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Advice!

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Posted 8th Oct
Hi

Im going to be contacting citizens advice but wondered if any if you guys know.

My sister rented a private property with Blundells. The house got raided by 5 men with knifes. Social services told her she cannot live in that house otherwise her son would be taken away.

Blundells charged her £300 to readvertise the property and said she has to pay the rent until a new let has been agreed. Can they do this?
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With regard to the rent situation; sorry to be blunt but you need to READ THE CONTRACT instead of asking on here.

Re the SS situation; are there more facts than posted here. SS would not normally become involved simply because of a break in. It would not be abnormal for the parent involved with SS to already have contact with a Solicitor who can provide advice specific to the circumstances. If SS have suddenly popped up totally out of the blue because of a break in, I regret to suggest she needs a Solicitors help
ccnp08/10/2019 21:09

With regard to the rent situation; sorry to be blunt but you need to READ …With regard to the rent situation; sorry to be blunt but you need to READ THE CONTRACT instead of asking on here.Re the SS situation; are there more facts than posted here. SS would not normally become involved simply because of a break in. It would not be abnormal for the parent involved with SS to already have contact with a Solicitor who can provide advice specific to the circumstances. If SS have suddenly popped up totally out of the blue because of a break in, I regret to suggest she needs a Solicitors help


SS have never been involved before. Police informed them as they thought it was a targeted attack even though other houses had been targeted in the area.

I cant imagine it saying anything about this situation in the contract but I will get her to take that down to the CAB with her.
If the re-advertising cost & rent-until-relet due to abandonment / early termination is mentioned in the tenancy agreement your sis signed, then...
If you can show that the landlord has somehow failed duty-of-care or disclosure obligations then you / your sis may have an tenancy-escape option, although it is unlikely that a ll should provide specific protection from knife-wielding gangs. Otherwise best you could hope for is gesture of goodwill reduction in obligations from ll.
I think the answer is yes they can if your still in your contract period.

I lived a property as a student which kept getting attacked and broken into, all my belongings were taken and myself and everyone’s else felt it was unsafe to live there. We’d tried to get out of the contract but sadly were told the same, pay up until the end of the contract or find new tentants to replace us.

As AndyRoyd suggested perhaps plead with the landlords good nature and hope they will be understanding and help.

I’m sorry that probably isn’t want you want to hear. It must have been a terrifying experience for your sister. I hope she will be ok, this must be adding a whole other layer of stress to what is already a difficult situation.

I do hope citizen advice can help you perhaps with a loop hole
Edited by: "myusernamehasgone234" 8th Oct
Blundells charged her £300 to readvertise the property


I would have thought that is illegal. T&C's are not the law.

The Property Ombudsman

Recent new laws
Edited by: "OllieSt" 8th Oct
Living in such an area sounds horrible for your sister and to then find the SS jack booting in using their coverall 'in harms way' excuse would only add to her frustrations and pain. I do hope she is coping. She is lucky to have you as a brother to care this much for her and try to help.

So. Blundells have charged her to advertise the property. Blundells MUST do that or face a charge of taking money under false pretenses. They must actively try to re-let the property. Check they are doing that and not just sitting back and taking her money.

Slim chance but it may be worth contacting her local Councillor to see if (s)he will help apply pressure in any quarter. Some Councils are placing restrictions on property rentals in areas they control. It may come to nothing but who knows. Pressure is your friend.

Now this is even thinner but. The info you supplied on the area being targeted is a possible route to follow. Take a look at the crime map of the area. Try to establish if the let took place in an area the Landlord would know to be unsafe. If you get an unpleasant surprise and find lots of crime close by, a solicitor may advise that the Landlord failed a duty of care to provide either safe accommodation or failed to properly protect the property from intruders when (s)he had reasonable grounds to know it was a dangerous location. Do not get excited about this line of thinking. Solicitors love fights and fees, not truth and settlements

Depending on the remaining term of the lease, an option is a public campaign that affects the Landlords ability to re-let or sell the property. This carries the risk of her paying rent to the end of the tenancy but that may be happening anyway.
i think its nice of them to let her pay a fee and rent till its rented again. on a normal agreement they could just make her pay till lease has ended, standard lease is six month. so depending how long she has left and what the rent is she will have to workout what is best. its bad the home was raided but thats not the landlords fault.

if it was me i would just move out and worry about the cost later surely the children come first, infact i wouldnt even ask i'd just be gone the same day.
OllieSt08/10/2019 23:20

Blundells charged her £300 to readvertise the propertyI would have thought …Blundells charged her £300 to readvertise the propertyI would have thought that is illegal. T&C's are not the law.The Property OmbudsmanRecent new laws


Ts&Cs are what people sign away without reading them. And then get upset. We all do it and we are all very silly for doing it. Large letting agencies seldom have illegal Ts&Cs. If you can prove the Ts&Cs are illegal or, more likely, onerous (look up the legal definition) then it is within the power of a court at a hearing to set aside the whole agreement or a part of it. One thing a contract cannot do is remove liability for H&S related matters and that might just apply in this case. She could try and say that on the advice of the SS, the property is not safe But the lawyers fees may well far outstrip the recoverable amount.
Edited by: "ccnp" 9th Oct
Something’s not quite right here. Social Services will only say that a child cannot live in a certain property if the property is deemed to be a ‘place of peril’. That means if there is risk of fire, or bad electrics, or health implications etc, not because there’s been a burglary or such. What would happen if your sister owned the property with a mortgage- she couldn’t just move out, she has responsibilities.
It’s not the Landlord’s fault that she has been targeted, or the Agents’s fault and I think that letting your sister leave before the agreed rental agreement term and conditions (although still paying a monthly rent) is a good gesture by the Landlord. The agreement that the Agent will re-advertise the property at a £300 cost to your sister - it’s a small price to pay to enable her to move on to another property.
There's clearly more to the story than this. There is no way on earth social services would threaten to take away her son because she got broken in to. Regardless of how violent the attack was. Try and tell me it's true all you like but i know for a fact it isn't.
ccnp09/10/2019 09:45

