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  • FIRST POST
    • diddykong
    • By diddykong 11th Jan 18, 2:30 PM
    • 7Posts
    • 2Thanks
    diddykong
    Renting, moved out, still responsible for house, landlord gaining unauthorised entry
    • #1
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:30 PM
    Renting, moved out, still responsible for house, landlord gaining unauthorised entry 11th Jan 18 at 2:30 PM
    I was hoping that I could get some advice with regards to my rights as a tenant...

    We have recently purchased a new house and therefore moved out of an old rented house. The rented house is leased via an agency. Unfortunately, we still have a lease on the rented property, which could potentially run until the summer. We have agreed to pay the rent plus landlord costs up until the time a new tenant is found. We do not have a problem with this.

    Despite not actually residing in the rented house, we are still responsible for it, pay utility and council tax bills, and are yet to complete a check out report with the letting agency.

    We have recently spent several hundred pounds to have the rented house deep cleaned, in order to bring the house to a suitable standard for future tenants. It was our decision to have this done and again, we were more than happy to pay for it.

    Yesterday we discovered that the landlord has been allowing contractors into the rented house, without informing us. It is not clear whether they even told the agency. The contractors have totally stripped the bathroom, leaving no sink, shower or toilet. It looks a mess and there are now dirty marks on the carpet, which were not there after the deep clean.

    We are still paying FULL RENT, which means we expect to have access to a bathroom. This may seem petty, as we are not living in the house, but we were actually hoping to use the facilities, while the bathroom in our new house is unavailable, due to renovation. As there is no access to a shower, we are paying for something that isn't available.

    As we are paying for energy, any gas and electricity used by the contractors will be paid for by us.

    Finally, we are generally upset with the way people and contractors are entering a property we are paying for, without our knowledge. On no occasion were we told of these works being carried out. If we were, we would have, of course, agreed.

    We are still effectively tenants, paying full rent and all expenses. I understand the landlord's desire to renovate their house, but have they done anything wrong in granting entry, without informing us? Where do we stand on the dirty carpet and gas/electric usage? I am worried how the work will affect our check out report.

    Thanks for any help.
Page 1
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 11th Jan 18, 2:33 PM
    • 2,970 Posts
    • 2,938 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #2
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:33 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:33 PM
    I was hoping that I could get some advice with regards to my rights as a tenant...

    We have recently purchased a new house and therefore moved out of an old rented house. The rented house is leased via an agency. Unfortunately, we still have a lease on the rented property, which could potentially run until the summer. We have agreed to pay the rent plus landlord costs up until the time a new tenant is found. We do not have a problem with this. - Fair enough.

    Despite not actually residing in the rented house, we are still responsible for it, pay utility and council tax bills, and are yet to complete a check out report with the letting agency. - Correct

    We have recently spent several hundred pounds to have the rented house deep cleaned - too early. , in order to bring the house to a suitable standard for future tenants. It was our decision to have this done and again, we were more than happy to pay for it.

    Yesterday we discovered that the landlord has been allowing contractors into the rented house, without informing us. It is not clear whether they even told the agency. The contractors have totally stripped the bathroom, leaving no sink, shower or toilet. It looks a mess and there are now dirty marks on the carpet, which were not there after the deep clean. - have you made a complaint? I would suggest not paying rent at the minute. Take photos.

    We are still paying FULL RENT, which means we expect to have access to a bathroom. This may seem petty, as we are not living in the house, but we were actually hoping to use the facilities, while the bathroom in our new house is unavailable, due to renovation. As there is no access to a shower, we are paying for something that isn't available.

    As we are paying for energy, any gas and electricity used by the contractors will be paid for by us.

    Finally, we are generally upset with the way people and contractors are entering a property we are paying for, without our knowledge. On no occasion were we told of these works being carried out. If we were, we would have, of course, agreed.

    We are still effectively tenants, paying full rent and all expenses. I understand the landlord's desire to renovate their house, but have they done anything wrong in granting entry, without informing us? Where do we stand on the dirty carpet and gas/electric usage? I am worried how the work will affect our check out report.

    Thanks for any help.
    Originally posted by diddykong
    I would suggest talking first. But yes you are correct, and you could use this against the Landlord.


    Withhold rent for now
    • theartfullodger
    • By theartfullodger 11th Jan 18, 2:35 PM
    • 9,529 Posts
    • 12,783 Thanks
    theartfullodger
    • #3
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:35 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Jan 18, 2:35 PM
    Write calm, polite but firm letter to landlord, copy agent, keep copy noting your unhappiness with this, that you require prior written notice of any future visits, and will not accept any visits without your prior, written, agreement that you are not yet granting.

    Report suspicious entry to police, get CRN.

    Change locks, keep old ones, change them back when your legal responsibilities.

    You might wish to get a cheap "shed alarm" (goes off if anyone goes in) and ask neighbours to call police if they hear it.

