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Legal advice - Issue with the Landlord's Familly!

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maxsgp
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Legal advice - Issue with the Landlord's Familly!

Postby maxsgp » Fri, 18 Oct 2013 12:02 pm

Hi guys,

I am facing an issue with my flat and would like to ask you for advice.

We have a tenancy agreement with the Landlord with all the usual things aver there and everything is ok with the Landlord.

The problem is that few days ago we received a letter form the lawyers of some person who claim to be co-owner of the place. They are saying: "We are instructed that our client's consent to rent the property to you was not obtained chen you signe the Tenancy agreement with <the>. As such the said TA is not valid".

And they are asking us to leave the place within 30 days...

So obviously we contacted the owner since it looks like family problem on her side but in the mean time I d like to understand whether they have a point of not.

This is crazy right? We signed the TA we paid our deposit and our rent and now this?
If this person is really a co tenant and we were never told about it, can they consider the TA not valid?

Should I get a lawyer to address this?

Thanks for your help guys.

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Fri, 18 Oct 2013 1:40 pm

First of all ... exhale.

It sounds like, a jointly owned property, then divorce, and she (?) then wants to kick the tenant out of their property and move in.

Don't let it phase you. In cases like this the lawyers opening letter is a complete blunderbuss intended to scare the living wits out of you.

Chill, 'Two fingers to them'. What can they do?


'Consent to rent' and all the rest is bluster. YOU ARE IN OCCUPATION. It is your home. >>> Ask them on what Grounds they imagine the tenancy is invalid. Let them lay out the specific detail, rather than you having to try to figure it out. After all, they're making the claim.

That'll see them.

[Kiss good-bye to any deposit btw]....

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Postby x9200 » Fri, 18 Oct 2013 2:00 pm

Yep, and even if TA is "invalid" your presence over there is permitted by one of the co-owners so I don't think it is that easy to kick you out. Besides, it is in the best interest of your LL to find an acceptable solution and to agree with the 2nd owner. If not, she will be in really deep *beep*. So will be the agents if there were any involved. Ensure she is aware of it and let her take some action.

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Postby maxsgp » Fri, 18 Oct 2013 3:47 pm

Thank you guys, this makes me feel (a bit) better!

Do you think I should contact the lawyers of the co-owner myself? If yes should I send some kind of official letter or just a call?

Do you really think I wont see my deposit back? I mean, worst case scenario the one at fault is the one I know as the owner. If something goes wrong he should give me my money back. ((Even more than that in court for prejudice)) right?

I dont plan or want to go to court I am just talking hypothetically!

Thanks again for the quick response, it helped a lot.

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Postby PNGMK » Fri, 18 Oct 2013 4:08 pm

1. Firstly establish who exactly owns the apartment. You wouldn't be the first to rent from a non owner.

2. If indeed you have rented from non owners, you're out of luck.

3. If you've rented from a part owner you have some recourse here to go after damages from that part owner if you lose your deposit etc.

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Postby x9200 » Fri, 18 Oct 2013 4:59 pm

He has the recourse in any case. The difference owner-non-owner is that for the later he is unlikely to stay in the apartment and the non-ower is likely to face criminal charges (depending on the circumstances).

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Postby katbh » Fri, 18 Oct 2013 5:06 pm

It seems to me that the letter is just bluster aimed to rattle your landlord, not you. They have probably been sending letters to your landlord who is ignoring them, and they think if they contact you directly, they will scare the landlord into responding. It is likely that the one landlord is not paying the other landlord their share of the rent, and this is the only way they can get him/her to respond

JR8 is correct. Let them do the running. YOU do not have to prove who owns the apartment - make them do it. They have to show to you why they believe your lease is invalid. They have the onus of proof. It is my opinion that you have a valid lease if it is signed by only one of the owners. But I am not a property lawyer so do not hold me to it!

