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Castlevania

Am I being unreasonable? (Renting related)

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Wasn’t sure which forum to plonk this in so @spunko2010feel free to move somewhere more appropriate.

I live in a shared house. My landlords are currently trying to remortgage so as to release funds to do up their own house. However, being complete amateurs (playing at being landlords) I never signed a proper contract. I signed a lodger contract which I’m pretty sure isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, seeing as neither one of the two landlords lives there and more than two other people live in the house. So they’re trying to get us all to sign a proper contract so that they can show this to the bank to remortgage. 

I haven’t got a problem with signing a contract. The issue is that they converted the bedroom downstairs into a lounge for when the surveyor/valuer from the bank came around (they bunged my flatmate £300 for the disruption) so that they could borrow more. However the total rent on the contract whilst correct is now only covering 5 people as opposed to 6. I’m being pressured into signing it, which I think means I’ll be wilfully helping them commit mortgage fraud. I’m an accountant by trade. I can’t sign it can I? Or am I being an arse in refusing?

I think the best course of action is to tell them I can’t help them commit mortgage fraud and ask them to replace me off the contract with the housemate who’s currently not on there. I guess I run the risk of being kicked out? Which would be a shame as I like it here, but principles.

Any thoughts or suggestions as to the best course of action would be greatly appreciated.

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You haven't said but as you're not complaining about conditions then I would read into that that you have a nice rental there and the landlords are decent.

There have been vast numbers of cases of outrageous mortgage fund; their wishing to bump it up marginally, or make it more likely they will get the mortgage, by claiming five rentals rather than six I wouldn't have thought makes much difference to what they can borrow if the total on the contract is the same.

There are a lot of crooks in renting but they don't sound like that and I wouldn't have a problem with going along with signing.

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I would be a little concerned about this. I would also worry about what other hmo rules they are ignoring. Does this contract make you jointly and separately liable for the whole rent? If not, it would be odd to have anything other than your own rent listed.

But I get your concern. Does the 'contract' require your signature to be witnessed? (If they are really amateur it may not). If it doesn't, I would be inclined to sign it with an invented signature so that I could deny all knowledge if it was ever used against me.

PS Are they declaring their income to HMRC. They sound like chancers to me.

 

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13 minutes ago, Cunning Plan said:

I would be a little concerned about this. I would also worry about what other hmo rules they are ignoring. Does this contract make you jointly and separately liable for the whole rent? If not, it would be odd to have anything other than your own rent listed.

But I get your concern. Does the 'contract' require your signature to be witnessed? (If they are really amateur it may not). If it doesn't, I would be inclined to sign it with an invented signature so that I could deny all knowledge if it was ever used against me.

PS Are they declaring their income to HMRC. They sound like chancers to me.

 

Yup.

 

When anyone asks you to sign a legal document, your first question should be why, and who is benefiting.  In this case it is clearly them, not you, and I suspect that by signing a 'proper' rental contract you may be giving up some rights you have right now from not having one in place but having residence.  

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/tenants-without-a-written-contract/

 

So - I'd say to them sure, I will sign, but I want a months free rent as payment in kind.

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This sounds as though they are effectively trying to operate a HMO but it's not clear to me how they are presenting this to the bank or to the authorities. My basic understanding from when I was thinking of paying to live in a HMO several years ago is that each occupied bedroom would need to have a lock on the door, there would need to be fire escape plans and compliance to other health and safety requirements. Is that how they are operating it or do you think they will just be presenting it like a normal rental (and flouting HMO laws)?

As Cunning Plan questions, do you think everything is above board with declaring rental income to HMRC?

If both of these points raise questions about their character I would not be signing a legal document, that's before this jiggery pockery with pretending a room in use as a bedroom is a lounge for mortgage approval purposes. On a separate point I wonder if the banks are obliged to check that the house is being legally registered as a HMO with the local authority - surely if they are presented with 5 or 6 contracts they would have to do this?

As others have said, the environment and how you are treated is obviously important so if you decide to still sign the document then just put it down to facing the ridiculous situation we have in the UK with rentals.

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1 hour ago, Cunning Plan said:

I would be a little concerned about this. I would also worry about what other hmo rules they are ignoring.

 

They’re not registered on the local council’s HMO register. 

I’m pretty sure they aren’t paying tax either. They love Jeremy Corbyn too. Typical middle class social justice warrior types. Great as long as you personally don’t have to contribute.

Edited by Castlevania

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I should also add that all their mortgage statements before they tried to renegotiate were sent to our house. 

I have my dossier. Will fuck them over. But only after I’ve moved out, which hopefully won’t be for a while.

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45 minutes ago, Castlevania said:

I should also add that all their mortgage statements before they tried to renegotiate were sent to our house. 

I have my dossier. Will fuck them over. But only after I’ve moved out, which hopefully won’t be for a while.

So they want you with no benefit to yourself help them to commit mortgage fraud even though I suspect this would be at a minimum frowned upon by the professional accounting bodies  or maybe could stop you practicing (I do not know I am not an accountant) . They want you to live in a HMO with none of the legal or safety aspects … it would cost them money. Suspect they skimp on the other safety checks such as gas and there is probably no proper smoke alarm system or fire extinguishers / fire blanket available. They are probably not paying the due taxes to HMRC … that’s OK as you and I will make up the shortfall. And as they are willing to f*** with the tax people and mortgage people and the legal / safety people, do not worry I am sure that one day when they decide you are no longer required you will find your stuff outside in black bin bags as you have no valid contact to live there … and no reference. Scumlords of the first order, Rachman is probably their role model. Oh and it is highly unlikely that you will be able to f*** them over. (If you watch the Can’t Pay programs you will see that landlords basically get away with murder and sometimes after months and months even get a ’strongly worded letter’ from the council.) Stay or leave, I would be looking to leave and certainly not knowingly signing a document to enable fraud.

