my son’s insistence (he rents with his fiancée) the landlord only contacts them via the letting agency, despite the landlord living in the downstairs flat to their upstairs


the property was rented without a valid EPC certificate in place; my son notified the agency of this roughly a month after the tenancy had commenced. This document is also one which is required as part of the tenancy to be provided within 10 days of the tenancy commencing, along with being a legal requirement?

then deposit registration certificate was provided to him on 18th October 2019. The deposit was paid on 26th July, and confirmation was emailed to state this later that same day. The certificate states that this was received on the 1st August. Along with being a legal requirement to register the deposit within 30 days of receiving it, or within 30 days of the tenancy agreement commencing (whichever is first) it is also stipulated in the tenancy agreement that this must be provided within 10 days of the tenancy agreement commencing. It is a common law principle, backed up by Section 212(9) of the Housing Act 2004, that the acts and omissions of the agent are treated as the acts and omissions of the landlady, and as such is still legally the landlady’s responsibility?

Due to Covid closing down the Uni, my son and fiancee moved out a week before lockdown and have been at the fiancee’s parents’ ever since - admittedly breaching the contract terms as the flat has been unoccupied for >30 days, save for monthly visits to check on the place. No comment was received from the landlord regarding this until this week, in response to the latest issue

my son asked if they could be released early from the contract, it’s a fixed term 12 month deal, should the landlord be able to find a new tenant. We were not particularly hopeful of this, but if you don’t ask..... Last Wednesday the letting agent received a request to allow a viewing on the Thursday, my son granted this request with the proviso that nothing of their property would be touched. Shortly after, he added that he wanted the viewer and landlord to wear PPE (mask and gloves) and that I would be present to provide them, they were also requested not to enter the flat without me. Not sure of the legal position her, but obviously at the moment we cannot even invite our friends into our houses

Tha landlord was told I would be in attendance for 5:00, in the event I arrived (50 mile journey each way) at 16:30. I have not previously met the landlord

on arrival either a person was standing in the gateway access to the flat, another smartly dressed person was talking to them from the pavement. The conversation went:
Me: are you here for the viewing?
Landlord: No. Are you
Me: I’m upstairs
LL: No you’re not
Me: OK, I’m upstairs‘ father. I’m guessing you are downstairs
LL: yes
Me: could you have saved some time by saying that in the first place?
LL: you could be anyone
Me: of course, some random person walking along the street think that viewing a place might be fun

so that kind of set the tone, which immediately went worse

LL: anyway, it doesn’t matter, we’ve already been in and completed the viewing
Me: then you are in deep shit, you’ve been specifically requested to wait for me and wear the PPE I have brought
LL: I’ve received no such request

at this point I walked back to my car and phoned my son - he already knew, he has cctv in his flat linked to his phone so knew the second they arrived upstairs. Turns out the viewing was actually another letting agent, even though he was told it was a viewer. She proceeded to “slag” off the tenants while viewing the flat, until the chap spotted the cameras and conversaction ended, needless to say we have this recorded

my son asked me to return to check the LL had properly locked the door, and video doing so - the treatment that they have had over the past 10 months have left him paranoid. I went back and did so

as I was leaving the flat, her son came out walking strongly towards me saying ‘`don’t talk to my mother like that”, I felt menaced, I am old and he was big, so told him to go away while walking backwards to maintain the 2m distancing. He kept coming forwards. I kept going backwards telling him to go away and took out my camera to record him

the LL came back out and started shoutI got at me. I told her she had already broken a number of rules and made contract breaches. She started off like Piers Morgan jumping on me verbally with no chance to respond - what rules, there are no rules. You have no proof
Me: for starters there was the certificate....LL: what Certificate, you don’t even know what certificate, etc etc

realising I was wasting my time, I went back to my car, her son was following despite my constant telling him to go away. I was still holding up the phone as I had been all through this second visit. He was still approaching as I got into my car so finally, as he wouldn’t go away and I was feeling threatened, I told him to F**k off and got in my car

