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Tenancy Agreement - Sign Or Get Out!


tess
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We are really at the end of our tether - on the last week of the summer term we received a tenancy agreement to sign from the local parish council ( we rent the community centre).

When we returned in Sept our committee have had a look at it and raised several issues - mainly that we have sole occupancy and the council want us to sign saying they can rent another room, that we use and we will share the kitchen and toilets + no mention of usbeing able to use the outside area - also the shared kitchen would lead straight into our hall. So we wrote a really nice letter asking for clarification - we were shocked to receive a reply the next morning handed over our fence saying unless we sign the agreement they would reconsider the future of us hiring the hall.

 

Obviously we sought Lawcall advice and were advised that the agreement is totally illegal as it does not apply with "1954 landlords and tenants act" and to ask for a compliant agreement. we've done that.

 

Guess what - they have come back saying. Oh no it should a hirer's agreement and unless we sign it without comment we will be out.

 

I am so fed up.

Anyway sought more legal advice today (best way to spend my saturday) - tenants agreement or hirer's agreement it is still illegal and have been advised not to sign as safety at risk.

 

Great so now we have two choices sign an illegal agreement that effects the safety of the children or don't sign and get evicted.

 

Spent most of the day in tears - I am dreading Monday.

What should we do?

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Could you try and have a 'face to face' meeting with some of the parish council to explain your side of things? You could try and get someone from your Early Years Team there and / or PLA. When we had issues with the school we rented a room from raising our rent by 150% we got someone from county hall out. Good luck with it and try and share your problems with other members of your team. ie A deputy etc.

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Tess sorry to hear of your dreadful situation.

 

Not sure of the legalities but this feels like bullying to me.

 

Could you write a letter seeking an urgent face to face meeting with members of the parish council in order to sit down and sort this out amicably? Find out who they are, are there any ex parents on there? There might be someone prepared to listen to your situation.

 

Get in contact with your local LEA, early years consultant, business support, anyone who will listen - someone will be able to help you or put you in contact with someone who can. What about Citizens Advice - they helped us when my husband and I were being pressured to sign away our agricultural tenancy rights - we had to fight our corner and won!

 

Write a letter to your parents, get them to protest on your behalf. Contact the local community paper, your local councillor, district councillor. Hang in there, make phone calls, someone will be able to help you.

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How awful for you! I presume that the area this parish council represents is populated by parents/former parents and future parents of your group? If this is the case, it may be an idea to try and get together with local residents and enlist their support. After all the parish council is only a representative of the people in their parish. I'd get the local paper involved as well. If I didn't know better, I would say you were dealing with the parish council where I live. All they ever seem to do is object - to EVERYTHING. Ironically, none of our parish councillors live within a 10 mile radius of our village.

As far as signing an agreement, I agree with Susan. I would be very wary of signing anything which I had been advised was illegal. Even if you signed, there is no guarantee that you would be secure as it would not be binding.

 

I'm sure others will have more useful advice than I can offer. Just thought you could do with a bit of moral support. Good luck and don't let them beat you down with threats.

 

Sally

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your Parish council may well 'represent the people' of the parish, but, as i foind out to my cost, once they have been elected, they actually have no need toconsult the people they represent at all over any decisions.However, as I understand it, you only need 6 people to ask them to call a meeting to discuss a point...so, get your local parents galvanized and demand that meeting. There must be more info on PC's, so have a search! Good luck with it...........mine took me to court ( while my father was in the final days of a terminal illness too, which they knew about!), to prevent me taking the children to play on the park outside my front door! Now I can, so long as i pay to use what everyone else (including another playgroup and the after school group,the cubs, youth club etc) get for free! Parish councils??? can't wait for them to be got rid of! But, good luck with it!

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Tess

 

What an awful situation - and it does sound awfully like bullying to me, too. Some excellent advice here - especially about getting your Local Authority or Early Years team involved. They have a vested interested in keeping you open in order to secure sufficient childcare for the children in their area and should support you in sorting this terrible situation out.

 

If you are members of the Pre-school Learning Alliance they should also be able to help by providing a Development Worker to attend any meetings - anything that will give weight to your argument.

 

Whatever else you do, make sure you make notes of every conversation you have on the subject, who the contact was with, where, when etc. Try to have a witness there too - that way there can be no confusion about what was said/done etc.

 

Try to keep your cool - you'll need to work with these people once you get this sorted. Ultimately I guess you're their biggest customer - are they really prepared to lose your regular rent payments? A face to face meeting should help to clarify what they're trying to achieve and why - when heavy handed tactics like this are used, I think it shows weakness rather than strength. By being outwardly co-operative but assertive about your needs to keep your children safe perhaps you can get to the bottom of what is really happening.

