Duped by landlord over rent and deposit who was a bankrupt

by Readers Question

12:30 PM, 20th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Duped by landlord over rent and deposit who was a bankrupt

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Duped by landlord over rent and deposit who was a bankrupt

Hello my name is Joy and I have a small problem maybe you can help.
I write on behalf of a friend who is disabled, and has been renting property for the past 20 years. From Charity organisations, councils and private landlords and one letting agent.

And to blow her trumpet for her she has been a model tenant as I have been her support carer, for as long, she has never abused any property or person and always paid her rent on time and between us both were with one private landlady for almost 10 years, (she in one property me in another to which I am still with).

In 2013 she wanted a change of area so I looked on various sites and found a property in Liverpool on Preloved with a private landlord. She rang and spoke to him her request was simple end of terrace or semi, unfurnished with a garden for her pets 4 cats (at the time)

The rent he was asking was £425 so we went to have a look the picture of the property on the web site looked ok I also street viewed it and it was fine so off we went I drove to the address that was on Preloved, but when we got there, Landlord told us to go to another address, he said that this property was better for her with the cats.

He wanted £495 for this house, which was really out of her rent range because of her benefit allowance which was £360 because of her single status she explained all of this to him before we went to view saying that 450 was her maximum.

To be honest the house was a bit of a ‘Jacks’ build I’ll start but didn’t finish scenario. But they agreed the rent at £450 if she agreed to give him direct payments of rent from HB and then monthly payments of £90 cash which he would collect.

She was very quiet on the way home, she wasn’t happy about him turning up every month and felt that it wasn’t the right thing to do.

Now here is where it gets a bit complicated so please bare with me;
He wanted 3 months up front of the full agreed rent of £450 which was £1350
We then filled her benefit application form in with the landlord with us giving him direct payments and (we didn’t realise at the time) permission to access her details (we have since found out the council only pay direct if the person applying is incapable of handling their finances which she is most certainly not!)

In her mind she wanted to stay in the house for 2/3 years so what she did was this; with what little savings she had she worked out the difference between the asking rent and benefit amount which was £90 times by 24 which was £2160. He also wanted a deposit bit greedy I thought.

We went to his house to sign and get a contract she asked him for his bank details to put this extra amount in, he would not give it saying he didn’t trust UK banks and that his pocket was his bank. SO she gave him £2160 telling him that this was the difference in rent for 2 years.

Now just one other thing the start date for HB to him was for 3 months after she had moved in as she had already given him 3 months in advance she needed to claim that back so his actual payments were due to start on November 23rd 13 weeks from the date she moved in so the £90 payments in theory should have started also in November. We took a rent book all amounts were entered and he signed each amount promising a contract.

OK last lap, 8 weeks after she moved in she fell ill and was rushed into Hospital and was diagnosed with COPD the boiler in the house didn’t work properly he wouldn’t sort it out I tried to get him to deal with it to no avail, so most of the time she lived in a very cold environment.

Whilst in hospital she got a text from this man telling her to leave the house asap his reason was that he didn’t agree to her pets and wanted her out. I went to see him and he turned really nasty. Neither of us could understand his attitude. He kept up the texts until she gave in and we looked for somewhere else.

We tried to contact him many times for the return of the £2160. The house was cleaned from top to bottom I went to see him to give the chance to come and inspect he refused saying he would do it after Christmas some 4 weeks away when he would sort things out.

In January she contacted him requesting her money back, he told her he would not be giving any money back as she had left the house in a very bad state, this was not true I have photo’s proving this and a statement from the cleaner on how the property was left.

She was also waiting for her money back from Liverpool HB when we contacted them they said that they had written to this man but he wouldn’t confirm that she had been his tenant she had no tenancy but she did have the rent book with his signature after a bit of argy bargy they paid up.

It was at this point I decided to do a bit of investigating I checked on Zoopla the value of his property he was living in and then did a land registry check, to my horror I found that he had been made bankrupt for the 2nd time in July 2 months before she moved in by of all companies but Liverpool Council the previous order was Croydon Council.

