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I'm not sure what else to do.

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Author Topic: I'm not sure what else to do.  (Read 288 times)
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« on: March 14, 2022, 08:26:52 PM »

Hello guys,

I am from South Wales, the rented property is also South Wales.

I began renting from a private landlord in October 2020 and a shorthold tenancy, we renewed as of October 2021 until October this year. From the beginning I was cautious as we have a pay as you go electric meter and gas meter in a hairdressers beneath us (we live in a flat) and although we have full responsibility of our gas meter, the landlord has run the actual electric meter itself into a private meter which is located in our flat, we've requested for the bill prior but was refused access to our electric bill or the utility overall.

Previous to the rise in energy, we were paying for every 5 pound electric token 8, now with the rise he is expecting us to pay 12 pound per token, overall for every 5 pound token would mean an additional 7 pound. On average I'll buy 20 pounds worth of electric a week, this will now cost me 48 pounds. Alongside the rise of electric, I came to realise that he has also been charging us for "Pet Rent" which seems to be something happening in England but not Wales or Scotland, so has also been charging us 80 pound extra on top our rent monthly for 2 cats.

When I queried about the electric and asked for a bill, I also queried the pet rent and he threatened to evict us, I reminded him that there are certain protocols he needs to adhere too and he can't just randomly evict us for asking for proof of our energy bill, he's served me a section 21.

I received an email from him stating that the "pet rent" was now a bond, which would total to 1400 pound (700 pound per cat) and I no longer needed to pay monthly payments towards the cats, so alongside that and my other initial bond, he now has 2100 pounds in bonds, however, I've confirmed that the only deposit in holding at the moment is the initial 700 which was paid to move in and there is no other "bond" of 1400 is on record.

I've called everyone I could, housing can help with the eviction but I have no luck with the energy bill, I requested for it 10 days ago, they've managed to put an eviction notice and a notice to rise my rent over these 10 days but no bill, I emailed requesting again today but when I went to the office they stated they didn't receive the email, I said would they be able to produce this by Friday as that would be 14 days and I'll send an email with a read receipt next time, she said it was their utility bill and that I would not be having it. They're not overly co-operative and have pretty much ignored every email and message I have sent them but have happily emailed me to state what else they may charge me on, or that they're kicking me out so I'm kinda stumped of what I do.

Do I have right to see my energy costs so that he can prove I owe him that much energy, considering it is a pay as you go meter he is only allowed to charge me a certain amount and also pet rent, how do I go about seeing if this is unlawful or where my money may be or is going as I did not release it for bond, nor have I received any information about this?
 
I have also gone to the energy provider, due to his name being on the account I cannot access it.

Citizens advice haven't helped at all, I've been passed back and forth. Housing can only help with my eviction and now I'm worried I will not afford electric with the higher price that he is charging but cannot access the information to see if what he is charging is even correct.

Sorry for the masses of text, I hope someone can help and everyone is safe.

Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2022, 10:19:01 AM »

This is beyond my experience,but two points.Unless there is a 6 month break clause they can't get you out until October  (at the earliest) Also,something like this arose before, and I don't believe a landlord can resell the energy at a profit. On the face of it,this is a very greedy and crafty landlord. Have you tried Shelter,they are more bolshy than CAB about tenant's rights. The energy company should be able to deal with the general issue of a landlord making a profit like this. The fact that you are in Wales could be relevant.
My advice would be to contact your town councillor for an informal chat. You can find his/her name and details online.
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2022, 03:49:44 PM »

There's a lot to unpick here... and everything I might say can be questioned because it's Wales.

Firstly... the Section 21 has to be valid. If you have renewed your tenancy in October 2021 (and the previous renewal was October 2020) I'm going to assume you've got a fixed term of a 12 months - a Section 21 cannot be served today... for expiry in the normal timeframe of "at least" 2 months... it can only be served to expire at the end of the fixed term (unless there's a sneaky Break Clause in there) which would be October 2022.

Secondly... a Landlord can no longer take an additional Deposit for pets. This used to be common practice. The Deposit amount that can be taken now is limited too (to 5 weeks of rent)... it can't be, say, triple the rent amount... (which we do not know here)... but it's seemingly up at 2,100 that's been  taken... and you can't just invent different types of Deposit on top of a Security Deposit, so it's likely the rules are being broken here and the Landlord is banking on your ignorance. This may well be different in Wales... but even then you'd assume it cannot be a multiplier and it must also be Protected.

Thirdly... on your actual Deposit, I think it's time you ascertained whether it is protected, correctly and in full, because it sounds, to me, like you're going to have a fight on your hands.

Fourthly... utilities... it is more usual for a Tenant to move the bills into their names when they take exclusive possession of a self-contained property. I think it's reasonable for the utility supplier to only talk to the account holder (rather than just someone who lives at that address) and, painfully, that's not you. Whether it's right, moral, allowed for a Landlord to make a profit by effectively "selling-on and marking-up" electricity payment tokens... I think we all would reckon the answer is "no". But I'm at a loss as to why you're not allowed to purchase these yourself from a third-party (corner shop or Post Office?). I may not understand the situation in full.

In light of everything... why aren't you more keen on voting with your feet? You know things are wrong here. You feel as though you're being ripped-off.

There are trustworthy Landlords and Agents out there... do whatever you can do to get yourself out of here.

And, as said above, I would start here - https://sheltercymru.org.uk/contact-us/
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2022, 06:05:40 PM »

I have just done some Googling.There does not appear to be any difference for Wales. re.the energy issue.Your landlord cannot stop you having your own meter installed.In your situation he can only charge for the exact amount you have used,and your proportion of the standing charges and VAT.It must state in the AST that this will be the agreement.You can reclaim anything overcharged,and the landlord has to provide you with a bill showing your usage.
I am also wondering if this little earner he has got going for him is declared on his tax return?  Just saying.
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2022, 12:33:34 PM »

Thank you all for your replies.

