License to Occupy - Advise Needed

Discussion in 'benefits and housing' started by shakespearegirl, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. shakespearegirl

    shakespearegirl just worked out taglines

    Advice needed please. Mr Shakes nephew has moved over from Italy and got into a dodgy rental situation. The agent has issued them with a 'License To Occupy' for twelve months.
    They are deeply unhappy in the flat. It has dodgy wiring and electrical plus, no smoke detectors or alarms, they were told there would be a maximum of four people living in the property and there are seven, all sharing one toilet.
    They have complained about the conditions, but the Estate Agent has told them they cannot get out of the agreement without paying out the full value of the License to Occupy. The agent is now not replying to any communications from them at all.
    I've advised them to contact Environment Services at the council, Citizens Advice and Hackney Gazette who have done quite a few articles on the Estate Agent.
    Looking at the agent online, they have lots of bad reviews, including coming into properties and threatening tenants and taking their property.
    They have been expelled by the Property Ombudsman.
    Anyone got any suggestions on how they can get out of the license. I've told them they will probably have to live with not getting their deposit back, but the main concern is them not pursuing them for the next 11 months of the 'license fee' which according to the agreement they signed can be put up by any amount at any point during the license term.
  2. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    If the contract is unfair or illegal it can't be enforced.
  3. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    Some legal stuff:
    Tenancy Agreement or Licence to Occupy?

    I would suggest they take photos and make a few notes covering the points you have raised first. Then just move out and cancel any standing orders or direct debits. Try to keep hold of any details/emails provided by the landlord.

    The only concern is have they payed a large deposit? If so it may be a battle to get that back. Things are easier now as the deposit should be held in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme which will act as arbitrator between both parties. If the agent/landlord has not put the deposit in this scheme then the law is generally on your side.
    SpookyFrank likes this.
  4. shakespearegirl

    shakespearegirl just worked out taglines

    Lots of the complaints about them online say they don't hold deposits in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme which was one of the reasons the Ombudsman expelled them.

    They have paid a large deposit (2 rooms x £950 each) but I've told them they will probably have to write this off.

    It looks like they have a long history of getting naive tenants (many of the complainers have just moved to London from abroad) into signing these license agreements on dodgy properties.

    Thanks for the link badgers I'll forward it to them.
    Badgers likes this.
  5. belboid

    belboid TUC Off Your Knees

    Badgers likes this.
  6. shakespearegirl

    shakespearegirl just worked out taglines

    Sorry, I think there are 3 bedrooms. It is nephew & girlfriend and then one of their friends in the other room. they were told there would be one other person living there, totalling 4 but there are 7
    Badgers likes this.
  7. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    It is not up to them if they do/don't want to use the scheme. If they don't the TDS will enforce compensation:

    My only concern is that I dont have much experience of the 'lisence to get occupy' :hmm:

    Shelter are a fantastic resource. Give them a call first but might be worth getting some documents together first.

    I always tell tenants to treat each rental like a court case waiting to happen. It might sound like a chore but a chronological file of emails, paperwork and notes of phone calls can be invaluable.
  8. shakespearegirl

    shakespearegirl just worked out taglines

    I have limited understanding of the license to occupy but I think one of the reasons they structure their agreements this way is it gets around a lot of traditional tenants rights!
    Badgers likes this.
  9. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

  10. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    If it looks like a tenancy, walks like a tenancy, etc, doesn't matter what they try and call it - it's a tenancy, in law.
    likesfish, SpookyFrank, Mordi and 3 others like this.
  11. Athos

    Athos Well-Known Member

    I'd line up a new place, for a month's time, then move out (without any notice). Also, I'd not pay that month's rent (as they'll keep the deposit). I wouldn't tell them where I was going. I'm the unlikely ebent they got hold of me, I'd tell them they'll have to sue, but that, if they do, it'll cost them (and I couldn't pay even if they won). And that I'd counter claim on the basis that the agreement was a sham, and that the court would interpret it as a tenancy rather than a lease, and that, in any event, it would be unenforcable because of the unfair terms. Fuck 'em - parasites.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
    TopCat, Chilli.s, SpookyFrank and 4 others like this.
  12. Mr Smin

