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Being harassed by student tenant's father

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I rent a house to a group of 5 students on a joint AST. One of them “Tenant A” wants to leave, three months into a 12 month fixed term. I have explained to him that his housemates must agree on whether to split the rent between them, or insist that he finds someone to replace him on the tenancy, but he doesn’t seem to understand. His father (who is a wealthy businessman) paid 6 months rent in advance and is demanding that this is returned. As the total rent is now in arrears, I am unwilling to do this unless his housemates agree to cover his share.

Tenant A left a very aggressive voicemail a fortnight ago, complaining of disrepair. I called tradesmen the same day, but when the tenants missed the appointments, I sent a letter informing them that I would attend and supervise access myself. I then received a threatening email from the Tenant A telling me I was in ‘breach of contract’, followed by an abusive phonecall from his father, demanding his money back because his son was moving out. I also received a message from the other tenants apologising for missing the plumber and stating that the views of this boy and his father were not representative of the household and that they were happy with the house. I suggested that we all met to resolve the issues with Tenant A.

Upon my arrival I was met by 4 apologetic tenants, plus Tenant A and his father’s solicitor! Tenant A produced a further list of defects (a non-working fridge-freezer which I ‘fixed’ by plugging it in, a loose bolt, blown lightbulb etc., all of which I dealt with on the spot). The solicitor seemed a little embarrassed to be there, but has now followed up with a polite letter requesting the usual certificates and documents for the house.
Before I send him these I would like to clarify my position: I have no contract with Tenant A’s father, so does he have a right to send his representative to sit in on meetings? And if so, shouldn’t he or Tenant A have informed me first? Also shouldn’t they make me aware of their complaint or concern before dispatching a solicitor? I suspect the father is trying to find fault with the tenancy in order to recoup his cash and, although I’ve done everything by the book and am confident I’m not at fault, I find his behaviour threatening and disturbing. I’m relieved to be getting rid of the tenant, but is there any way I can stop his father harassing me?

11/10/2011 00:00

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