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Pippa

Rent Rebate Witheld - Expatriate Landlord

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Our landlords have treated us in the most disgusting way, the situation being that in short:

we gave 2 months' notice as we we moving,

they sold in less than 1 month, we'd gone already and are now due a rent rebate for part of that last month.

The agency has paid £200 of the £473 due out of the landlords' account but the landlords won't cough up the rest. We want now to make a small court claim but the sticking point is that they're in Canada with no ties to the UK anymore; are we going to have to kiss goodbye to our money or is there any way to retrieve it? We'd really appreciate any advice as we're just so livid over the whole situation.

Edited by Pippa

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I can't think of a way to retrieve it. But....I am curious, you say you were already gone. Can you give us more details? Sounds to me as if you moved out before your notice expired, in which case you wouldn't be entitled to anything...

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I can't think of a way to retrieve it. But....I am curious, you say you were already gone. Can you give us more details? Sounds to me as if you moved out before your notice expired, in which case you wouldn't be entitled to anything...

Hey it's a long story, I hope you're not too busy!

We bought a house (I know, I know but there you go), and given the huge uncertainty involved in moving, didn't want to give notice until the last minute; not least of which because we had 4 cats and if we'd got it wrong and needed to find temporary accomodation it would have been a nightmare. So, we gave our 2 months' notice on 11th July in the hope that they'd find tenants soon-ish and we'd hopefully be let off a portion of rent. We messed up because our 'rental month' started on the 10th, and the landlords' response was two-fold; they said our notice didn't become effective until August, therefore our last day would be 10th October, and then that they were selling and there'd be an estate agent and some potential buyers coming round in two days' time.

Our response was that if our two months' notice hadn't started, we weren't legally obliged to show buyers round, at which point the letting agent pointed out that you can't exchange while there are tenants in the property and that it would behove us to assist, help them get a quick sale and hence be let off any remainder of rent. We obliged, were the perfect hosts on two occasions to the potential buyers and the sale was agreed.

From the point of the offer, we heard nothing from the letting agent; in fact, they were calling us to try and find out when exchange was likely, completion etc. I was in contact the estate agents, who were actually very helpful and kept us informed the whole way along. Bizarre really as they weren't obliged to tell us anything - but we really appreciated it, made a pleasant change. We moved out of the property on 30th July, but held the keys on the agreement that we'd clean up, have the inventory and officially 'hand over' just prior to exchange. Finally the exchange happened on the 23rd August, we heard on the 24th from the estate agents, and the completion was the 25th. So no time for an inventory, we had to pass our keys directly to the new owners, and I gather the letting agents weren't too impressed at being kept completely out of the loop!

Anyway, as we'd paid our advance month's rent on the 10th August, and hence needed our deposit (which we received promptly in full, having had no inventory so no chance of anything being docked!), and the rent rebate, for the period from exchange on 23rd August to 9th September. This was never disputed by the agents, they paid £200 from the landlords' account with them, and informed them to pay us the rest. They have been unable to contact the landlords since though.....but I'm told are still trying.....

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OK my reply will be a bit disjointed, and probably also not important points but I just want to clarify a few things as well :)

- You are not at ANY point obliged to show people round, whether within your two month notice period or not.

- From the sound of it, you were in a periodic tenancy. In which case, you only needed to give one months notice anyway. Can you tell us the original start date of your tenancy, and the duration of the fixed term?

- I have heard this quite a bit recently, that letting agents are saying contracts cannot be exchanged until the property is vacant. This is completely untrue.

So let me get this right...you SHOULD due to your notice have been in the property until 10th October, but you moved out on the 23rd August(effectively). Therefore you are wanting rent back from the period 23rd August until 10th October, but you have only received rent back 23rd August until 9th September, leaving 1 months rent owed. Am I right?

There is one issue here, other than the obvious fact that you will really struggle to claim it from them if they are abroad. Did you get in writing confirmation that it was ok to leave on the 23rd August? I realise that this is exactly what they wanted in the end, but did you get it in writing?

*EDIT* two quick thoughts. First of all, do you know if the landlord still has property/another address in the UK? And also the question about the start of your tenancy etc could well be more important than I first thought - if the letting agents have wrongly stated you have to give 2 months notice, you MAY(and I do mean may) have a claim against them, rather than the landlord.

Edited by MrShed

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Our landlords have treated us in the most disgusting way, the situation being that in short:

we gave 2 months' notice as we we moving,

they sold in less than 1 month, we'd gone already and are now due a rent rebate for part of that last month.

The agency has paid £200 of the £473 due out of the landlords' account but the landlords won't cough up the rest. We want now to make a small court claim but the sticking point is that they're in Canada with no ties to the UK anymore; are we going to have to kiss goodbye to our money or is there any way to retrieve it? We'd really appreciate any advice as we're just so livid over the whole situation.

Every expat landlord I know (its a lot in my multinational) is not paying UK tax while living overseas and more importantly not stating their UK earning in there present country. You really want to screw them then tell the Canadian tax authorities about their hidden UK earnings. In both the US and CANADA this is considered fraud by hiding/non declaring income.

Edited by whiterabbit

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OK my reply will be a bit disjointed, and probably also not important points but I just want to clarify a few things as well :)

- You are not at ANY point obliged to show people round, whether within your two month notice period or not.

- From the sound of it, you were in a periodic tenancy. In which case, you only needed to give one months notice anyway. Can you tell us the original start date of your tenancy, and the duration of the fixed term?

- I have heard this quite a bit recently, that letting agents are saying contracts cannot be exchanged until the property is vacant. This is completely untrue.

So let me get this right...you SHOULD due to your notice have been in the property until 10th October, but you moved out on the 23rd August(effectively). Therefore you are wanting rent back from the period 23rd August until 10th October, but you have only received rent back 23rd August until 9th September, leaving 1 months rent owed. Am I right?

There is one issue here, other than the obvious fact that you will really struggle to claim it from them if they are abroad. Did you get in writing confirmation that it was ok to leave on the 23rd August? I realise that this is exactly what they wanted in the end, but did you get it in writing?

*EDIT* two quick thoughts. First of all, do you know if the landlord still has property/another address in the UK? And also the question about the start of your tenancy etc could well be more important than I first thought - if the letting agents have wrongly stated you have to give 2 months notice, you MAY(and I do mean may) have a claim against them, rather than the landlord.

Ok, I've not been that clear then.

1) Tenancy started on 10th October 2005, and our fixed period was 6 months so we were well out of that.

2) The rent we're wanting back is the period 23rd August to 9th September, basically it was agreed that we wouldn't pay rent after the exchange point of exchange, but had already paid for the month up to 9th Sept on 10th August. Whether it's not the case that you are/aren't allowed to exchange with tenants in the property is irrelevant, the completion was 2 days later and would have been hard for the buyers to move in without us leaving first!!

3) Unfortunately the only writing was done on our part, we've only got the cheques from the agency with covering letters, there was nothing while we waited for exchange; not even a written acknowlegement of our original notice given.

There is a further development today, they finally got to speak to the landlords who say they paid us the refund electronically. They've asked us again to confirm we haven't had the money to which the response was that it may have been paid electronically, but not to our bank account! I can't believe they're claiming they paid having ignored all contact from the agency for a month (or the agency's lying about having chased them....who knows?!)

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Ok well in that case your big problem is going to be proving it. Even if you got to court, it would be fairly difficult to get a judgement, as you have no proof(should they deny it).

However, I would start taking the LA to task if they informed you you had to give 2 months notice, because you didn't. In the periodic part of the tenancy, one months notice is sufficient.

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  • 332 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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