    Mr Smin Registered Luser

    Can you name the agent so the rest of us can steer clear?
  13. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat That's Puddy Tat Esq to you

    :hmm: on a lot of fronts.

    am inclined to agree with that - something from shelter website

    I've not had anything to do with them myself, but may be no harm in getting in touch with HackneyRenters
  14. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    The whole arrangement is probably illegal in itself, as given the description of the tenants, it would need to be an HMO and comply with the necessary regulations.
    Thimble Queen likes this.
  15. shakespearegirl

    shakespearegirl just worked out taglines

  16. planetgeli

    planetgeli There's no future in England's dreaming

    This, totally. It's practically word for word what I've done in the past myself, though I'm talking 15 years + in the past and don't know if that makes a difference. But I've done this more than once in the past and no fucker ever chased me for any money.
  17. shakespearegirl

    shakespearegirl just worked out taglines

    Quite a few of the online complaints about them say they come round and threaten tenants and take possessions if they get too complainy or don’t pay rent. I don’t know if this is true or not. Newphews girlfriend works different hours to him so is home alone a lot, first times she’s lived out of Home which was a tiny Italian village so he’s quite worried about her
  18. planetgeli

    planetgeli There's no future in England's dreaming

    No landlord ever comes around in the first month of non-payment IME.

    As Athos said, you line up a new place, don't pay, and leave (on a Sunday or in the dead of night works well I found).

    I've always delivered keys back (on a Sunday) with an explanatory note...because I'm far too nice. Nothing to stop them leaving keys behind in the flat though.
    SpookyFrank, equationgirl and MickiQ like this.
  19. shakespearegirl

    shakespearegirl just worked out taglines

  20. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

    Re dodgy wiring and stuff, no smoke alarms etc, I'd make enquiries with the fire service and see if they can inspect the property or something, it might be deadly and that might be grounds to get out of the so-called 'licence' if the fire service (or environmental health or whoever) condemn the property as unsafe/a fire risk etc
  21. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    Their situation isn't necessarily that bad, just a massive ball-ache. Courts will often enforce standard tenancy conditions (minimal as they are) rather than dodgy 'licenses' that often aren't valid. The deposit matter can also be dealt with through the county court, and if it isn't in a protection scheme they're almost certain to get it back. But yeah, probably move as well.
  22. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat That's Puddy Tat Esq to you

    if it's hackney borough, then this may be of interest
  23. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    That's a good point made by Puddy_Tat - does the landlord have the relevant council licence to operate as an HMO? The councils tend to take very dim view of landlords not getting the right licensing.
    likesfish, Badgers and Thimble Queen like this.
  24. cupid_stunt

    cupid_stunt Dyslexic King Cnut ... the Great.

    The sooner the new regulations controlling letting agents come in, the better, I can't wait to see arseholes like this lot getting put out of business.
  25. shakespearegirl

    shakespearegirl just worked out taglines

    I've checked and the property isn't registered as a HMO.. Forwarding the information on now. Thanks..
  26. shakespearegirl

    shakespearegirl just worked out taglines

    I caught up with them earlier in the week and the LA (turns out it was Camden rather than Hackney) are taking the landlord to court as they aren't a HMO.. Thanks for all of the advice.
  27. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    Good news :)
  28. shakespearegirl

    shakespearegirl just worked out taglines

    They are very hopeful of getting the deposit and all the rent they paid back!!
  29. Thimble Queen

    Thimble Queen person of tinge

    That would be a brilliant outcome :cool:
    Badgers likes this.
  30. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank If it's alive, don't lick it.

    Pretty ridiculous that an agency known to be breaking the law re. deposits etc wasn't shut down long ago. IIRC acting as a letting agent without a registration with an ombudsman is a 5,000 quid fine by itself.
    likesfish likes this.

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