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Items changed in Contract without my knowledge

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Monday 05 March 2018 2:20:40 pm

Hi all,

I have some queries I am hoping someone can help me with.

We have rented a private house with an assured short-hold tenancy since 2016. Our original contract stated along with rent we were responsible for electricity and that was all. After 6 months out tenancy ended and we renewed for a further 6 months. At this time the landlord emailed us through an updated contract to initial and sign, in this email he stated he had highlighted the changes within the contract. The date and notice period (which we had agreed to change) were highlighted and we were happy with it so we signed and initialled every page and sent it back to the landlord.

We are now nearing the end of the tenancy and the landlord is asking us for money for the water and telecommunication bills. Having now further checked the renewed contract, he had also added in that we were responsible for these bills too but he did not highlight them or notify us of this change.

Now I am aware I was stupid not to have noticed them when I read the new contract but at this stage I trusted the landlord and had no reason to think he would do something sneaky like this. I have all the email correspondence from this period. Does the fact that he claimed to have highlighted the changes in the contract but he hadn't highlighted this change hold any weight if we refuse to pay these bills which are going to be for a full year of water and telecommunications? If I had known of this change I wouldn't have signed the contract and because I didn't know I wasn't able to switch telecommunications to a cheaper supplier.

Further to this we don't think the landlord has protected our deposit. He doesn't appear to have done this when we originally moved in or when we signed a new contract. I have checked the 3 schemes and none recognise my deposit details. We have never received any protection scheme details or prescribed information. Our tenancy doesn't end until next month even though we have already moved out. Should I ask the landlord to protect the deposit now or am I better waiting until after the tenancy ends?

Since we have moved out we have also visited the house a few times and have noticed bedding on the bed and towels in the bathroom as if the landlord or someone else has stayed over. What is the best way for us to record this or raise this issue as I feel the landlord would just deny it but we dont feel its right for him or someone else to access the property without our permission even if we have already moved out because our rent still covers this period.

Thanks for any advice