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  • Auction Tribe

    Scammed by the previous LL

    Hello,

    So we've ventured into our first multi-let - a six bed property in Liverpool divided into two one bedroom flats and a four bedroom flat. We bought on auction and rent apportionment was requested by the vendor's solicitors for all six tenants.

    We have since sent our lettings agent to the property and a few issues came out of the woodwork. The lettings agent has been in contact with three of the tenants, one is a housing benefit tenant, two are in work, so pay cash. 

    1. First tenant says that his housing benefit is paid directly to his previous LL, so there should be no arrears. 

    2. The second ground floor tenant has refused to open the door to the agent, but we know he is a benefits tenant as the agent saw a benefit letter arriving for him. 

    3. Two of the upstairs tenants, cash tenants, say they are not in arrears, and we are awaiting bank statements from them in this regard. 

    4. The two upstairs tenants confirmed that there has been no other tenants to the other two rooms in that area of the house in the last year. 

    My question here is:

    a. Obviously, I'm not paying the previous LL for tenants that was never there. How do I claim back that money from the previous LL? Would a signed affidavit from the two other tenants living in that flat be sufficient proof?

    b. How do I proof that the benefits tenants are not in arrears?

    c. Would bank statements from the cash tenants be sufficient proof that they aren't in arrears?   

    Your advice is appreciated!

    Thanks,

    BHE

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    Tenants on benefits, refusing to answer the door, and paying cash is not for the feint-hearted.

    Your solicitor should really be dealing with the rent apportionment imho, not you.

    A statement of this should have been prepared prior to completion and then double checked by both parties before any monies were apportioned.

    It is tricky after the event to negotiate money back.  Your solicitor should have made the correct checks, so the onus is on him/her to sort this out and recoup any monies for you.

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    I think BHE is saying there was a rent apportionment requested by vendor's solicitors - so it would have been part of the completion statement.  How would the buyer's solicitor have "checked" the amounts - what can they do if the vendors say "here we have 6 tenants, paying 6 lots of rent" and in fact two of those tenants aren't there?  Would a solicitor expect to be paid additional fees to sort this out, or is it a question of querying whether they were negligent in not checking and so they should do it for free?

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    I am facing the same situation so giving this a bump to see whether anyone had any further thoughts.

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    I agree with Vanessa - the evidence of arrears should have been provided at the point of request - i.e. when the completion statement is provided, rather than relying on the statement alone. The onus should have been on the buyer's solicitor to have requested this evidence in my opinion, rather than take the statement for granted. In addition, the seller's solicitor also should have checked the position on arrears as well. The OP therefore could have a complaint against both sets of solicitors. Both sets of solicitors will have PI insurance and this, therefore might be where the "deepest pockets" are to try and get your money back. Get in touch with the solicitors through their complaints process (should be set out in their terms of business) - if they don't have one, or you exhaust the complaints process, contact the Law Society.

    Going through the above process, might actually prompt the seller's solicitors' insurance company to raise their own claim against the seller themselves to recover any money lost (in the event that they pay out to you). Saves you having to chase the seller directly.

    (none of the above is legal advice!)

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