No contract ever signed; landlord trying to charge ten months retrospectively

Hello all,

I have rather a strange situation on my hands. I’m a teacher, and rent from my employer. I have been resident in a property since September, and my tenancy expires in two weeks. However, despite frequent, written requests, I have never received or signed a tenancy agreement, nor been charged any rent at all.

Today, I finally received a tenancy agreement out of the blue, attempting to charge me a £4000 bill, backdating rent to September. My question is, basically, do I have any leg to stand on?

Question 1:

As mentioned, I have never been sent nor signed a tenancy agreement for the property I live in, nor been charged any rent, despite repeated requests. I was, however, sent the following email last year, well before moving in:

‘Further to recent correspondence, this is to confirm that we can offer you a tenancy agreement for the rental of a room as part of a house share in School-owned accommodation for the academic year 2022-23. … The rental figure will be £400pcm, inclusive of services, Council Tax and TV Licence. At this stage in our planning, you would be allocated a room in Farm Court 1.
You will receive a tenancy agreement in due course but, in the meantime, it would be helpful to have an indication of whether you intend to take up this option.’

I replied, ‘I will gladly take up the offer of shared accommodation next year, in exchange for rent. Thank you very much for this.’

Does this constitute a binding agreement on my part?

The only reasons I am wondering if it might not are:

  1. It’s obviously not a formal tenancy agreement
    2: It says ‘You will receive a tenancy agreement in due course’, which suggests it isn’t one in itself, and asks for an indication of whether I intend to take it up, not formal confirmation.
    3: I was in the end put in another property, not Farm Court 1. The house I was eventually given is 25 minutes from the school, as opposed to Farm Court, which is on site, and is therefore a very different arrangement.

Question 2: Due to a a number of complications, when I moved into the house in September, it was owned by the local parish, not the school. I have emails confirming this, and stating that I would have to be a notional house guest of the parish priest, who was legally if not actually resident. The school, at some unspecified point after September, began renting the house from the parish and in turn renting it out to me (although, of course, still without any tenancy agreement). Am I right to think that they have no right to charge me rent for months in which they neither owned nor rented the property themselves, and during which I was technically a lodger of the priest? Should I at least demand to see the rental agreement that the school has with the parish, and check at what date that began?

Pay the rent. Why would you want to be a freeloader…well that’s the moral answer


Whilst I agree that your landlord has fallen down on the job, the answer to your question is yes, you have a tenancy and owe the agreed rent. Tenancies dont need to be written or signed to be valid. They can be verbally agreed and begin as soon as you take possession of the property. The rent will be due. You should have been putting the agreed rent aside each month. I suggest you ask for a payment plan to pay off the arrears.

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You owe what you owe. Didn’t you know that spongers always go straight to he.ll? :grinning:


Wow, the teacher who wants to do a moonflip without paying the rent. It’s not what you teach your students, is it? And coming here for an advice of how to get scott-free. What a cheek! I guess tenants are a very special breed of immoral, regardless of education and profession. Oh, well, thanks for reminder.


what a teacher ratbag . I bet you got the keys and had a verbal contract . Teach others the same do you? In life you will get what you deserve


I think everyone else’s comments sum up the consensus of feeling. I understand the Landlord might not have ticked all the boxes, but this accommodation was part of your job, and you knew it would cost. Presumably the £400pm has been put to one side. Pay up


To all LL: when you do the viewings, check if one of the applicants bears name Gareth Brooks and is a teacher. I wish we had a clandestine list of bad tenants. I know, I know.


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