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Advice On Dealing With Landlord Deceit

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I need some advice on dealing with my landlord, who is not only increasing my rent, but also trying to deceive me out of my deposit.

Just over 2 years ago, I took a tenancy of my current flat through a letting agent. I had paid 6weeks deposit and first month's rent on signing. After signing the lease, the agent was quick to point out that they were not responsible for sorting out any problems with my flat; most importantly, putting my deposit into a deposit scheme. The landlord never gave me any information on the deposit scheme, despite me asking for it repeatedly.

A year later, the AST came to an end, and at that time the landlord and I came to an agreement to keep the same arrangement for another year. Again, I asked for deposit scheme details, but nothing came from his end, nor was a signed AST. Apparently the LL was abroad, and never got to it -- from my end I continued existing rent assuming statutory periodic tenancy.

Now, the LL has decided to increase the rent (big time),originally opening at more than 100pw. He claimed that I was underpaying, and that he could get higher rent from the market by using an agent. Indeed, London rental prices have skyrocketed, but the initial offer was ridiculous! I did a lot of research, and looked at the market prices around my area, and finally was able to negotiate it down, but still, it's more than 20% increase.

I requested the LL send a new AST as well as the tenancy deposit scheme details. But when he sent it over, I noticed some big issues. In the new AST, it stated that my last month's rent would be used as the deposit for the new agreement -- my original 6 week deposit was being completely ignored! Furthermore, he noted on the AST that my deposit is "being held by the landlord with the Deposit Protection Service". (What does this mean?!) There was a reference number that I simply could not find on DPS.

I pointed out to him that I have all documentation of my original payment for 6week deposit, and I would not be able to sign the new ASTwithout clearing up situation with the deposit. He's come back saying that the agent had misguided him on the deposit payment, however, he still has not sent me anything about the deposit, and claims that I currently owe 2 month's increased rent (despite not having sent the new AST till now)

Clearly, he never put my deposit in a deposit scheme, and effectively admitted to that in writing, do I have a case? What are my possible options? I would prefer to avoid the hassle of moving, but the high price of rent has a huge effect on my budget / living costs.

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IANAL, but it might be worth consulting one.

Landlord failing to protect your deposit loses some of his rights against you. That might very well include any right to do anything if you decline his rent increase (whatever right he may or may not have if in full compliance with the law is another matter).

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What porca says.

Your LL is abroad, do you have a UK address at which you may serve notices, this should be detailed on your contract, if no stop paying rent, there's nothing they can do, without this address the law does not require you to pay rent and the LL can do nothing about it until you have been given notice of a uk address at which notices may be served. If they are going to be female genitalia then if you can treat them in kind, they won't know they have to supply one if you don't tell them until the court says they cannot evict.

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My advice (but IANAL!):

Don't stop paying your rent. In most situations it puts you in a legally worse position.

One thing that puts you in a VERY strong position is that without registering your deposit the landlord CANNOT give you notice. A section 21 is invalid if the deposit has not been registered (note he CAN still evict you for non payment of rent). This is bascially the only penalty a landord now gets from non-registration.

Use that to your advantage. Carry on paying the old rent until the situation is sorted. The longer he mucks you about, the longer he doesn't get more money. And he has no options (he'll probably threaten to give you notice so you'll have to educate him that he can't....)

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My advice (but IANAL!):

Don't stop paying your rent. In most situations it puts you in a legally worse position.

One thing that puts you in a VERY strong position is that without registering your deposit the landlord CANNOT give you notice. A section 21 is invalid if the deposit has not been registered (note he CAN still evict you for non payment of rent). This is bascially the only penalty a landord now gets from non-registration.

Use that to your advantage. Carry on paying the old rent until the situation is sorted. The longer he mucks you about, the longer he doesn't get more money. And he has no options (he'll probably threaten to give you notice so you'll have to educate him that he can't....)

My assertion that they could stop paying rent is in the specific circumstance that they have not been provided with an address at which notices may be served. The LL has no recourse in that specific case, written in to one of the acts that in the absence of a UK addy at which notices may be served then rent cannot be charged.

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My advice (but IANAL!):

Don't stop paying your rent. In most situations it puts you in a legally worse position.

One thing that puts you in a VERY strong position is that without registering your deposit the landlord CANNOT give you notice. A section 21 is invalid if the deposit has not been registered (note he CAN still evict you for non payment of rent). This is bascially the only penalty a landord now gets from non-registration.

Use that to your advantage. Carry on paying the old rent until the situation is sorted. The longer he mucks you about, the longer he doesn't get more money. And he has no options (he'll probably threaten to give you notice so you'll have to educate him that he can't....)

This is very good advice. You have successfully negotiated a new AST. Part of that is that the original deposit gets transferred to the new AST. How that is done is your landlords problem. Keep paying the old rent until you get a contract in your hands you are happy with.

