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What are my rights?


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Hi, can anyone qualified help me.

In September 2022 a new owner took on my flat (I am a sitting tenant under the 1977 Rent Act). He'd never seen the flat or met me.

His so called Managing Agent wrote to me telling me that a new 'Investor' had bought the flat and that I should pay the rent over to them instead and to talk to them about any repairs.

Given that the Investor runs a limited company and the so called Managing Agent is another legal entity entirely, I am unhappy with this arrangement.

When I challenged the Investor's (which is a company not a person) Director directly, he said that all matters to do with the running of the property, the rent and all matters to do with maintenance are entirely handled by the Managing Agent.  This doesn't seem right to me: if the investor company is not calling the shots and the Managing Agent is, then surely the Managing Agent are more than simply an Agent. They are the acting landlord instead.


The reason this matters is because I have to have the landlord's address to serve Notices. This involves more than 'wobbly doorknob' queries, it also means I need a clear liable landlord for which to serve County Court Notices too, should a matter result in litigation. Sitting tenants are prone to harassment and maintenance problems that could result in a dangerous situation. I need to know who to sue, who is legally liable.

I asked the investor to prove who was the landlord, based on my definition, and he wouldn't tell me anymore than I knew already. He said he was the owner of the flat and that was all I needed to know. The Managing Agent was the Managing Agent only is all he would admit to. I am not happy and insisted on a s.3 notice on a formal form. He h as failed to provide one.

Furthermore, the investor is claiming that I owe rent to the previous landlord, who he claims sold the debt onto himself. Yet the paperwork from the former landlord and the Managing Agent now says the rent is only payable from the time the investor took possession of the flat. He has not proven anything else that would convince a court. I was in dispute with my former landlord and kept rent back for three months in case I needed to conduct repairs they'd refused to do. Instead of addressing this, they just sold the flat from under me. Yet the new owner won't prove that the former landlord had not claimed from rent insurance or that they had sold the debt on (which surely they can't do without misselling the property). I told the new investor to claim from them if they sold for more than they should have. But he is coming after me instead. This seems unfair as I kept the rent back for a good reason and don't owe this new investor/Agent any rent from before they took possession.

I feel I am being caught up in knots. In the meantime, I have paid no rent over to either of the new parties either, and told them I am keeping it in a separate account. No one has threatened me with legal action. But I am still feeling very uneasy and nothing is being resolved. Furthermore, the new MA/Investor has not bought the freehold to the flat either which is essential if they are access the south facing wall which they must be able to do to meet their legal obligations to maintain all parts of the property. They are saying that the leasehold is all th ey bought.

I have no idea what I should do now. I certainly can't afford expensive lawyers to discuss this with and most freebie consultations don't really cover anything other than the most typical disputes to do with arrears, rent deposits, wobbly door knob maintenance issues  -the usual stuff.

In my opinion,  I am entitled to keep all rent money back and not even repay it except from the date they have sorted this out and told me who the parties are which tells me who is liable in the event of a claim. I have a right to know who the real landlord actually is before rent is due to them.  That does not necessarily equate to just the owner; nor does it necessarily equate to the Managing Agent either if they aren't callling the shots on what they can or can't do or agree or can't agree except on the investor's sign off.  But I suspect that is not the arrangment at all. I suspect instead that the investor has sublet the flat to them to gather rent for themselves whilst the investor simply benefis from the capital gain. This is what I suspect has happened only no one will admit it or prove it to me even though I have asked both parties for the upper contract they have between them. What is more, I would never accept this arrangement anyway because it effectively robs me of my negotiating rights to moderate the rent to an affordable level below the maximum RCO set rent every two years which is now exceeding what I consider to be a comfortable level for me, even though it is below market levels, which is irrelevant to me as I moved in 40 years ago and could not have foreseen let alone did forsee what the popularity of the area would be that far ahead. That is because it is clear that the MA would want the most they can get from me, especially if from that money they are also responsible for funding any repairs entirely and not the investor who has washed their hands of the flat entirely except for when it is sold on with vacant possession giving them a huge capital gain. 

This is a shady arrangement and unsuitable for a sitting tenancy letting as it robs me of my rights to peace and quiet enjoyment, and effectively means that both parties are rent pimping me: buying in at a cheap rate because I am there but still exploiting me by robbing me of my rights whilst treating me like a cash cow to the point that I am eventually forced out: a s.21 by stealth.  I actually feel quite violated as matters affecting my life are being decided on my behalf without my consent or agreement and yet my life and day to day peace of mind is being badly affected due to endless emails and no resolution to this tangled mess of an arrangement for which I can see no easy way out.

Can anyone give some solid advice on what to do. I know this is a landlord forum but some of you must be buying up sitting tenancies under 1977 Rent Act.  If not, do you know a reliable source I can turn to.

Many thanks for reading this post. I know this landscape is treacherous for everyone right now, even landlords out to do good and do the right thing by their tenants. I am by no means a bad tenant but I feel compelled to take the action I am.




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