This is a question to the blog clinic from Roberto who is a tenant.
I have signed a contract with an estate agency four months ago. I paid regularly the rent and I have the bills.
Today the landlord came to the house and said that the agency is not giving him any money and that I have to pay to him the next rent because he is ending (or he just ended) the agreement with the agency.
He also said that he will send us an email with all this topic and the bank information. Besides, I contacted the agency and they told me that it is not true, so they asked also for the payment.
My question is who should I pay? the landlord or the agency? (the contract shows only the name of the agency on it).
First, you need to make sure that this really is the landlord.
Check first with the agents. If your tenancy agreement gives the agent’s name rather than the landlords, then you are entitled to be told who your real landlord is under s1 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 (read more about this here)
You could also do a search at the Land Registry to see who actually owns the property. There will be a small fee to pay which at the moment is £3.
However, if you are satisfied that the person who visited you really is the landlord, then if he tells you that he is no longer employing the agents and wants you to pay rent to him direct, you should do that.
In fact if, if you carry on paying the agents after the landlord has formally notified you to pay rent direct to him, he would be perfectly entitled to require you to pay the money again to him. As paying money to the wrong person will not count as rent.
If the agents have been sacked as his agents, they don’t have any rights in respect of the property anymore. Whatever they may say about it.
Until you are sure what the situation is and whether or not the man who came to see you really is the landlord, I suggest you don’t pay the rent to anyone and just keep it safe until you know for sure who you are supposed to pay it to.