    What actual financial losses have you suffered as a result of this?

    Artful (Landlord)

    PS To understand a little of the law in this area read this 476page book....
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Quiet-Enjoyment-Protection-Rogue-Landlords/dp/1908407964
    Last edited by theartfullodger; 11-01-2018 at 2:41 PM.
    • nicmyles
    • By nicmyles 11th Jan 18, 3:18 PM
    • 104 Posts
    • 133 Thanks
    nicmyles
    • #4
    • 11th Jan 18, 3:18 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Jan 18, 3:18 PM
    Something similar to this happened to me several years ago. The flat was under lease to me, and I still had personal items and furniture being stored there, although I had mostly moved out to another city.

    The landlord knew I wasn't living there (I had given notice) and decided to take the opportunity to undertake a major building project.

    I returned to the flat a week ahead of the end of the lease to remove the rest of my property and deal with check-out, etc. to find that the front of the house had been entirely removed for remodelling. There was no functional kitchen or bathroom and the property was not secured. My property had been moved into one room and left there; much of it was damaged by dust, paint, etc.

    The builders were very confused when I turned up!

    The landlord couldn't see the problem and offered me the keys to another vacant flat he had on the other side of town that he said I could use for the next week. In the end I convinced him that it was going to be best for both of us if he gave me 1,500 cash and we never spoke again.

    Good luck with this one!
    • diddykong
    • By diddykong 11th Jan 18, 3:18 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    diddykong
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 18, 3:18 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 18, 3:18 PM
    Thank you very much for your advice. Much appreciated. I'll take up your suggestions when I am home from work.

    With regards to having the deep clean, this took place on 22nd December, as we were advised by the letting agency that the check out report would be done on 27th December. This was cancelled by the agent. We do have email and text message evidence of this.
    • pretamang
    • By pretamang 11th Jan 18, 3:49 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    pretamang
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 3:49 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 3:49 PM
    What is you want to achieve?

    a) If you want to keep the house for now and pay rent: ask for a reduction/holiday in rent due to the works and mess, and full return of your deposit given that it's now impossible to assess damage/cleanliness

    b) If you want to end the tenancy: reach agreement with the landlord that this has already happened due to the booking of an inspection and the landlord effectively taking back possession. Again ask for full deposit return since a proper check-out is not possible now.

    I don't know where you stand legally, but if it was me I would decide what I want and try to make a deal with the landlord.
    • Money maker
    • By Money maker 11th Jan 18, 3:55 PM
    • 4,984 Posts
    • 11,324 Thanks
    Money maker
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 3:55 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 3:55 PM
    I would try to make a deal with the landlord too. If he's not immediately obliging, use youtube video to change lock barrels and prevent further access. He wants to have his cake and eat it. Full rent whilst he refurbs - he's laughing.
    Please do not quote spam as this enables it to 'live on' once the spam post is removed.

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    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 11th Jan 18, 4:12 PM
    • 1,219 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    saajan_12
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 4:12 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 4:12 PM
    By rights, you should have exclusive occupation of the property up until your tenancy terminates, and the LL (or his agents / contractors) cannot enter without either your permission or <good reason & notice>.

    Practically this may not work out best for you as presumably you want the LL to find alternative tenants and relieve your liability for rent/bills asap. I would suggest trying to come up with a more firm agreement with the LL: one or a combination of the below could work

    1) No/partial rent paid for periods when the LL wants substantial use of the place for renovations (as they aren't necessary repairs but the renovations may help find a tenant faster and stop your liability entirely). Then continue as you are, paying rent until a tenant is found.

    2) You pay lump sum equal to say 1 months rent but hand back the property now. (So you benefit by getting out of your contract early, limiting you risk for rent and the property condition and the LL can't take their sweet time. LL benefits by getting money for a period they can use the property, whether for renovations/another tenant).
    • thelem
    • By thelem 11th Jan 18, 4:17 PM
    • 700 Posts
    • 512 Thanks
    thelem
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 4:17 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 4:17 PM
    Dear Landlord,

    I didn't realise that you had agreed to accept a shorter notice period, but I see that you have retaken possession of the property and started renovations.

    Please can you let me know the date that you retook possession and let me know how much rent has been overpaid and when that and my deposit will be returned.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Former Tenant.
    Note: Unless otherwise stated, my property related posts refer to England & Wales. Please make sure you state if you are discussing Scotland or elsewhere as laws differ.
    • diddykong
    • By diddykong 5th Mar 18, 9:04 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    diddykong
    An update on the situation...

    Firstly, thank you all for your helpful advice.

    Since posting, we have tried to compromise with the landlord, asked if we can pay off the contract early, or get a reduction. They have refused all options. The letting agency says the landlord would like this matter to be settled amicably, but they won't budge!