This is very important, your LL will rant and rave but there is nothing he can do.

Once you have a contract in your hands, exactly what your LL has done with your deposit is a minor issue. You obviously don't want to lose it, but if your LL hasn't protected your deposit then it does actually put you in a much stronger position as explained above. If you pay your rent and are otherwise a good tenant, then then you cannot be evicted at the whim of your LL, and that is actually a great position to be in.

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My advice (but IANAL!):

Don't stop paying your rent. In most situations it puts you in a legally worse position.

One thing that puts you in a VERY strong position is that without registering your deposit the landlord CANNOT give you notice. A section 21 is invalid if the deposit has not been registered (note he CAN still evict you for non payment of rent). This is bascially the only penalty a landord now gets from non-registration.

Use that to your advantage. Carry on paying the old rent until the situation is sorted. The longer he mucks you about, the longer he doesn't get more money. And he has no options (he'll probably threaten to give you notice so you'll have to educate him that he can't....)

*************************************************

BUMP: Follow-Up By the Original Poster:

*************************************************

Thanks to all for the previous advice. Here are some new developments 8 months after the original post!

So I carried on paying the existing rent (as always, on time); I had explained that the new rent was not legally authorised to start until the deposit situation was sorted and new contract signed. It was radio silence from the LL for 8 months! However, just recently, the LL finally lodged the deposit with a protection scheme, and of course I verified this directly with the protection scheme (DPS). Cheekily, the deposit information shows the higher rent, which was never legally in effect! The LL shifted the blame on the managing agents (even though there are no managing agents - it's a let only).

Now the LL claims that I owe him for 11 months of underpaid rent, and demand that I start paying the higher rent. The LL is threatening me that solicitors will be instructed to commence legal proceedings against me to recover it as well as any costs! Unbelievable!

Well, I've pretty much had it with this LL - I want to stop dealing with such a dishonest LL altogether and move out, but I want to make sure that I also get my deposit back. Even though the LL has finally lodged the deposit, it doesn't excuse the LL of breaching the law since the beginning of tenancy. What is the best way to deal with this situation?

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*************************************************

BUMP: Follow-Up By the Original Poster:

*************************************************

Thanks to all for the previous advice. Here are some new developments 8 months after the original post!

So I carried on paying the existing rent (as always, on time); I had explained that the new rent was not legally authorised to start until the deposit situation was sorted and new contract signed. It was radio silence from the LL for 8 months! However, just recently, the LL finally lodged the deposit with a protection scheme, and of course I verified this directly with the protection scheme (DPS). Cheekily, the deposit information shows the higher rent, which was never legally in effect! The LL shifted the blame on the managing agents (even though there are no managing agents - it's a let only).

Now the LL claims that I owe him for 11 months of underpaid rent, and demand that I start paying the higher rent. The LL is threatening me that solicitors will be instructed to commence legal proceedings against me to recover it as well as any costs! Unbelievable!

Well, I've pretty much had it with this LL - I want to stop dealing with such a dishonest LL altogether and move out, but I want to make sure that I also get my deposit back. Even though the LL has finally lodged the deposit, it doesn't excuse the LL of breaching the law since the beginning of tenancy. What is the best way to deal with this situation?

Just to point out that I had written confirmation by all three government deposit schemes that no deposit had previously been protected under that address. If this goes to court, certainly this can be used as evidence.

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You should have not bothered to pay the rent, without the deposit protected he could not serve notice and

48 Notification by landlord of address for service of notices.

(1)A landlord of premises to which this Part applies shall by notice furnish the tenant with an address in England and Wales at which notices (including notices in proceedings) may be served on him by the tenant.

(2)Where a landlord of any such premises fails to comply with subsection (1), any rent or service charge otherwise due from the tenant to the landlord shall (subject to subsection (3)) be treated for all purposes as not being due from the tenant to the landlord at any time before the landlord does comply with that subsection.

(3)Any such rent or service charge shall not be so treated in relation to any time when, by virtue of an order of any court, there is in force an appointment of a receiver or manager whose functions include the receiving of rent or (as the case may be) service charges from the tenant.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/50/contents my bold obviously

you have to pay it eventually when an address is supplied but it could have been earning interest for you in the meantime.

As for your current situ, there's a sticky on the DPS stuff, the law was recently (well not so recent now) changed to stop the LL having a get out of jail card. They used to be able to protect late up to the court case but now cannot do that. Check the dates of legislation changes to see if he protected in time and consult a solicitor.

The LL can increase the rent whether you agree or not but there is a specif form of words required, never had the bother myself so read up on that here I'm presuming you never signed a new ast with the rent increase included.