When at his house he told us that he had bought it for cash and what he paid for it he also said he had 3 other properties the 2 we saw and one in Croydon all which he paid cash for all confirmed by the LR searches.

I then did a search at the London Gazette site to find out who was dealing with his affairs, I wrote to the company concerned asking them for advice, I also told them that he was still renting his property and was trying to obtain cash from his tenants without telling them, his home is a 6 bedroomed property which he rents rooms for cash, to be honest I gave them a lot of information they didn’t know and got nothing in return, only a copy of his bankruptcy notice which I already had. And that he shouldn’t have rented the property without their permission thus breaking his bankruptcy conditions.

She took him to court and won, but where do you go from there we tried to put a charge on his property but was told we couldn’t do this because he was in bankruptcy. We thought of debt collector but she felt there was nothing in his house of real value

Looking back, We think he knew what he was doing he had no money himself and saw this lady as his bank NOT his pocket, I personally handed her application form to HB yet when we wrote to them they had no record of her application form, I believe that during that first 8 weeks he cancelled her application, knowing that he was going to throw her out also that he was doing wrong by not telling his trustee’s of the income he was going to get from the rent.
If indeed he would have, by getting rent money from the very people who made him bankrupt in the first place albeit that HB comes from a completely different department altogether but I don’t think he knew that.
None of this money was put into a protection scheme, because he didn’t see it as a deposit and to be fair we didn’t know about these schemes else it would have been pursued. Having previously been a long term tenant, big deposits were never asked for or indeed needed.

Fortunately we found a landlord who took her on she had no money for a deposit or extra months. He himself is not a wealthy person the house is very basic and not really suitable for her needs,

All this has just set her back she is a virtual recluse and very rarely leaves the house it’s just awful what he has done, he was told when he sent the texts she was very ill in hospital and he called her a liar, we even drove up to Liverpool to confront him, when we got to the house he was there showing people around the property, I was already to have a go but she said no, and we came home, We have in some respects hit a brick wall, I just don’t know what to do next, any idea’s? Thank you for your time.

Joyduped



Comments

Neil Patterson

12:32 PM, 20th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Joy,

A very sorry story, but to start please see our Guide to enforcing judgements

>> http://www.property118.com/free-guide-enforcing-judgements/70013/

Robert Mellors

15:59 PM, 20th January 2015
About 4 years ago

This does sound dreadful, and it sounds like the landlord is conning potential tenants, (though of course we've only heard one side of the story). If you have a county court judgement against him then this needs to be declared to (and copy sent to) the Official Receiver who is dealing with his bankruptcy. It may be that your judgment can be included in the bankruptcy and you may get a small proportion of it from the liquidation of his assets. If it is too late to be included in the bankruptcy, then it will remain an outstanding debt that he owes to you. Incurring further debts (and not declaring assets/income) during a bankruptcy may be an offence, so the Official Receiver can take action against the landlord for this.

I'm not sure why you parted with so much money without getting a tenancy agreement, as this should never be done. Do not give strangers thousands of pounds in cash, and definitely don't do it if you haven't already got a valid legal agreement (tenancy) signed and in your possession.

If you make a Housing Benefit claim, you are given a claim reference number, so that is your proof of having made the claim. If you hand in any documents to the Council, e.g. a tenancy agreement, proof of income/benefits, any form, any letter, etc, ALWAYS get a receipt, as the Council will lose things and then say you never provided it, so always get a receipt and make sure the receipt says what exactly it is that you handed in. If you handed in the Housing Benefit form, then use the reference number you got, to prove that the HB claim was made. However, you also say that the HB Dept wrote to him and they eventually paid up, so again this is clear evidence that they had received a HB claim. The claim is in your friend's name, so the HB Dept would be willing to tell her what happened to the claim, e.g. when and why they cancelled it.

Neil Robb

22:05 PM, 24th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Wow this is why landlords get a bad name but we are not all like that in fact I would say very few are.

Any one asking such unreasonable amounts should have raised a red flag


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