Letting agent ‘decorated’ my flat without consulting me

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  • Letting agent ‘decorated’ my flat without consulting me

    Hello and Happy New Year. I recently had a new tenant move in to my London flat, and as part of the tenancy agreement I said I would redo the skirting boards and replace the curtain rail. I duly contacted both the tenant - whose details the agent supplied - and the contractor who takes care of all the work on my property, and the last I heard from him, he had spoken with the tenant and arranged a visit. I do not use the agents’ contractors at all. That was at the beginning of December, and I haven’t heard anything since, but with the season and everything I didn’t think much of it. However I now see that the agent have charged me £1100 on December 14th for ‘decoration’ - works about which I was never consulted, for which I never received a quote and which I certainly didn’t authorize their contractors to carry out. What I am trying to establish is, from a legal standpoint if nothing else, can they do this? Thanks very much.

  • Malgovert
    replied
    Thanks very much! I am on good terms with the tenant so will make contact to discuss.

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  • leaseholder64
    replied
    The tenant only has to make the property available, not themselves.

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    The tenant can't insist on the work being done outside normal hours.
    You can't make the tenant make themselves available, either.

    So a compromise is required.
    You can offer to attend in the tenant's absence (or for your agent to do that for you, assuming they will).
    Or you can wait until the tenant can be available.

    Leave a comment:


  • Malgovert
    replied
    Well would you believe it, it seems it was all a simple mistake. This turns out to be the last stage of a previous job agreed with the building management to be funded by the buildings insurance, and which had been erroneously charged to me during my usual property manager’s absence. The money will be refunded.

    so here’s a question- this means the other work is still to be done, and I have a contractor who has been in touch with the tenant and is ready to do the job during normal working hours, which to me seems reasonable. If the tenant is not happy with this and wants the work done outside normal working hours or at the weekend, is he / she in a position to insist that I get my guy to agree to do it, or find someone who will do it, or pass it over to the agent to take care of it? Or, since my guy’s proposal is not unreasonable, am I in a position to say that I am providing someone who can do the job on reasonable terms, and that if the tenant wants the work done he / she will have to make themselves available? Thanks.

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    Can we have confirmation that there is no provision in the agency agreement to the effect that the agent is authorised to do whatever is required to comply with the landlord's obligatons?

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    Originally posted by Malgovert View Post
    Is the contract not legally binding? Surely if one party or the other is in breach of contract it can be pursued - if only as a last resort - through the courts? Or - conversely - can I put myself in breach of contract and be assured that there is no possibility of legal action against me?
    A contract is legally binding (provided it's not invalid in some way, which is unlikely to be the case here).

    But breaching a contract isn't illegal.
    It simply puts the other party in the position of being able to either claim compensation or to ask a court to compel performance.

    In this case, your agent has not complied with the terms of the agreement and is (presumably) in breach.
    You would be entitled to compensation for any loss arising as compelling the agent to comply is not a possibility

    You've incurred a cost of £1100 and gained a newly decorated something, which would presumably have been necessary at some point.
    So the loss is probably somewhere below £1100, and should certainly include anything the agent earned as a consequence of their breach.

    If you breach the contract in some way, the agent would be entitled to ask for compensation or to compel performance in the same basic manner.

    Leave a comment:


  • theartfullodger
    replied
    I repeat.....
    Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post

    Follow agent complaints procedure: If not satisfied, then go to letting agent redress scheme - see...
    https://england.shelter.org.uk/housi...edress_schemes

    Leave a comment:


  • leaseholder64
    replied
    There is a limit to the compensation you could obtain. As you intended to do the work, anyway, the main thing you could claim for would be the difference between the quote from your contractor and the one through the agent. Although the agent may get commission, it is unlikely that you would be able to get the same discount, going directly to a contractor. Also, the 25% figure is an upper limit.

    The other option would be to get an injunction against further such breaches, but that is likely to be costly, and the easier remedy would be to change agents, although watch out for ant-poaching clauses, which may require you to change tenants, as well.

    Although you can't name and shame here, agents that ignore contracts, particularly national ones, will eventually get a bad reputation and find it difficult to get clients.

    Leave a comment:


  • Malgovert
    replied
    Is the contract not legally binding? Surely if one party or the other is in breach of contract it can be pursued - if only as a last resort - through the courts? Or - conversely - can I put myself in breach of contract and be assured that there is no possibility of legal action against me?

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    It's not a legal issue, it's a contractual issue.

    Legally, they're your agent and can take decisions and act on your behalf.
    Contractually, they're meant to do what they've agreed with you and not do what they've agreed not to do.

    From the sound of it, they've gone outside the agreement you have with them and could demand compensation for your loss as a consequence.
    Have they broken a law? Hard to see that they have.

    Leave a comment:


  • Malgovert
    replied
    Totally disagree. You don’t have to allow agents to help themselves to your money. Being ‘on the fiddle’ is not something we should simply accept, in London or anywhere else. My question was are they legally entitled to do this - if they are ‘on the fiddle’ then I would take that as a ‘no’...

    Leave a comment:


  • JK0
    replied
    I think this is something you have to accept sometimes on a property a long way away.

    Yeah, I know the agent is possibly on the fiddle, but London tenants are a fussy bunch.

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    I'd write to the manager of the agency and make a formal complaint and ask for the money to be reimbursed as it was not authorised.

    The (very) least the agent could do is send you the "referral fee" and "admin fee" they've made.

    Leave a comment:


  • theartfullodger
    replied
    When you asked them why they did this, for a copy of all invoices & to withdraw the charge, what did they say? (All in writing/email)

    Follow agent complaints procedure: If not satisfied, then go to letting agent redress scheme - see...
    https://england.shelter.org.uk/housi...edress_schemes

    Leave a comment:

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