next day she has the audacity to write to the agent complaining: (produced below as sent with all errors )
  1. Threatening and abusive behaviour is never acceptable - if it happens again I will report it to the police
  2. From our communications about the access the property and the response wording was the I was ok to access the property - I clearly used the wording 'I will be accessing the property' and there was no indication that I shouldn't or that someone else
  3. All certificates necessary safety certificates where in place at the start of the tenancy and are still valid
  4. Remind the tenants that the property has been empty since March and that part of the terms of the tenancy are that they shouldn't leave the property empty for more than 30 days
  5. I was prepared to try and find another tenant to release them from the contract early however given the events of today I do not wish to put myself of any member of my family through such distress again, so will simply wait for them to vacate in August before starting a new search

the number of times she has screamed and shouted at my son’s fiancée and even her mother (when visiting) in the past doesn’t bear thinking about, we have them all documented of course. I have the email from the letting agent detailing my son’s wishes re the viewing. We can prove that all certificates were not in place and were only finally put in place when my son insisted. Point 4 is valid, but unless she wants to throw them out.......
we are at a loss what to do next, we won’t be going back other than to collect the furniture at some point, and would prefer not to be abused while doing so. I don’t particularly care whether we have to pay the rent to end of tenancy, it was my son that suggested they ask to leave early. But at the same time, I am not happy at the tirade of abuse and breaches there have been while they have stayed there - the main reason they moved back to the “in-laws” was to avoid this kind of stress in the run up to exams

obviously if there is any legal recourse it would be useful to know. I have suggested simply not paying for the final three months, the agency has already confirmed that next’s year’s property/landlord/letting agent would go to them for a reference, not the landlord. And the agency have breached enough themselves to know that my son could complain to their official body if he so wished. Or can she just do what she wants as she has repeatedly stated? Do tenants really have so little protection?

sorry for long rant, but at least now you can see the issue and the level of understanding that would be required to offer appropriate legal advice and maybe act going forwards

thanks in advance


 
Speak to a solicitor? As a car forum, it's not the best place to obtain legal advice?
 
Speak to a solicitor?
^ This.

One observation I'd make is that two wrongs don't cancel each other out - and that applies equally to the landlord and to your son. Bringing up potential breaches of letting law by the landlord only after your son has breached the rental contract by being absent from the property and has subsequently asked for early release from the contract would, I suggest, raise suspicions in anyone required to adjudicate. That doesn't mean your son has no case, but when taking a non-partisan view, the alleged breaches by the landlord may look "convenient".

Having said that, I'm just a bloke on t'internet: you need to consult a solicitor who specialises in lettings matters.
 
Appreciate the responses, not every solicitor is an expert in every field. Thought it a fair bet that someone on a Mercedes forum might be one, or point me at a colleague

not going to get into a massive argument on rights and wrongs but breaches have been in place from day 1, actually day -1 and multiple previous complaints made with no successful outcome
 
My gut feeling? As long as you can reach a financial settlement that you are happy with, and you do not end-up out-of-pocket, put a lid on this one. It is really not worth your time. Ultimately you are trying to have some sort of justice for the aggravation you have experienced, but life don't work this way - this route will only get you more aggravation (even if there's some sort of moral victory at the end - and there might not be one). Whatever humiliation you feel that you or your son may have experinced - it's just not worth trying to 'right' this one.
 
Hi,
As suggested above - I would not bother getting a solicitor involved in this instance.
You just need to vacate the place and get all possessions out of it.
i would be inclined to withhold any rent equivalent to the deposit the landlord has - as you are unlikely to get that back.
Then move on!
cheers
steve
 
Sounds like a mess from both sides if I’m being honest and adding a solicitor to the mix will merely ramp up the dial and the costs. If I was reading this from afar I’d not be too happy with the son leaving his frail old dad to deal with (what certainly seems to be) a belligerent landlord either.

Cut the deal as neatly as your son and his fiancée can and then move on.
 
If you have extremely deep pockets, you can spend a fortune having representation but I guarantee, I guarantee the outcome will not be guaranteed. You run the risk of spending a fortune and just getting angrier but on tyhe other-hand, you MIGHt win your case. Either way your money will end up in the bank account of your 'friendly' lawyer :(
 
Citizens' Advice Bureau might be a good place to start.

NJSS
 
The problem was back in June , it’s all over one way or another
 

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