So the section 21 is valid, however I am not disputing this as I was going to leave after lease anyway, the fact the section is 20 days prior my lease end has made me chuckle slightly as I told all this to LL before he clearly wasted his time doing the same.

Unfortunately I do not have the right credit for an agency, I have a CCJ hence why I have to go through LL like him.

I've spent over 10 days sorting this, luckily Rentsmart has got back to me and has taken all the evidence (luckily I have kept everything) and they will be investigating however I still have to try to get ahold of my bill.

His name is on it, as if Friday through written requests he has refused my bill, I called my supplier again today and explained my situation with proof of legal advisory, as long as I send my tenancy over to prove I am at the property then I can have access to my bill, I'll be able to work out from there my actual costs and how much I have been over charged in this 18 month period.

My initial bond is in the scheme, however the "1400" seems to be nowhere, this is also being investigated.

Fingers crossed, unfortunately for him he seems to have underestimated me. He is known to take on people with financial difficulties and takes advantage of that. Thank god I have kept everything and I know a little about laws and legislations, I seem to be getting somewhere after a grueling 14 days of hair pulling.


Thank you for your help guys, keep safe
« Last Edit: March 16, 2022, 12:35:36 PM by Kelsmthom »
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2022, 05:11:40 PM »

Obviously I don't know the circumstances that got you a CCJ. You presumably did not dispute that you owed money,so have you thought about getting it paid off? There may be other ways in which this will continue to impede you,and you can stop people like the landlord having such power over your life.
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2022, 05:51:36 PM »

So the section 21 is valid,

If the deposit (all the deposit) hasn't been protected, and the Prescribed Information served, then the Section 21 is not valid.
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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2022, 01:31:39 PM »

Hey guys, so my CCJ has been paid off but it is still on my credit report, it was due to owed council tax after I left a property due to relationship breakdown and my ex partner didn't pay the bill which landed on me unfortunately, learned mistakes but I was refused the credit last time I tried agency and lost the admin fee unfortunately.

Interesting about the 21 not being valid, however I'm not sure how that'll be any use as my lease is up 20 days after said notice, so either/or I'd need to be out? Only reason I thought it was valid was due to housing associations I have been speaking with who looked at the section etc and confirmed it was valid? So super confusing.

I appreciate your help guys, I have found my energy supplier rates with a lot of poking and prodding, is anyone able to work out the extra charge he can put on there as I'm stumped about how to work this out, not sure if they mean standard charge per token or over a certain amount of days?!

5 pound token for every 20 KW of hours.
Standard charge 29.32p
And then the 5 percent VAT on the token I'd assume, which should be 5 percent of 5 pounds or is that incorrect?
All above prices are in the pence, not the pound.


All I want to know is how much I should pay so I can dispute this and pay the correct price when I collect more electric tomorrow.

Thank you all so much for your help.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2022, 06:07:11 PM by Kelsmthom »
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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2022, 02:52:09 PM »

Interesting about the 21 not being valid, however I'm not sure how that'll be any use as my lease is up 20 days after said notice, so either/or I'd need to be out?

The end of the lease agreement doesn't actually mean you have to go anywhere. If you continue to reside at the property after the end of the contracted period then a Statutory Periodic Tenancy arises. You can end an SPT by giving your landlord a full month's notice, but your landlord most give you two months' notice by means of a valid Section 21. Even after that your landlord can't just turf you out. He'll need to apply to the court for a possession order, which will only be granted if he's done the Section 21 correctly and, if it eventually got that far, get a bailiff to carry out the eviction. All of that can take months. I'd say there's no point hanging on to the bitter end but you should be aware that you've got more room for manoeuvre than you might think.
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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2022, 05:58:13 PM »

Quote
The end of the lease agreement doesn't actually mean you have to go anywhere. If you continue to reside at the property after the end of the contracted period then a Statutory Periodic Tenancy arises. You can end an SPT by giving your landlord a full month's notice, but your landlord most give you two months' notice by means of a valid Section 21. Even after that your landlord can't just turf you out. He'll need to apply to the court for a possession order, which will only be granted if he's done the Section 21 correctly and, if it eventually got that far, get a bailiff to carry out the eviction. All of that can take months. I'd say there's no point hanging on to the bitter end but you should be aware that you've got more room for manoeuvre than you might think.

Ah that is very helpful thank you. It seems him and his wife are unsure themselves as to why he is evicting me. Initially it was to sell the property, his wife commented on another landlords Facebook post after I'd commented to apologise how a tenant had left their property, that I'm being evicted for a bad attitude (myself and landlord had a disagreement about the energy bill) then the LL stated in same post it was due to my tenancy expiring. I've not responded but have taken photos, not sure if it adds substance but I am in process of sending all the evidence I have to Rent Smart Wales in regards to his electricity prices and "pet rent" add on, he has also increased my rent since the dispute which is dandy, I have been given a form by another organisation though to challenge the rent, considering he's been over charging me on my rent for 18 months already, then I may be able to challenge said costs? Again though, overall I just want a safe place to stay, I never wanted it to get to this level, all I wanted was a breakdown of my electric costs.

Thanks again, you've been brilliant
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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2022, 07:01:18 PM »

Sorry if a double post is not allowed but whats the minimum notice I can give if I wanted to leave within the section 21, just in case I manage to find a property and not have to wait til end of term to and find something.
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2022, 02:58:46 PM »

You'd need to give a minimum of one month's notice, ending on the tenancy period start/end date:

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting/ending_a_periodic_tenancy/how_much_notice
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