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    • Pinktavia
    • By Pinktavia 19th Apr 17, 3:21 PM
    • 5Posts
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    Pinktavia
    Landlord claiming damages I did not cause
    • #1
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:21 PM
    Landlord claiming damages I did not cause 19th Apr 17 at 3:21 PM
    Hi all

    From May 2013 until February 2017 I was unofficially renting a house. When I was there I was also paying my landlord the water rates and council tax and he'd pay the bills.

    About 18 months ago the bailiffs started calling for unpaid council tax which I advised landlord about. When they eventually said they'd be back in a few weeks to take my stuff I moved out. Since then he has been back and forth my parents house demanding money for damages.

    Back in October 2015 the gas meter stopped working and although he kept promising to sort it he didn't. He now claims the boiler is broken because of this and wants payment to repair these. He wants money to replace the old mattress that was on the bed when I moved in, to repair damage a leak that I advised him of over two years ago has caused and lots more.
    The total bill is over £3600.

    I understand that renting off the books won't help my situation, but where do I stand legally? My parents want to pay him off (he said he'd accept £1500) but I've told him to take a hike and take me to court.

    Any questions feel free to ask

    Thanks in advance

    Pinktavia
Page 1
    • Arleen
    • By Arleen 19th Apr 17, 3:25 PM
    • 880 Posts
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    Arleen
    • #2
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:25 PM
    • #2
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:25 PM
    What "unofficially renting a house" means?
    • Pinktavia
    • By Pinktavia 19th Apr 17, 3:28 PM
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    Pinktavia
    • #3
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:28 PM
    • #3
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:28 PM
    I was paying cash in hand and he wasn't declaring it. I did want to make it official after a year, but he wouldn't do it. Basically I didn't have a contract

    P
    • Money maker
    • By Money maker 19th Apr 17, 3:31 PM
    • 4,781 Posts
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    Money maker
    • #4
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:31 PM
    • #4
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:31 PM
    Maybe not one in writing but a contract existed if you were paying him and he has responsibilities as a landlord that he may not want to admit to in court such as gas safety cert etc.
    Please do not quote spam as this enables it to 'live on' once the spam post is removed.

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    Declutterers of the world - unite!
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 19th Apr 17, 3:33 PM
    • 59,199 Posts
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    PasturesNew
    • #5
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:33 PM
    • #5
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:33 PM
    Let him take you to court .... £1 says he won't if he's doing it illegally... he'll just slink off.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 19th Apr 17, 3:34 PM
    • 40,128 Posts
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    G_M
    • #6
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:34 PM
    • #6
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:34 PM
    Hi all

    From May 2013 until February 2017 I was unofficially renting a house.
    Means what?

    If you paid rent, you were renting. You were a tenant. In what way 'unofficial'?

    When I was there I was also paying my landlord the water rates and council tax and he'd pay the bills.
    If the contract (verbal?) specified this, then that's what the contract was.

    About 18 months ago the bailiffs started calling for unpaid council tax which I advised landlord about. When they eventually said they'd be back in a few weeks to take my stuff I moved out.
    So far as the council were concerned, you were the occupant, so they will claim the CT off you. This debt will potentially follow you for 7 years.

    Since I assume you had paid the CT to your landlord and he failed to pay the council, you will have to sue the landlord.

    Since then he has been back and forth my parents house demanding money for damages.
    OK - new topic......

    Back in October 2015 the gas meter stopped working and although he kept promising to sort it he didn't.
    1) had you reported the fault to him, in writing? Have you kept the letter? Did he acknowledge this in writing? Have you kept the letter?

    2) did the LL arrange and give you valid annual Gas Safety Reports?
    He now claims the boiler is broken because of this and wants payment to repair these.
    Refer him to your letter.
    He wants money to replace the old mattress that was on the bed when I moved in,
    On what grounds?
    to repair damage a leak that I advised him of over two years ago has caused and lots more.
    see comments above about reporting issues
    The total bill is over £3600.

    I understand that renting off the books won't help my situation,
    Makes no difference
    but where do I stand legally? My parents want to pay him off (he said he'd accept £1500) but I've told him to take a hike and take me to court.
    Good for you

    Any questions feel free to ask

    Thanks in advance

    Pinktavia
    Originally posted by Pinktavia
    3) Did you pay him a deposit? Did he protect it?
    4) You have a legal tenancy. - 'off the books' makes no difference, except that it improves your bargaining position. You could threaten to inform
    * HMRC for tax evasion (assuming he is not declaring the rent)
    * his mortgage lender (if any) for letting without consent (assuming not a BTLmortgage)
    5) if you can show you reported the problems and he ignored them, he cannot claim off you (unless you DID cause damage eg to the mattress)
    6) if he took a deposit ad failed to protect it, you could claim 3 times the deposit (see below)

    Best advice is to ignore him - don't even answer. If/when you receive court papers, you
    7) enter a defence
    8) make a counter-claim for the council tax

    * Deposits: payment, protection and return
    • Arleen
    • By Arleen 19th Apr 17, 3:38 PM
    • 880 Posts
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    Arleen
    • #7
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:38 PM
    • #7
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:38 PM
    Worth adding that if he continues to harass you, or your parents - inform him that you do not wish to be visited/contacted and will call the police next time he does. And if he does call and report harassment.

