A bit of strange circumstance: I have already looked online on various Housing charities and legal forums, but I haven't been able to get an approach that meets the specific circumstances as this issue is quite sensitive.

During the past academic year a friend has not been able to stay in the house they are paying rent on due to the consistent breaking of covid rules by other tenants and bullying. My friend stayed with another friend for a while but has now returned home to complete the academic year.

They have a typical student type agreement with the landlord which is coming to an end by the end of the academic year.

As it stands my friend has all their belongings still in the house and is mentally not able to face going to get them due to the other tenants, or able to communicate with the other tenants for the same reasons.

My friend has approached the letting agent, explained the above in greater detail, and asked them to speak to the other tenants to arrange a time where the house would be vacant to gather the belongings (possibly over the Easter break), so far the letting agent has simply replied that it hasn't been possible.

What we are trying to find out is:

  1. What are the lettings agent's (or landlord's) responsibilities to a situation like this?
  2. Can my friend ask for additional time at the end of the agreement to empty their things?
  3. If the letting agent refuses to help what options does my friend have?
  4. Given they are not the lead tenant how do they go about getting any deposit remaining back?

For clarity my friend is a British citizen living in the UK, in case of any regional variations to possible laws.

  • Does your friend have a disability that makes it impossible to see the housemates, rather than simply very unpleasant? – Studoku Mar 23 at 12:40
  • There is no physical reason just the unpleasantness of the situation, it would not be a mentally healthy for them to be there. – Rob Jones Mar 23 at 13:26
  • Is this a joint tenancy or did everyone have a separate agreement? You imply that it's the former but you also say "typical student type arangement". – Studoku Mar 23 at 15:01
  • This is a joint tenancy with one lead tenant as the main point of communication, and from what I have understood the deposits – Rob Jones Mar 25 at 16:27
  1. The agent/landlord responsibility is to ensure that the residents have "quiet enjoyment" of the property during the period it is let. As long as your friend has access to the flat he has that.

  2. He can ask, but the agent/landlord have no obligation to provide it.

  3. Could your friend appoint someone else to go and get their property? There is no reason why he has to do it in person. He should provide this person with a signed letter of authority (just "I, Joseph Bloggs, hereby authorise John Doe to collect my belongings from 123 Cherry Tree Crescent on my behalf", signed and dated) and also send a copy to the agent.

  4. Your friend must have a contract with somebody. If he paid a deposit then it should have been kept in a proper deposit protection scheme, and he should have paperwork to that effect. If that wasn't done, then he can sue the person he has the contract with for (in effect) punitive damages in addition to getting his deposit back. You say your friend was "not the lead tenant", so it sounds like one of the tenants was sub-letting, but its not clear; it may be that this "lead tenant" was just acting as a point of contact for stuff like rent collection. Your friend should have some kind of written tenancy agreement; he can sue the person or company named named on that. If the tenancy was a verbal contract then he can sue the person he handed the deposit to.

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