weroni
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Hello,

I have a slight problem. I have a contract with my landlord, who I assumed was a private landlord, but only few days ago I found out that he's not supposed to rent this place to anyone, that this place is owned by GHA and he's renting it illegally. They found out about it and he told us we'll have to move out in 2 weeks since he cannot rent it to anyone he claims he'll probably be unable to give us back our deposit or the rent we already paid for the full month.

I am trying not to do anything rash, as you can probably tell that I'm extremely angry. How valid is the contract we signed? What should be my steps now?

I am an international student so this is a really bad situation, since I don't have any family to rely on and 2 weeks is an extremely short time to find a new suitable flat (area, location, etc.)

Thank you for any kind of advice, I really appreciate it.
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claireestelle
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(Original post by weroni)
Hello,

I have a slight problem. I have a contract with my landlord, who I assumed was a private landlord, but only few days ago I found out that he's not supposed to rent this place to anyone, that this place is owned by GHA and he's renting it illegally. They found out about it and he told us we'll have to move out in 2 weeks since he cannot rent it to anyone he claims he'll probably be unable to give us back our deposit or the rent we already paid for the full month.

I am trying not to do anything rash, as you can probably tell that I'm extremely angry. How valid is the contract we signed? What should be my steps now?

I am an international student so this is a really bad situation, since I don't have any family to rely on and 2 weeks is an extremely short time to find a new suitable flat (area, location, etc.)

Thank you for any kind of advice, I really appreciate it.
do you know if the deposit was protected at all?
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weroni
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In the flat rental agreement terms & conditions it does say that it shall be refunded to the tenant at the end of the period, however ended...
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doodle_333
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I'm pretty sure the fact your landlord was breaking his housing contract will have nothing to do with your rights since you have a contract with him and it's a standard contract. That means the notice given on your contract is what your landlord should be serving you with and I'd guess that's more than 2 weeks. Just so you know - he can't manually force you to leave the property so if you don't find anywhere to live you can basically refuse to leave until you're evicted. Obviously you'll want to leave asap as it will be stressful to try and stay and fight the landlord but don't make yourself homeless or pay for a hotel or anything unnecessarily. In terms of looking for a place to live, there will be students wanting to give up rooms and airbnb can often help you out in a tight spot for a reasonable price if you book for a month or more.

Your deposit should have been protected by a deposit protection scheme and if it's not then you're entitled to 3x the deposit back in compensation if you pursue it. So if your landlord claims he 'can't return the deposit' (which has no logical reasoning since it's not HIS money, it's a deposit, makes no difference to give it you now or in 6 months) ask him which scheme it's protected with as you'd like to submit a claim. If he can't tell you then let him know you'll be reporting the fact the deposit wasn't protected to your local council and he could get into a lot of trouble - but you won't do that if he returns it, along with any overpayment of rent.
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weroni
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(Original post by doodle_333)
I'm pretty sure the fact your landlord was breaking his housing contract will have nothing to do with your rights since you have a contract with him and it's a standard contract. That means the notice given on your contract is what your landlord should be serving you with and I'd guess that's more than 2 weeks. Just so you know - he can't manually force you to leave the property so if you don't find anywhere to live you can basically refuse to leave until you're evicted. Obviously you'll want to leave asap as it will be stressful to try and stay and fight the landlord but don't make yourself homeless or pay for a hotel or anything unnecessarily. In terms of looking for a place to live, there will be students wanting to give up rooms and airbnb can often help you out in a tight spot for a reasonable price if you book for a month or more.

Your deposit should have been protected by a deposit protection scheme and if it's not then you're entitled to 3x the deposit back in compensation if you pursue it. So if your landlord claims he 'can't return the deposit' (which has no logical reasoning since it's not HIS money, it's a deposit, makes no difference to give it you now or in 6 months) ask him which scheme it's protected with as you'd like to submit a claim. If he can't tell you then let him know you'll be reporting the fact the deposit wasn't protected to your local council and he could get into a lot of trouble - but you won't do that if he returns it, along with any overpayment of rent.
OK thank you very much for this, because he acts as if there was no contract between us or he just assumes that I won't do anything if he breaks it. When they found out he's renting it to us, he went to their office and came back, then told me that I'll have to move out in 2 weeks (he said he tried to persuade them that we're not paying any rent and lied to them about how long we've been here for) and then he said that "it's a good thing that they believed that you're not paying any rent, because if they knew I was renting it they'd have changed the locks right away" ...which I think it cannot be true that they believed him that we're not paying any rent.

They can't do that, right? The can't just come here and throw us out right away, especially if we have a contract with him? They have to give us at least 28 days? He basically tried to scare us that if we talk to the people who own this place and show them our contract with him, then we would be kicked out right away. He's supposed to get a home inspection on Monday morning and he wants to bring some of his things here so that he can pretend he lives here and he wants me and my sister to leave for the inspection so that they wouldn't get a chance to ask us any questions.

I am really mad that we're in this situation and I'm not sure what to do, since so far I haven't found a new place to live in.
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username457532
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I would suggest you try to get some advice from Shelter ASAP. They have a phone advice line and should be able to tell you what your landlord and the housing association legally can and can't do. Citizen's Advice might also be a good place to get some help.
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Klix88
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(Original post by weroni)
OK thank you very much for this, because he acts as if there was no contract between us or he just assumes that I won't do anything if he breaks it. When they found out he's renting it to us, he went to their office and came back, then told me that I'll have to move out in 2 weeks (he said he tried to persuade them that we're not paying any rent and lied to them about how long we've been here for) and then he said that "it's a good thing that they believed that you're not paying any rent, because if they knew I was renting it they'd have changed the locks right away" ...which I think it cannot be true that they believed him that we're not paying any rent.

They can't do that, right? The can't just come here and throw us out right away, especially if we have a contract with him? They have to give us at least 28 days? He basically tried to scare us that if we talk to the people who own this place and show them our contract with him, then we would be kicked out right away. He's supposed to get a home inspection on Monday morning and he wants to bring some of his things here so that he can pretend he lives here and he wants me and my sister to leave for the inspection so that they wouldn't get a chance to ask us any questions.

I am really mad that we're in this situation and I'm not sure what to do, since so far I haven't found a new place to live in.
Go to your Student Union. They will have a Housing Officer who understands exactly what your legal situation is - I doubt this will be the first case like this in a uni town.

Unfortunately your contract with your "landlord" is likely to be legally void, as he was not in a position to make it.
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