Hi I was asked to look after a property for a friend while they are out of the country, which I agreed to. We let the housing officer know and he advised that was all that we needed to do - no need for paperwork just so long as the tenants were aware.
The tenants have now split up, one is claiming housing benefit but not paying the rent. I have issued notice to take possession 6a, but have now been told that as there was no paperwork I have no legal right to issue notice. Is this correct?

Relying on a council housing officer for legal advice as a landlord or an agent is unwise, nay, (no offence) reckless & rash. (Even if housing officer knows the answer to your question - unlikely in this case - consider who's interests they have as priority: Tenant and/or council.

Who is named as landlord on the tenancy? If friend is out of the country have they got paperwork from HMRC agreeing that tax doesn't need to be withheld by tenant/agent from rent - see

Which agent redress scheme are you a member of? See

It's a criminal offence for a letting agent not to be a member of a redress scheme.

A local council can issue a fixed penalty fine of up to £5000 to a letting agency branch that is not a member of a scheme. Letting agents with multiple branches could face multiple fines. ''


Hi Sharon, you have not stated how long the landlord is out of the country for. If it is for any length of time above that expected of an average holiday (say two weeks) then I fully support the view of Tribune's response.

The tenancy agreement is likely to have a clause that says the landlord may chose to manage the tenancy via a managing agent. In which case there may be no need to have any additional paperwork - however, if you are not a member of a redress scheme I would be careful very careful about declaring you agent status as you would be operating as an agent illegally.

You also need to consider that if everything goes wrong and the landlord perceives you are not acting professionally as an agent he may well sue you! Do you have the necessary liability and indemnity insurance in place?

The landlord concerned needs to employ a solicitor to act on his behalf. If I were you I would stand well back.

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