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Deposit & Rent payments taken and then No Flat

Deposit & Rent payments taken and then No Flat

Postby paullanning » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:31 pm

My son a student at Kent University, has, through an agent rented a property in Canterbury. He has paid all the fees and rental payments in advance, because the land lord wanted a year long agreement he has being paying rent, through the agent for the last two months prior to occupying the property. This weekend the agent informed him that due to a change of circumstance with the landlord he would no longer be able to move in, unfortunately all arrangements had been made to move his stuff up to Canterbury, and we took him and his stuff to Canterbury on Sunday in the hope the agent would have sorted the situation out, he had not and my sons stuff needed to be put in to a secure storage unit and my son is sleeping on a sofa at a friends house. The agent is claiming that no tenancy agreement had been signed and they are just holding money, but I fail to see how after completion of the agent doing there paperwork and accepting payments of rent that they can argue there is no contract.
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Re: Deposit & Rent payments taken and then No Flat

Postby atticus » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:39 pm

Just get your son's money back. He doesn't need this guy as a landlord. There would be other problems down the line.

Get straight round to the university accommodation people. They maybe able to help.
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Re: Deposit & Rent payments taken and then No Flat

Postby diy » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:14 pm

You may be able to show a court that an assured short-hold tenancy existed and that the LL breached that contract. I guess a LL may ultimately be liable for any additional costs in securing a place, but its not going to be an easy claim. Priority is to get all the money back and somewhere to live, you may then give a letter before action bluff a go to see if the LL will pay some compensation.

Student Union may be able to help with accommodation and legal advice
My suggestions are not legal advice
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Re: Deposit & Rent payments taken and then No Flat

Postby dls » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:42 pm

The big thing is to get on with recovering teh situation with somewhere to live.

A contract for an interest in land _must_ be in writing, and frankly it is unlikely that your son has met the conditions. He may have, but would spend far too much energy and money chasing a mere possibility.

This has probably been an executory contract only (intended to begin, but never beginning), which cuts out several possibilities.

Never send a letter before action unless you intend to do what you promise.
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Re: Deposit & Rent payments taken and then No Flat

Postby paullanning » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:17 pm

I am at present gathering all the communications with the agent together to try and determine what the contractual position is. The agent currently holds about £6000 in deposit and rent payments to date. The agent is currently trying to source other accommodation, but in the mean time my son has his stuff in storage and is having to sleep on a sofa.
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Re: Deposit & Rent payments taken and then No Flat

Postby atticus » Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:39 pm

Get the money back. Can a place be found in one of the uni halls of residence or student flats? Better than sleeping on a floor.
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Re: Deposit & Rent payments taken and then No Flat

Postby dls » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:27 pm

I am at present gathering all the communications with the agent together to try and determine what the contractual position is.


Read the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) At 1989.

Whatever contract might exist otherwise one is very unlikely for the renting.
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Re: Deposit & Rent payments taken and then No Flat

Postby diy » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:25 am

Given the seriousness of this - I think it important to correct my mistake. I was not aware that oral contracts could not be formed for ASTs. The agent is probably better informed. Secondly its worth noting that deposits are usually unilateral binding only the depositor.

Universities are geared up for this and as others have said there is often the odd hall/flat available.
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Re: Deposit & Rent payments taken and then No Flat

Postby theycantdothat » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:29 am

diy wrote:Given the seriousness of this - I think it important to correct my mistake. I was not aware that oral contracts could not be formed for ASTs.


Actually they can. The general requirement that contracts for the sale or grant of an interest in land does not apply to "a contract to grant such a lease as is mentioned in section 54(2) of the Law of Property Act 1925 (short leases)" (Section 2(5) Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989). Section 54(2) of the Law of Property Act 1925 says: "Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Part of this Act shall affect the creation by parol of leases taking effect in possession for a term not exceeding three years (whether or not the lessee is given power to extend the term) at the best rent which can be reasonably obtained without taking a fine."

So, whether there is a contract in this case depends on who said what and in what order. Whilst not conclusive, accepting rent has to point to a contract.

diy wrote:The agent is probably better informed.


Don't bet more than a quarter of bullseyes on that.

diy wrote:Secondly its worth noting that deposits are usually unilateral binding only the depositor.


Unless you have something like an option, you cannot have a contract where only one side is bound. Contrary to what agents believe (or hope to persuade prospective tenants is the case) you cannot, except with some pretty sophisticated clear documentation drawn up by a chancery barrister and containing warnings in large red capitals, engineer a situation where the prospective tenant is bound and the landlord is not. There is in practice (if not in theory) no such thing as a non-refundable deposit. If it is not hooked up to a contract it is refundable. If it is hooked up to a contract then the contract binds both parties.
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Re: Deposit & Rent payments taken and then No Flat

Postby dls » Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:35 pm

the creation by parol of leases taking effect in possession for a term not exceeding three years


That was the wording I was looking for. The issue would be whether it took effect in possession. Since possession was never granted, it did not take effect, and no contract was in place?
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