    If he wants any money he can go to court and admit to all the fun rules he broke.
    • Penitent
    • By Penitent 19th Apr 17, 3:44 PM
    • 1,241 Posts
    • 3,671 Thanks
    Penitent
    • #8
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:44 PM
    • #8
    • 19th Apr 17, 3:44 PM
    Back in October 2015 the gas meter stopped working and although he kept promising to sort it he didn't. He now claims the boiler is broken because of this and wants payment to repair these. These are repairs he should have made, you're not responsible for this. You did your bit by reporting it to him. I'm also not sure how a faulty gas meter would make the boiler stop working. He wants money to replace the old mattress that was on the bed when I moved in Due to the age of the mattress, he'd get little to nothing for this., to repair damage a leak that I advised him of over two years ago has caused As with the meter, you did your bit by reporting it. and lots more.
    The total bill is over £3600.
    Originally posted by Pinktavia
    So he's tax dodging, wasn't doing repairs, presumably wasn't meeting any of his responsibilities as a landlord...I agree with PasturesNew, he'd be an idiot to try to pursue this. If he continues harrassing you, call the police.

    I'd be more worried about the Council Tax, as you were liable for this while living in the property and have no proof that you paid it via him.

    (Edit: Should have refreshed before posting. G_M said it better, as always.)
    Last edited by Penitent; 19-04-2017 at 3:46 PM.
    • macman
    • By macman 19th Apr 17, 4:00 PM
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    macman
    • #9
    • 19th Apr 17, 4:00 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Apr 17, 4:00 PM
    Can this guy be serious? Firstly, a broken gas meter cannot cause damage to a boiler. Secondly, a mattress that is at least 4 years old, or probably more, has zero value, even if you had damaged it. Thirdly, if you can prove that you reported the leak to him and he did nothing, then it is entirely his responsibility, along with doing inspections at least once a year.
    The fact that he claims £3600 and then said he'd accept 'only' £1500 shows that he is just a chancer.
    Remind him that he has committed a criminal offence by failing to provide annual GSC's, for which the penalty can be an unlimited fine or imprisonment (not to mention the tax evasion and possibly mortgage fraud), and to stop harassing you or your parents.
    Don't pay him a penny, you'll need that money to clear your CT debt for potentially 5 years arrears. That cannot be paid by the LL, it is purely the tenant's debt. You also cannot be sure that he has paid the gas/electricity and water bills (no such thing as water rates for decades now), and unless you have evidence that he agreed to pay the utilities, you could be liable if they too are unpaid.
    I'm guessing that you have nothing in writing, and that you paid him in cash? You most certainly had a legal contract-the problem is proving what was agreed in a verbal contract.
    Last edited by macman; 19-04-2017 at 4:16 PM.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • Pinktavia
    • By Pinktavia 19th Apr 17, 4:15 PM
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    Pinktavia
    Thanks for the replies.

    Just to clear something up, as far as the local council were concerned, I was still living at my parents and paying CT there. The landlord was claiming he was living at the house I was renting, and the CT was in his name. He was living (and still is) with his partner and the rented house is standing empty.

    P
    • Pinktavia
    • By Pinktavia 19th Apr 17, 4:18 PM
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    Pinktavia
    Almost forgot. No safety checks of any kind were done in the whole time I was there.

    P
    • macman
    • By macman 19th Apr 17, 4:21 PM
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    macman
    The CT may well have still been in his name, but you were the legal tenant and so the responsibility for paying CT is yours alone I'm afraid. It is your responsibility to register and pay for CT, not the LL's.
    If you are identified as the tenant during that period then the council may apply for a summons, a liability order and an attachment of earnings order.
    The fact that you may have been contributing to CT at your parents is irrelevant (and they would have paid the same whether you were there or not: CT is a property tax, not a personal tax).
    I suggest you check your credit report as a priority: there might be something else that he 'forgot' to pay on your behalf.
    Last edited by macman; 19-04-2017 at 4:28 PM.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • macman
    • By macman 19th Apr 17, 4:31 PM
    • 40,944 Posts
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    macman
    Almost forgot. No safety checks of any kind were done in the whole time I was there.

    P
    Originally posted by Pinktavia
    He was required to provide a gas safety certificate at the time the tenancy began and annually thereafter, so this is, as I said, a very serious offence. It also put you in personal danger-why did you not request it?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 19th Apr 17, 4:32 PM
    • 2,571 Posts
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    Cakeguts
    Who owns the house that you were renting? I assume that it is supposed to be rented by your landlord? Is it a local authority or housing association owned property that he was letting illegally?
    • macman
    • By macman 19th Apr 17, 4:41 PM
    • 40,944 Posts
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    macman
    If it were an LA or an HA property being sublet, then they would be responsible for repairing the boiler and preventing the leak, not the LL.
    Were it rented, illegal subletting would frankly be the least of the LL's problems should she dob him in...
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • Pinktavia
    • By Pinktavia 19th Apr 17, 4:55 PM
    • 5 Posts
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    Pinktavia
    The LL owns the house and was renting it to me.

    P
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 19th Apr 17, 5:01 PM
    • 27,819 Posts
    • 70,662 Thanks
    Mojisola
    The landlord was claiming he was living at the house I was renting, and the CT was in his name.

    He was living (and still is) with his partner and the rented house is standing empty.
    Originally posted by Pinktavia
    The LL owns the house and was renting it to me.
    Originally posted by Pinktavia
    Possibly a benefit fraud scam if his partner is claiming benefits as a single person.
    • macman
    • By macman 19th Apr 17, 5:10 PM
    • 40,944 Posts
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    macman
    We could speculate ad infinitum on the LL's other potential misdemeanours, but unfortunately the main issue that the OP should be concerned with is the CT debt, and any utility debts, should he have put these into her name. Easily checked.
    If the LL continues to harass her or her parents for payment after being told to desist, then the police should be involved.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
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