OpenRent Community

My landlady has refused to give me the keys

Hi. I was just wondering where I stand legally.
I signed a contract for a property so I gave notice where I was living with my partner and 3 children. We arranged a move in date and a payment date for the first month’s rent and deposit. I paid all the money and now the landlady has changed her mind and no longer wants to rent to us. I have tried to contact her but now she says I can no longer speak to her and she is in discussion with her solicitor.
This has left myself, my partner and our 3 children without a home and spending Christmas in a Travelodge.
Please can someone help. I don’t know what to do next.

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Well I.

know what I would do, and I am a landlord. If I were a tenant I would get a locksmith get into the place that I had a contract for and paid for and live there…But everyone else will disagree with that

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I think I’m with Colin on this one. If she has specifically told you that you can’t have the place though it might cause problems. You have a contract to supply but not yet a tenancy. That comes when you take possession.

You can sue her for your costs and perhaps this is the best bet. You should probably tell her or her solicitor that you will send her the Travellodge bill

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travel lodge bill is a good idea

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I have said that I want the bill for the Travelodge paid. My problem is how can you put a price on your children having no Christmas because you had to spend your money on the Travelodge instead. I am utterly devistated. My partner has mental health problems with suicidal thoughts. He is in a really bad way because of this.

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You could go to the Council. They have a duty to house you in these circumstances, It may well be a B&B until after Xmas though.

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I have got hold of them already. They are looking into our case and getting back to me in the morning. Luckily we have quite a good support system around us. Our only problem really is that we are a family of 5 with no immediate family near us. Our work have been amazing and really supportive. We really couldn’t have imagined anyone helping as much as they have but we just don’t have anyone of family who’s house we can go to for dinner and paying for the Travelodge has meant we have no money now for the children’s presents.
It’s really unfortunate but I am so lucky to have children that completely understand what has happened.
At the same time, we should not have had to go through this at any point. Let alone Christmas.

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So, although you haven’t moved in - technically you are renting. I would call the police and say you’ve been illegally evicted. Show proof of payment and your signed contract. When the police become involved and the LL might be arrested then will hand you the keys very quickly.

Make sure you get very fair compensation before you decide not to have them arrested - all your expenses plus a grand for your inconvenience is fair.

I’m a LL and think this type of behaviour is appalling.

Have you checked the property to see if they’ve rented it to someone else?

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Problem is it seems he has some money and they might not help him in that situation.

They might also consider this some type of self-inflicted homelessness.

Actually, what I think the Council would say is stay where you are. The OP could try negotiating that first and if the existing landlord says no, the Council should regard them as homeless as the tenancy will have ended.

Could you elaborate on why it would be a self inflicted homelessness problem?

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So the tenancy was fully signed by both parties correct? Then its too late for her to change her mind. Legally she cannot evict you without any reason before the tenancy is up. As was already suggested just get a locksmith and break into the property. Send the landlady a spare set of keys if stated in your contract. If not then by law you don’t have to give her a spare set. Don’t forget to send her the locksmith bill too!

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Well, they would point to the fact that there is a valid contract and voluntarily left the previous home.

I’m just saying they might. They might also help him when his money runs out. But they, more often than not, try to avoid taking responsibility.

The only problem I see with getting a locksmith is if there is someone else living there (landlady may have put them there with an equally valid contract) then getting the locksmith in is breaking in.

Hence why I suggested going there with the police.

What a rotten landlady, she at the very least owes you an explanation and full compensation.
If she can do this before you move in what on earth will she be like if you did move in. You must get some legal advice and then sue her including the cost of the legal help and getting another rental property.
So hope you can get some help.

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We’re you totally upfront with the landlord about your references? Or did you keep those to yourself?
I think as a potential tenant it’s vital that you are honest about previous landlord references etc

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Actually I had passed the references before signing the contract.

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Shelley, what LL takes references AFTER signing contract?

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I doubt the police would get involved as it’s more a civil matter and they would probably advise engaging a solicitor

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There has to be more to this than the Landlady just changing her mind at the eleventh hour. I find it hard to believe that after all paperwork has been completed and signed by both parties that a simple change of mind has placed a family in a homeless situation. It would be interesting to hear the Landlady take on this . However on face value the deposit has been paid and the agreement signed, she must have a better reason for cancelling the deal other than a change of mind and the tenant is entitled to a full explanation plus a lot more.

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