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3 hours ago, Castlevania said:

Wasn’t sure which forum to plonk this in so @spunko2010feel free to move somewhere more appropriate.

I live in a shared house. My landlords are currently trying to remortgage so as to release funds to do up their own house. However, being complete amateurs (playing at being landlords) I never signed a proper contract. I signed a lodger contract which I’m pretty sure isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, seeing as neither one of the two landlords lives there and more than two other people live in the house. So they’re trying to get us all to sign a proper contract so that they can show this to the bank to remortgage. 

I haven’t got a problem with signing a contract. The issue is that they converted the bedroom downstairs into a lounge for when the surveyor/valuer from the bank came around (they bunged my flatmate £300 for the disruption) so that they could borrow more. However the total rent on the contract whilst correct is now only covering 5 people as opposed to 6. I’m being pressured into signing it, which I think means I’ll be wilfully helping them commit mortgage fraud. I’m an accountant by trade. I can’t sign it can I? Or am I being an arse in refusing?

I think the best course of action is to tell them I can’t help them commit mortgage fraud and ask them to replace me off the contract with the housemate who’s currently not on there. I guess I run the risk of being kicked out? Which would be a shame as I like it here, but principles.

Any thoughts or suggestions as to the best course of action would be greatly appreciated.

It sounds like theyve made up a rentaroom contract which they are trying to apply to a hmo - more than 4-5 unrealted people.

They are probably in big shit with the LA and mortgage providor.

Id not worrk about signing made up contracts. You are accoubtant not a lawyer. Youre not commiting the fraud, they are.

They sound fucking idiots.

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50 minutes ago, Castlevania said:

I should also add that all their mortgage statements before they tried to renegotiate were sent to our house. 

I have my dossier. Will fuck them over. But only after I’ve moved out, which hopefully won’t be for a while.

Theyve fucked themselves over.

Theyll have at least 2 houses registered to them. Hmrc will have the mortgage details.

Do you pay rent by direct debit? If  so, hmrc will have that too.

All thats amiss is the idiot bank that fucked up by allowing them to borrow without doing the half arsed of checks.

Banks are forced to check now.

Theyll be in big shut with LA for operating a HMO. If either have a professional job they risk losing due to criminal charges.

Which LA?

 

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14 minutes ago, spygirl said:

Theyve fucked themselves over.

Theyll have at least 2 houses registered to them. Hmrc will have the mortgage details.

Do you pay rent by direct debit? If  so, hmrc will have that too.

All thats amiss is the idiot bank that fucked up by allowing them to borrow without doing the half arsed of checks.

Banks are forced to check now.

Theyll be in big shut with LA for operating a HMO. If either have a professional job they risk losing due to criminal charges.

Which LA?

 

Lewisham

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13 hours ago, Castlevania said:

I haven’t got a problem with signing a contract. The issue is that they converted the bedroom downstairs into a lounge for when the surveyor/valuer from the bank came around (they bunged my flatmate £300 for the disruption) so that they could borrow more. However the total rent on the contract whilst correct is now only covering 5 people as opposed to 6.

What else is in the contract?

What's to stop them asking for an extra person's rent once you've signed a contract and agreed legally to pay them the level of rent they want.

Is the HMO legal? 
There's two points to this - paperwork and the reason for paperwork. More people = more fire risk.
Ensure the house is safe - even if you like living there ensure it meets all requirements for a HMO. Else move.
There's no point liking somewhere if it could kill you.

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14 hours ago, Castlevania said:

Wasn’t sure which forum to plonk this in so @spunko2010feel free to move somewhere more appropriate.

I live in a shared house. My landlords are currently trying to remortgage so as to release funds to do up their own house. However, being complete amateurs (playing at being landlords) I never signed a proper contract. I signed a lodger contract which I’m pretty sure isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, seeing as neither one of the two landlords lives there and more than two other people live in the house. So they’re trying to get us all to sign a proper contract so that they can show this to the bank to remortgage. 

I haven’t got a problem with signing a contract. The issue is that they converted the bedroom downstairs into a lounge for when the surveyor/valuer from the bank came around (they bunged my flatmate £300 for the disruption) so that they could borrow more. However the total rent on the contract whilst correct is now only covering 5 people as opposed to 6. I’m being pressured into signing it, which I think means I’ll be wilfully helping them commit mortgage fraud. I’m an accountant by trade. I can’t sign it can I? Or am I being an arse in refusing?

I think the best course of action is to tell them I can’t help them commit mortgage fraud and ask them to replace me off the contract with the housemate who’s currently not on there. I guess I run the risk of being kicked out? Which would be a shame as I like it here, but principles.

Any thoughts or suggestions as to the best course of action would be greatly appreciated.

Are you and the other tenants on speaking terms ?

I'd suggest that together, you have quite a strong position to sort out your shyster landlord.

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On 04/08/2018 at 22:24, Castlevania said:

They’re really not

https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/housing/landlords/hmo/Pages/default.aspx

They are now, apparently. I went to school with the Councillor who's the cabinet member for housing, and had a brief chat with him at the count for the Lewisham East by-election; learned that they're desperate for money (and to get more housing built, apparently...but also to house more asylum seekers?! ).

Anyway, be sure to dob in your landlord; don't do it before the 1st October though obviously, and definitely don't do it before 28th September :) .

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21 minutes ago, Great Guy said:

Did you sign the contract?

No. Apparently it wasn’t required after all.

I’m still waiting for my EPC and confirmation that my deposit has been bonded in one of the Government schemes

Edited by Castlevania

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