Ts&Cs are what people sign away without reading them. And then get upset. …Ts&Cs are what people sign away without reading them. And then get upset. We all do it and we are all very silly for doing it. Large letting agencies seldom have illegal Ts&Cs. If you can prove the Ts&Cs are illegal or, more likely, onerous (look up the legal definition) then it is within the power of a court at a hearing to set aside the whole agreement or a part of it. One thing a contract cannot do is remove liability for H&S related matters and that might just apply in this case. She could try and say that on the advice of the SS, the property is not safe But the lawyers fees may well far outstrip the recoverable amount.


All I can say is that I had a situation where a tenant decided that it was unsafe for here to continue renting a property from me. She did agree to continue paying the rent until a new tenant was found and my ARLA registered letting agent made no mention of her being charged for re-advertising. Whilst I understand the agent may not have discussed that part of the matter with me I feel quite sure that the director of the company whom I have know for over 25 years would have mentioned that charge during our conversations on this matter. I will speak with him in the next few days to find out if a re-advertising fee is reasonable.

I do believe there is more to this story though.
Edited by: "OllieSt" 9th Oct
ccnp09/10/2019 07:30

...Now this is even thinner but. The info you supplied on the area being …...Now this is even thinner but. The info you supplied on the area being targeted is a possible route to follow. Take a look at the crime map of the area. Try to establish if the let took place in an area the Landlord would know to be unsafe. If you get an unpleasant surprise and find lots of crime close by, a solicitor may advise that the Landlord failed a duty of care to provide either safe accommodation or failed to properly protect the property from intruders when (s)he had reasonable grounds to know it was a dangerous location. Do not get excited about this line of thinking. Solicitors love fights and fees, not truth and settlements...


I mentioned ll's duty-of-care in an earlier post but realisatically it works both ways related to public information: why would the tenant not show due diligence by researching a location's crime rate prior to commiting to the let? Possibly the best the tenant could hope for would be potential non-disclosure of non-public local knowledge, although how that could be used in tenant's favour and/or proved at minimal cost is not clear.
One for the armchair lawyers / OP: below is the URL (and reference archive of same) for a schedule of fees for Blundells' tenants dated 03 May 2019 which was (presumably) in preparation for Tenant Fee Act 2019 effective less than a month later 01 June 2019. It includes the entry:
"...Early termination when requested by the tenant: a charge not exceeding the financial loss experienced by the landlord"
which appears to be legally plausible and reasonable. What is not stated is how / when any financial loss shall be paid but presumably shall be at least comparable to if the tenant was still occupying the property. There may (or may not) be an angle to not pay the equivalent cost of some fees normally charged to ll if the financial loss is not paid as a rental payment but would normally have been funded from the rental payment (example: agency fees, tenancy insurance, etc).
Only OP / OPs sis can indicate if this schedule was the applicable item at time of agreement signature.
The armchair lawyers will also benefit from seeing the specific ASTA.
countrywide.co.uk/age…pdf
web.archive.org/web…pdf
AndyRoyd09/10/2019 11:21

One for the armchair lawyers / OP: below is the URL (and reference archive …One for the armchair lawyers / OP: below is the URL (and reference archive of same) for a schedule of fees for Blundells' tenants dated 03 May 2019 which was (presumably) in preparation for Tenant Fee Act 2019 effective less than a month later 01 June 2019. It includes the entry:"...Early termination when requested by the tenant: a charge not exceeding the financial loss experienced by the landlord"which appears to be legally plausible and reasonable. What is not stated is how / when any financial loss shall be paid but presumably shall be at least comparable to if the tenant was still occupying the property. There may (or may not) be an angle to not pay the equivalent cost of some fees normally charged to ll if the financial loss is not paid as a rental payment but would normally have been funded from the rental payment (example: agency fees, tenancy insurance, etc).Only OP / OPs sis can indicate if this schedule was the applicable item at time of agreement signature.The armchair lawyers will also benefit from seeing the specific ASTA.https://www.countrywide.co.uk/agency-guides/tenants-guide-blundells.pdfhttps://web.archive.org/web/20191009100501/https://www.countrywide.co.uk/agency-guides/tenants-guide-blundells.pdf



Early termination when requested by the tenant: a charge not exceeding the financial loss experienced by the landlord


That makes much more sense than the poorly worded re-advertising fees
The issue isn't a concern for the landlor or the rental agency so you would still be liable for any charges due.
Op didn't like all the responses

OP expires thread

Classy!
chocci10/10/2019 04:54

Op didn't like all the responsesOP expires threadClassy!



How did I not like the responses? Like I said in the OP my sister was going to the CAB so the issue will be dealt with by them from now on.

Thanks to everyone who responded and helped
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