Edited by zebbedee

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You should have not bothered to pay the rent, without the deposit protected he could not serve notice and

48 Notification by landlord of address for service of notices.

(1)A landlord of premises to which this Part applies shall by notice furnish the tenant with an address in England and Wales at which notices (including notices in proceedings) may be served on him by the tenant.

(2)Where a landlord of any such premises fails to comply with subsection (1), any rent or service charge otherwise due from the tenant to the landlord shall (subject to subsection (3)) be treated for all purposes as not being due from the tenant to the landlord at any time before the landlord does comply with that subsection.

(3)Any such rent or service charge shall not be so treated in relation to any time when, by virtue of an order of any court, there is in force an appointment of a receiver or manager whose functions include the receiving of rent or (as the case may be) service charges from the tenant.

http://www.legislati...988/50/contents my bold obviously

you have to pay it eventually when an address is supplied but it could have been earning interest for you in the meantime.

As for your current situ, there's a sticky on the DPS stuff, the law was recently (well not so recent now) changed to stop the LL having a get out of jail card. They used to be able to protect late up to the court case but now cannot do that. Check the dates of legislation changes to see if he protected in time and consult a solicitor.

The LL can increase the rent whether you agree or not but there is a specif form of words required, never had the bother myself so read up on that here I'm presuming you never signed a new ast with the rent increase included.

Thx for that. You are correct, I never did sign a new ast with the rent increase included: because (1) the deposit the LL stated was lower the actual amount paid and (2) no deposit protection was provided at all.

I'm leaning towards just giving notice and stop paying the LL altogether - should I? I'm willing to move out because this is causing unnecessary stress. However, I will have to pay one more month's rent to serve notice? Will I be able recover my original deposit from DPS after the tenancy ends?

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Hey danswer:

IANAL but i take an interest when landlords try to screw over tenants so:

1) Did you agree (in writing or verbally) to the rent increase?

If not

2) Was the increase specified in your tenancy agreement?

If not

3) Did the landlord send you an official Section 13 Notice containing all the proscribed information?

If none of these are true then you don't have to pay the higher rent. The landlord will likely threaten to take you to court but if you stand your ground you'll win. The landlord can just kick you out though so bear that in mind. Sounds like the relationship has "irretrievably broken down" anyway to be honest.

Now for the good news:

Did the landlord protect the deposit before 6th May 2012? If not he's in trouble, you can take him to court and get between 1x and 3x your deposit back as a fine and theres nothing he can do to fix it. Check out the sticky

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Never had the hassle so had no idea what the 'prescribed form' is but this seems to sum it up

http://www.letlink.co.uk/letting-factsheets/factsheets/factsheet-13-procedure-for-increasing-rents-in-england-and-wales.html

http://www.letlink.co.uk/GeneralInfo/Section_13_2003/new_section_13_notices_Form_4b.htm

I doubt it would require the exact form of words there but would hazard a guess that the same information must be conveyed.

If you're going to go after the 1 to 3x deposit for non protection I'd continue to pay the rent until you have that in the bag-you've done so so far- and look good before the court. Kaladorms thread on deposit non protection was before the rules were tightened up and makes for an interesting read so if your LL did not protect in time he's ******ed and you could end up with a charging order on the house.

Edited by zebbedee

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Hey danswer:

IANAL but i take an interest when landlords try to screw over tenants so:

1) Did you agree (in writing or verbally) to the rent increase?

If not

2) Was the increase specified in your tenancy agreement?

If not

3) Did the landlord send you an official Section 13 Notice containing all the proscribed information?

If none of these are true then you don't have to pay the higher rent. The landlord will likely threaten to take you to court but if you stand your ground you'll win. The landlord can just kick you out though so bear that in mind. Sounds like the relationship has "irretrievably broken down" anyway to be honest.

Now for the good news:

Did the landlord protect the deposit before 6th May 2012? If not he's in trouble, you can take him to court and get between 1x and 3x your deposit back as a fine and theres nothing he can do to fix it. Check out the sticky

1) The rent was negotiated verbally, but was never formally agreed in writing. At the time of negotiation, the LL gave me the impression he had already registered the deposit with DPS, which I later confirmed was not the case

2) LL sent a new agreement with rent increase, but I would not sign this because, as mentioned earlier: (1) the deposit the LL stated was lower the actual amount paid and (2) no deposit protection was provided at all.

3) No section 13 was ever sent.

The LL only registered the deposit this past August (2012). Prior to that, I have in writing from all 3 government schemes that no deposit was EVER registered by the LL at this address.

It does sound like it has "irretrievably broken down". It's a shame because all this was motivated by greed by the LL. So the question is whether I wait for him to serve notice or I preempt and hand notice first, whilst finding a new flat to move.