 

And if all else fails, then definitely galvanise your parents, get the local media involved and get the message across about what they are trying to do to you. Unfortunately if it gets to this stage, I'd say the relationship between your group and your landlord might well be irretrievably damaged. Are there any other local venues available to rent?

 

Good luck - no doubt you'll keep us posted.

 

Maz

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Tess, lots of valuable advice already just wanted to wish you all the best and hope everything works out in the end for you.

Maybe enlist the support of a solicitor too.

 

Peggy

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Can only echo what has already been said. Stick to your guns! Have the PCC already got someone lined up to take over your slot? It sounds a bit odd to me that they should be so stubborn. Thinking of you.

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Tess,

 

Don't really have anything more to add that hasn't been said already. Just make sure you get as many people involved as possible so that you don't feel like you are facing this alone. This will also make it more difficult for them to bully you into doing something you don't want to. As far as I can see they are the ones in the wrong so they won't be able to force you off the premises but as someone else pointed out, if you stay then you will have to deal with them in the future, so settling it in the most amicable way would be best. Good luck.

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Some already good advice on here....I don't think I would sign an illegal piece of paper & get as many parents involved...it's amazing what 'people power' can do!

 

good luck & keep us posted.

mrsb

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Guest MaryEMac

No more advice to offer but just wanted to let you know that you have my best wishes and I hope that everything works out for you. Keep us posted.

 

Mary

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you so much for all your helpful thoughts over the last few weeks.

 

Just to update you - it's been a very eventful couple of weeks. We have had our AGM (great timing) got a great new committee who are fully on board and have been working their pants off.

 

Bascially after meetings with the local head teacher - who recommended a really helpful councillor - we discovered the local chairman of the parish council had been acting without telling the rest of his councillors. (great!!!!!)

 

Our friendly councillor has done a little work for us and we have been able to talk to the parish clerk and things are looking rosier and they are willing to talk......it's all we wanted.

I am going to scream though they are upset with us for seeking legal advice (they threatened to kick us out), not contact them ( all their letter said no discussions possible) and we cause trouble !!!!!! (that seems to be by renting the hall).

 

It really is a joke, how are you supposed to work with these people. Over the last week i have cried loads - one day too upset to take register, started looking for another job and had to reassure lots of staff and parents when I was unsettled. We have been so professional and treated like this.

 

Fingers crossed for an amicable meeting, I will be so polite to the chairman ( and i will have to sit on my hands to stop them getting lose!!!!)

 

Might keep looking for a new hall though - It must be greener somewhere else

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Oddly enough something reminded me of this today and I was wondering how you were getting on, thanks for letting us know.

 

Could you ask this friendly Councillor to come with you to the meeting, or a representative of your LEA say your Early Years Teacher. The comments made by the parish council still don't sound very totally reassuring. If you have support with you, it could help as you might be too emotionally involved (and who would blame you) to remember everything and having someone official on your side will make the parish council think twice about strong arm tactics.

 

Best of luck, let us know how you get on, in the meantime take care of yourself.

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Thanks Deb

 

Yes I do hope to take the friendly councillor with us for support- he's our best hope.

 

Oh forgot to mention we do have an appointment with our local MP - who happens to be Chris Humme (currently running for Lib Deb leadership) on friday as he's desperate to help and phoned us immediatley he got our letter to help.

 

Fingers crossed

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Oh forgot to mention we do have an appointment with our local MP - who happens to be Chris Humme (currently running for Lib Deb leadership) on friday as he's desperate to help and phoned us immediatley he got our letter to help.

 

Goodness, what luck - such a high profile politician desperate to do some good, shall look out for you on the BBC news just in case! Should you get mass media coverage don't forget to give your forum friends a wave!!!

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This is beginning to sound more positive Tess - I hope your friendly councillor gets you the result you deserve. Its hard to remain so professional when everyone around you is behaving like the worst school playground bully.

 

Well done - stick up for what you believe in. The grass may well be greener on the other side of the fence, but until you've done everything to restore your own lawn to its former glory you won't be able to move on.

 

I hope you can keep the momentum and that you're all supporting one another - and that attracting such high profile support to your cause has raised morale.

 

Take care.

 

Maz

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good luck tess, really hope you got your answer right next you now and that MP will give you the back up you definitely need.

don't give up Tess hang in there and go all the way, I know very stressful but when yo get to the end you will be able to look back and say we did it!

 

Do keep up posted

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sounding much less dire now, well done you for all your hard work and not crumbling under what must feel a lot of emotional pressure.

fingers crossed for you.

 

Peggy

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