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I used to play a little.
Oct 24, 2003
I view a house. I like it. The landlord is lovely. Another couple view the house. They like it. The rent is organised through a management agency/company. Both couples go to the office to sign the contracts. The landlord decides who gets the contract. Landlord chooses me. Great.

Rent for 1 year. Landlord good as gold. Management agency not so great. Slow. Useless. Painful. Go direct with landlord on a few occasions and it is so much easier. No problems. No dodgy agreements, people or anything.

Extend rent for a 2nd year. Great. Everyone's happy. A few months in and we get a knock at the door. It is someone working for a mortgage repayment company. Looking for the landlord. Doesn't realise that the landlord doesn't live at the address. Told that the landlord has had a few problems with payments. A few week's later a letter is posted to us address to landlord from mortgage repayment company marked urgent. As per usual the post is dropped to the landlord's address.

I receive a phone call a few months on from the landlord asking a favour. Can I sign an agreement? Hmm what type of agreement is my first thought. I am then told a story. Landlord has health concerns and is diagnosed with a particular illness. Landlord is not supposed to enter into a tenancy agreement longer than 6 months. We both signed the contract through the management company for 12 months. If the mortgage repayment company find out then the payments will increase by approximately 2% which is of course over a few properties a lot of money and would put the landlord in an awkward position with regards to paying the mortgages off.

I ask for a copy of the agreement so that I can review prior to signing. I am told it is the tenancy agreement without the management company's name on it. I don't ask any questions. I say that I need to think about it. After all, this at the outset was said to be a favour. A favour for a landlord. Someone that I have spent very little time with but has been ever so pleasant. I am told that the landlord didn't everything they could to avoid contacting me. Landlord spoke to the management company who suggested they could draw up two 6 month contracts but that I would lose some rights. I have only had contact with the landlord at this point.

I agree to get back to the landlord. I think about it and realise that something underhand is going on here. Am I right in thinking that the landlord wants me to sign a spoof agreement without the management company's name so that the landlord can falsely prove to the mortgage repayment company that there is a 6 month agreement in place? That was my take.

I see no upside in this for me. My contract is through the management company. The landlord made a point of saying that the management company contract would stand. The point is that should something bad happen as a result of her health deteoriating then the mortgage repayment company would look on file and see a contract that suggests I have contracted with the landlord direct. Firstly, this is inaccurate so I would have signed a document that is completely false. I presume I could get into trouble for that? Secondly, no doubt the mortgage repayment company would somehow find a way to come after me for money that I am already paying to the management company. Thirdly, this seems completely unnecessary.

The landlord said that when I sign this agreement I can also sign one there and then to cover me for the second 6 months. Why? I don't need to. Unless I am missing something this is literally to cover the landlord's back. Don't get me wrong I see the downside which is that perhaps I will get asked to leave the property and they try selling the property. But, why would I sign an agreement that appears to put me on the wrong side of the law and potentially and awkward position personally.

Am I being conned? Am I missing the point? Is the landlord hoping that I see past all of this or am I simply over exaggerating the situation.

I have been told that the landlord has until late this week to provide evidence of this 6 month contract but that the time can be extended. I agreed that I would contact the landlord to confirm my position which I have yet to do. How do you suggest I progress? I was thinking of contacting the management company and getting this in the open. I understand the landlord's pain and situation but surely it was morally wrong to ask me to do this? I am now in an askward position. Having previously had a pleasant relationship I don't see this ending too well.

Any advice would be most welcome.