Your landlord’s identity
Do you know who your landlord is?
In most cases the name should be on your tenancy agreement. But is the name there really that of your landlord? For example if after the name it says something like “as agent” then it won’t be.
If you do not know who your landlord is, then under section 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, you have the right to make a request in writing to the person who collects your rent, asking for the name and address of your landlord. The act says that this information must be provided within 21 days.
If the information is not provided then this is a criminal offence. Have a word with your Local Authority as they are the prosecuting organisation (NOT the police).
Bear in mind also however, that if you only have the name and address of the agents, then it is arguable that so far as you are concerned THEY are your landlord. Or at least can be sued by you (if there is a problem to sue about) as if they were your landlord.
Under agency law, if an agent is an agent for an ‘undisclosed principal’ (ie if they don’t tell the third party – in this case the tenant, that they are acting as agent for someone) then so far as the third party/tenant is concerned they ARE the principal/landlord. And can be sued as such if necessary. Not something I am sure that the agents intended.
Note also that you can always find out who the owner of the land is by doing a search at the Land Registry. However bear in mind that the fact that a person owns the land, does not necessarily mean that they are your landlord.
They could, for example, have let the land or property to someone else, in which case it will be that person who will be your landlord. Not all leases show up on the Land Registry, for example if they are for a term of under 12 years.
Your landlord’s address
If you want to contact your landlord, bear in mind that there is also section 48 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987. This says that rent is not due until an address is given for the service of documents (although this does not have to be a home address).
So if you don’t have a contact address, you can consider withholding rent until this is provided to you (make sure you tell them why you are withholding rent). However, if you withhold rent, it is important that you keep it safe and don’t spend it, as it will all fall due immediately once the address information is provided.
Do you know of any cases where tenants have been unable to find out who their landlord is? Has anyone used these rights successfully? Leave a comment if so, we would love to hear from you.
See more help for tenants on Tenant Law.