I can see the court process being lengthy and tedious - is it worth the effort to get back at the LL? Honestly, I just don't want to deal with this shady LL anymore.

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1) The rent was negotiated verbally, but was never formally agreed in writing. At the time of negotiation, the LL gave me the impression he had already registered the deposit with DPS, which I later confirmed was not the case

Doesn't have to be in writing, it's just harder for him to prove if it's verbal. I suppose the legal question is did you agree to the rent increase, or did you agree to the rent increase with provisos that weren't met. Seeing as you NEVER paid the rent increase it would be extremely hard for him to argue the former.

The LL only registered the deposit this past August (2012). Prior to that, I have in writing from all 3 government schemes that no deposit was EVER registered by the LL at this address.

I can see the court process being lengthy and tedious - is it worth the effort to get back at the LL? Honestly, I just don't want to deal with this shady LL anymore.

The fine money goes to you so i'd say yes it is worth it. It's just filling in one form and then a court date.

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Doesn't have to be in writing, it's just harder for him to prove if it's verbal. I suppose the legal question is did you agree to the rent increase, or did you agree to the rent increase with provisos that weren't met. Seeing as you NEVER paid the rent increase it would be extremely hard for him to argue the former.

The fine money goes to you so i'd say yes it is worth it. It's just filling in one form and then a court date.

The provisions were not met. The LL was supposed send me the deposit protection which he did not do, and the AST he tried to get me to sign not only had the wrong deposit amount (less than actual paid), but also had a "fake" DPS ID (this was confirmed with DPS).

Thx All - I'm certainly more confident in taking this court given people posting here have been successful. The question is the timing - should I do this after I have handed the LL the one-month notice? I don't want to give the LL any more rent. Can I then pursue my deposit and damages after the tenancy ends?

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The provisions were not met. The LL was supposed send me the deposit protection which he did not do, and the AST he tried to get me to sign not only had the wrong deposit amount (less than actual paid), but also had a "fake" DPS ID (this was confirmed with DPS).

Thx All - I'm certainly more confident in taking this court given people posting here have been successful. The question is the timing - should I do this after I have handed the LL the one-month notice? I don't want to give the LL any more rent. Can I then pursue my deposit and damages after the tenancy ends?

You can pursue it after I think, but the rent will eventually have to be paid, the landlord and tenant act allows for it not to be paid until an address has been received in writing but it then needs paying. Do you have an address in England or Wales for the LL. If you do then you can start proceedings now, if you do not then you'll need advice from someone else as notices can't? be served on an address abroad. Of course not paying the rent would be an encouragement for the LL to supply the address in England and Wales which you could then use for the deposit case.

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I don't want to give the LL any more rent. Can I then pursue my deposit and damages after the tenancy ends?

Yes (pretty pointless if you couldn't)

However i'd pay the last months rent rather than withholding it. Not paying the rent changes the situations to one where the landlord's done everything wrong, to one where you both have. I'd much rather go to court in the former situation (bear in mind the judge gets to decide whether it's 1x or 3x deposit based his opinion of the situation)

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Yes (pretty pointless if you couldn't)

However i'd pay the last months rent rather than withholding it. Not paying the rent changes the situations to one where the landlord's done everything wrong, to one where you both have. I'd much rather go to court in the former situation (bear in mind the judge gets to decide whether it's 1x or 3x deposit based his opinion of the situation)

LL is in the UK. Intention is to pay the last month's rent, move out and then try to get the deposit back. One question is whether the 1x or 3x deposit should be pursued before or after the tenancy ends (before I move out essentially)?

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One question is whether the 1x or 3x deposit should be pursued before or after the tenancy ends (before I move out essentially)?

Up to you. I'd wait till you move out as then he can't come round and argue with you. Once you've moved send him a letter demanding your deposit returned and also proof it was registered before May 2012.

If he returns it you can decide whether to leave it at that. Personally i'd still fill in the claim form and make him suffer the consequences for d1cking you about.

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Up to you. I'd wait till you move out as then he can't come round and argue with you. Once you've moved send him a letter demanding your deposit returned and also proof it was registered before May 2012.

Mightn't that be seen as evidence of tenant 'playing the game'?

Would not the truly innocent tenant simply ask for return of deposit, and only move to more aggressive questions (like proof of it being registered) if and when the landlord failed to return it in good faith, so it became clear protection was relevant?

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Mightn't that be seen as evidence of tenant 'playing the game'?

Would not the truly innocent tenant simply ask for return of deposit, and only move to more aggressive questions (like proof of it being registered) if and when the landlord failed to return it in good faith, so it became clear protection was relevant?

Doesn't matter if the tenant 'plays the game' or not, the law has been tightened up and is clear 'no protection, guilty and 1 to 3x deposit as compensation. It's meant as a punishment IMHO to deter LL 'playing the game'

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