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Topic - Seeking legal advice - tenancy

henwardian - on 27 Feb 2013
If anyone out there deals with tenancy law, it would be great to get a little bit of help.
This is a little protracted but I'll try to cut out must of the guff.

I signed a short assured tenancy with a council for sole occupancy of a property. A day later they (completely contrary to the contract) moved someone else in. A few days after this I met with someone from the council, made the point that I should not have to pay full rent, they agreed, said half rent would be expected. I said if they wanted the right to move people in and out arbitrarily, I would only pay half rent for the remainder of the tenancy and they could move people in and out as they wished. The council person said they thought I would only have the right to pay half rent when they wanted to use the other bedroom for someone else. The council person said they would talk to their boss about this. I asked if I needed another meeting or anything to follow it up, they said "no". In due course a letter came in the post saying half rent due each week, simple statement of rent change, no stipulation that this was time limited. I assume they have agreed to my request.

Fast forward 3 months, the 2nd person moved out, council then sent me a letter saying they would put the rent back up to full rent. I went to council a few days after receiving the letter to complain that they reneged on their half of the arrangement. The lady I related this to phoned someone else, this person said she would e-mail me in relation to the matter and freeze rent at current (half property) rate in the meantime.

Fast forward 2 and a half months and e-mail finally is sent to me. 2 days later, I request a meeting with someone capable of doing their job at the council, this is arranged for a few days after. At the meeting the council woman tells me that the tennancy is legally binding, I owe half rent that is missing for last (about) 3 months since 2nd tennant left and the letter sent to me before was a "clerical error" so holds no legal weight. That was today.

What are my options? Can I declare the tennancy invalid as they clearly didn't hold up their end? Can I flit immediately? Do I have to pay the outstanding balance? Am I bound to pay out the whole contract period? Do I have the right to declare myself a squatter.

The council is also my employer and can decide to take whatever money off my paycheck they want, how does this affect my options?

TLDR - council sign tenancy, break tenancy, make verbal agreement, send letter confirming, declare letter "clerical error", try to hold me to invalidated tenancy. What are my options?
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