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  • Legal FAQs

    Landlord misrepresented tenant

    Hello, we are tenants in a rented property. When viewing the property it was important to us that the property was a long term let, and both the landlord and estate agency assured us that it was! Now the house was in very poor condition and needed lots of work - we were happy to invest a bit (new kitchen units, new wooden and laminate floors, painting, etc) as we wanted it nice for ourselves as we're thinking long term!

    5 months into the initial contract the landlord sends an architect round, then as we now understand (tree surveyor, council inspector) was getting everything ready to apply for planning permission. He applied 9 months into the tenancy then as we questioned him about the future he said it was never long term, it was my investment and I'm sorry that you spent your money!

    We have another meeting lined up with him to try to settle some sort of compensation, have been seeking a bit of legal advice, and wanted to get some opinions about whether misrepresentation did take place and how can we prove it?

    Tenant in BIG DISTRESS Sad((

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    Hi Julz.  I can't help with advice I'm afraid, just wanted to say I'm sorry to hear of your troubles.  What type of tenancy are you on, AST, periodic etc?  Was there nothing in writing that you would do those improvements on the condition that (insert relevant text)? 

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    Thank you, yes AST, no as we have emails and both the agency and landlord assurance (albeit means nothing now) confirming that it's long term and that we can do anything to the inside to make it suitable for us!

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    Legally you haven't a leg to stand on.

    But if I was the LL I would compensate you for your expenditure.

    This is always a risk in renting from a private LL in that there are no guarantees.

    Apart from a LL word which is not legally accountable.

    But I do feel for your situation.

    Perhaps your existing LL may consider making a contribution to a future tenancy with advance rent or deposits etc.

    The point being as far as the LL is concerned the property was unlettable without your input.

    The LL should surely recognise this input and compensate you informally for that.

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    It doesn't help you this time, but the phrase long term doesn't really have any meaning.  

    9 months is longer than the duration of a standard AST and could, by some, be viewed as a long term

    To others, including you, 9 months isn't long at all

    A clearer definition of "long term" would have been helpful before you spent your own funds on improving your LLs property

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    I'm afraid that unless there was a clear agreement beforehand on what 'long term' was understood to be by both sides, you are in a very difficult position. Was any period mentioned by the landlord? Over a year? Two years? In writing?

    While none of this would affect the landlord's ability to serve notice for the end of the fixed term, it would help a demand for compensation for the money you had spent in reliance on a promise. But it does have to have been a very clear promise, not just a vague suggestion of 'long term'.

    And there is the difficulty that you apparently signed a tenancy for a fixed term of 6 or 12 months. That goes against there being a mutual commitment to 'long term'.

    So, you would certainly need something from the landlord that was very clear, in writing, dating from before you took the tenancy. It would also have to be something that was clearly a deciding reason for you to take the tenancy (preferably clear from the documents).

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    Giles Peaker

    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Is there any ground to claim unjust enrichment?

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    Is there any ground to claim unjust enrichment?  That would not need to prove L misrepresented anything only that he unfairly took advantage of T.

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    I know it is of no use to the OP now, but there is a thing called a Deed of Assurance I think.

    It is a device invented by property118.

    Apparently is carries some legal weight though I don't believe it has ever been tested.This instrument essentially commits the LL to a certain tenancy length which cannot be avoided by the LL

    So perhaps due to the situation these tenants now find themselves perhaps for a new tenancy they could persuade a new LL to sign up to such a deed.

    The OP needs to engage with the property118 website to elicit more info about this deed.

    But it might be an answer to their requirement for a long term tenancy..

    That is if a LL is prepared to agree to it!

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    Hi Julz,

    Sorry to hear of your experience and I really hope you can come to some sort of agreement with your landlord, appealing to his common decency. But as others have said, I don't think you have any legal basis for a claim (I'm not a lawyer though!). There are some good landlords out there, so if you come across as calm and reasonable, hopefully he will see your point of view and reimburse at least some of the expense.

    As an aside, this is exactly why ASTs (and by extension Buy to Let) simply do not work for the majority of tenants, particularly those looking for a family home. No security of tenure, no feeling of being able to invest time and money into making it your home. With only 2 months notice, you can be booted out through absolutely no fault of your own.

    I am very sorry that so many people have no other option than AST private rentals. It's no way to live, and I've been doing it for 14 years as a single dad.

    Good luck!

    James

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    The problem is LL with mortgages which is about 50% of the PRS have no alternative than to offer AST of no more than 12 months.

    The reason lenders specify such a limit is because of the existing eviction laws..

    A lender needs to know that it can get rid of any tenant within a reasonable period in the event of mortgage default which is mostly likely caused by rent default

    It is not the fault of LL that they are forced to only give tenancies of a max of 12 months

    Have a read of S21 and eviction regulations and you'll realise why mortgaged LL can't offer AST of longer than 12 months

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