At this time you do not need to brief a lawyer. Your next move should be a LETTER from you to the second landlord's lawyers. Not a phone call as this will not necessarily go on the record - they may not make a file note of the attendance. You need to say something like -

'We refer to your letter dated [date]. We, [name/s on lease] have a valid Tenancy Agreement, signed on [date]. The Agreement was signed by the owner of the property [name] and is valid for [two] years ending on [date]. You do not have ground to terminate the Agreement.
Please advise the legal basis for your allegation that the Tenancy Agreement is 'invalid'. '

They will then need to give you the legal reasons for their assertions - not some mamby pamby fluff, but the real concrete legal reasons why. I suspect that you will not hear from them again.

But if they do come back to you, if it is not settled, then you can ask them for an ORIGINAL search on the property done within the previous 7 days showing the legal owners and the basis upon which they hold the property.

Ask for ALL CONTACT TO BE IN WRITING - do not use the phone or text because you need to keep a paper trail to show lawyers or the court if necessary.

If the matter does not resolve at this stage (and I suspect it will), you will need to go to a lawyer. But at least you will have all the information set out and it will not have cost you a cent.

Do not withhold rent or do anything that is against your lease - because this will give them grounds to evict you.

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Postby x9200 » Fri, 18 Oct 2013 5:17 pm

katbh wrote: [date]. We, [name/s on lease] have a valid Tenancy Agreement, signed on [date]. The Agreement was signed by the owner of the property [name] and is valid for [two] years ending on [date]. You do not have ground to terminate the Agreement.

s/invalidate

[..]
If the matter does not resolve at this stage (and I suspect it will), you will need to go to a lawyer.

Only if the 1st LL ignores you or fails to act. Give him a chance to solve the mess.

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Postby durain » Fri, 18 Oct 2013 5:40 pm

i dont know if it's a scam but sounds like i heard this before...

so tenant moved in, deposit paid and all is well. after a few months, got letters from lawyer about repossession order, etc, etc, etc. tenant contact LL and LL gave some sad story. the agent also got involved and said this and that about the LL too, and offer to compensate the tenant some money and look for another property. tenant agreed and moved out.

next thing, the property is out on the market for rental again! with the same LL!!!

(i am not sure if the agent is in the scam as well as they could be in the same agency but with different company name)

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 18 Oct 2013 6:58 pm

PNGMK wrote:1. Firstly establish who exactly owns the apartment. You wouldn't be the first to rent from a non owner.

2. If indeed you have rented from non owners, you're out of luck.

3. If you've rented from a part owner you have some recourse here to go after damages from that part owner if you lose your deposit etc.


Potentially confusing advice. Even if Joe*1 approaches Joe*2 on the street and *2 agrees to rent a flat off *1 that *1 claims he owns, but in fact has no link with at all, *2 still has tenure.

Sounds far-fetched maybe, but this does occasionally happen (in the UK - from which most SGn law derives).

I.e. You don't only have to rent from 'owners'. You can be a tenant of a tenant, i.e. a sub-tenant. Though do note that many leases will try and stop sub-letting.

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Postby maxsgp » Wed, 23 Oct 2013 4:00 pm

Hi Guys,

thanks for your advice(s). I ll do the letter and send it to the person lawyer.

Do you think that they can kick me out when the time they gave is over?
The supposed second landlord is now coming almost daily to drop letters...

Hopefully this will get settled. soon.

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 23 Oct 2013 6:51 pm

maxsgp wrote:Hi Guys,

thanks for your advice(s). I ll do the letter and send it to the person lawyer.

Do you think that they can kick me out when the time they gave is over?
The supposed second landlord is now coming almost daily to drop letters...

Hopefully this will get settled. soon.


Assuming it works as in the UK, they can apply to a court for an eviction order*. This takes time, and everyone is well in the loop of the ramifications.

p.s. 'Dropping letters every day'; in the UK that would be considered harassment. Perhaps you should tell them in writing to stop harassing you, otherwise you'll sue them. ..



* But you can't do this whilst the tenant is on a valid tenancy, rather, you 'serve Notice', as is outlined and permitted in the Tenancy Agreement.

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Postby katbh » Wed, 23 Oct 2013 8:52 pm

If the landlord is really hassling you, you should make a police report. They will act.


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