    We are now tempted to seek legal advice. Does anyone know if it is worthwhile contacting a solicitor or citizens advice?

    To summarise the issue

    - We signed a 12 month lease last summer. The reasons why we did this have already been mentioned. We respect the fact we signed this.

    - In January, when the property was empty, the landlord entered the property without our knowledge and totally renovated the bathroom. This took 3 weeks. In this time, the house would have not been habitable. The landlords reasons behind this is that it will make the property more attractive to new tenants.

    We do not agree it's fair that the landlord renovates their house while we pay full rent.

    We are also aware that the landlord unlawfully gained access to our house on a number of times, also giving access to contractors.

    During the renovation work, our gas and electricity was being used. On one occasion, we passed the house to see the lights left on. This could have been for a day or a week. We don't know. When this was mentioned, it was dismissed.

    By entering our house unlawfully, do we have grounds for asking the contract be terminated?

    If not, do we have any legal claims for not paying rent during the time of the renovations.


    Thanks for your advice.
    • m0bov
    • By m0bov 5th Mar 18, 9:08 PM
    • 1,285 Posts
    • 871 Thanks
    m0bov
    Did you not change the locks? You could claim they have breached the agreement. I would think you need to contact Shelter but in the meantime withhold rent.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 5th Mar 18, 11:40 PM
    • 9,393 Posts
    • 10,377 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    Change the locks and bar all further access to the flat from the workmen.
    • stator
    • By stator 6th Mar 18, 12:01 AM
    • 6,224 Posts
    • 4,109 Thanks
    stator
    Why did you offer to pay off anything? IF the landlord has taken the flat back you should be asking for him to return rent you have already paid for it, plus your full deposit and to recognise that the tenancy has already ended
    Since he's done work he can't possibly hold you accountable for any damage.
    Changing the world, one sarcastic comment at a time.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 6th Mar 18, 7:25 AM
    • 3,004 Posts
    • 6,036 Thanks
    Smodlet
    Surely, if there was a period when there was no bathroom, the property would be uninhabitable and therefore (logically, if not legally) you cannot be held liable for rent because the property was not fit to live in.

    CAB, solicitor (many offer free half hour consultations) Shelter... Or where is G_M? Have not seen anything from them for some time.
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    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 6th Mar 18, 7:30 AM
    • 5,370 Posts
    • 7,536 Thanks
    deannatrois
    Hope he hasn't got this awful flu
    • lookstraightahead
    • By lookstraightahead 6th Mar 18, 7:43 AM
    • 159 Posts
    • 166 Thanks
    lookstraightahead
    Surely this is trespassing on your property. Whether you were in at the time or not it!!!8217;s immaterial. It!!!8217;s like selling a property and people moving in before completion and squatting. What a bizarre situation.
    • MEM62
    • By MEM62 6th Mar 18, 10:46 AM
    • 1,572 Posts
    • 1,193 Thanks
    MEM62
    The landlord is in the wrong and you have a case for a refund of rent from the moment that the landlord 'ended' the tenancy by taking repossession of the property.

    However, as a landlord, if I was in that position I would be far from happy with someone taking a lease on my property and leaving it vacant. Apart from the risk of the unhealthy attention that empty properties can attract from the low-life of this world, properties do not benefit from heating and plumbing systems not being used for long periods of time - particularly during the winter months. I am also fairly certain that my mortgage and insurances will have clauses in them requiring that the property is not left empty for extended periods.
    Last edited by MEM62; 06-03-2018 at 10:48 AM.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 6th Mar 18, 11:30 AM
    • 2,970 Posts
    • 2,938 Thanks
    Comms69
    Surely this is trespassing on your property. Whether you were in at the time or not it!!!8217;s immaterial. It!!!8217;s like selling a property and people moving in before completion and squatting. What a bizarre situation.
    Originally posted by lookstraightahead
    Trespass is a civil 'offence', so the OP would need to quantify a loss
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 6th Mar 18, 11:36 AM
    • 2,665 Posts
    • 7,141 Thanks
    Red-Squirrel
    I'd go and see a solicitor for a free half hour, I'd be wanting to take the landlord to court for full return of your rent from the day he took possession, your full deposit back and also any extra costs you incurred due to not having the use of the bathroom you were paying for (did you go to a hotel, or pay to use gym facilities for example).

    I'm not an expert though, hence suggesting that you get advice from somebody who is.
    • lookstraightahead
    • By lookstraightahead 6th Mar 18, 12:42 PM
    • 159 Posts
    • 166 Thanks
    lookstraightahead
    How long is a long period of time, and isn!!!8217;t it the same if the bank owns your home and you go on a long holiday? You would not expect the bank to repossess because you have gone on a jolly to Australia for a couple of months. I think in my rental agreement it stipulates to inform landlord if we are away for more than 28 days. But the op did do this.
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