Letting Agent has landed L with bad T; liable?

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    Letting Agent has landed L with bad T; liable?

    The short version of my problem is this... I have a 24 year old tenant who is not only 2 months in arrears, but has punched a whole in each wall of my property, has kicked holes in the communal hallway and has terrified all my other tenants, one of whom has had to move out as she is so worried for her safety.

    The police have attended the property at least once a weekend for the past 6 weeks for reports of threatening behaviour and antisocial behaviour (parties, shouting, arguing etc). I am trying to prosecute for criminal damage - but there are no witnesses to any of this damage.

    I am trying to evict this tenant via a lawyer, but this is taking time.

    The flat now looks like a squat (according to the Police) and there are 14, 15 16 year olds in and out all drunk and on drugs every night. Now these partygoers are now smashing windows of properties either side (commercial).

    This tenant had what seemed to be perfect references (according to the agents). I feel this guy is never going to feel responsible for what he's done, so it looks like the buck (and the bill) stops with me.

    Can the agents be held accountable?

    Any advice would be good!!!

    Thanks
    Jayne

    #2
    Ask for all details of the ref's (you are intitaled to see them)

    Did the agent do all he said he was going to relating to ref's & checks etc? What does it say in the T&C's you signed with the agent? If they didnt do what they were suppose to, you may have a case.

    Comment


      #3
      Agent landed L with insolvent T, despite credit checks

      Hi All,

      I'll keep this as short as possible.

      Letting agent finds tenant and subcontracts out the tenant vetting and credit procedures to third party. Tenant turns out to be terrible. We look into tenant and finds out that he has lied on the tenant application form, things like missed out an undisclosed address. Reason for leaving his current rental property etc.

      I took this up with the letting agent and there response was not to good. I asked them to justity there actions. They advised that a credit check was carried out by experian on the tenant by the third party company and an accountants reference was taken to confirm earnings. They then state all came back fine and put tenant in. Tenant voluntarily surrendered property leaving damage and several thousand pounds of arrears.

      I have looked up tenant and it turns out that he is in an IVA, his previous landlord didnt have a nice word to say about him, rent late etc. No landlord reference was taken up on this tenant. No bank statements were taken only accountants reference which was quoting figures on year ending 2007 nothing for year ending 2008 which he should have done in April 2008.

      It also transpires that bailiffs are chasing him at the property also, so not good. The agent responed with this comment.

      Turning to the specific points of your complaint, as I understand them from our dialogue, which are directed at what you consider to be our perceived failure to take up references on the ingoing tenant, I would first draw your attention to our agency agreement for letting the property which states that we will take up ‘references including bank reference, and employer or previous landlord.’ That is precisely what we undertook to do on behalf of the landlord but in practice, we went far beyond that. The Letting Bureau undertake all reference enquiries on our behalf and ******** ******* has confirmed to me that an Equifax Credit Search was carried out which, as you already know, checks County Court records, the Electoral Roll and bank details. In addition, proof of address was confirmed by way of a BT invoice and the status of employment was confirmed by way of a reference from a chartered accountant who had acted for Mr ****** since 01/01/03 and advised that he was good for the rental sum with his company having just posted a profit in excess of £36,000 for the previous year. On the basis of all this information, the Letting ****** advised us that Mr ****** had passed the referencing checks.

      Can we claim losses off the agent for their failures?

      No bank reference
      Accountants reference out of date
      Previous bad credit
      Lied on application form to hide previous address
      No previous landlord reference taken

      What are your thoughts?

      Jax

      Comment


        #4
        When I had an awful agent who put someone into my house without my knowledge and without doing proper checks I was advised that if I suffered losses due to their failures I would have a claim. If they have not done things to check which the contract said they must then you should be able to recover your losses. Have you seen all the documents the agent obtained in order to make the decision? If not, demand them. If they are insufficient, inaccurate or if he clearly should not have offered the tenancy due to what was discovered then you may have a case?
        Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

        Comment


          #5
          All agents have a duty of care towards the landlord when introducing tenants. Failure to reference properly would be actionable through the courts for damages if the landlord suffered financial loss; all letting agents are considered to be experts in their field no matter what they might proclaim. If you are in business to offer a service then you are presumed to know all about it - ignorance is no defence.
          The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

          Comment


            #6
            Hi Paul,

            This company is in no way a competent agent. I have emailed the agent as they wish to communicate in writing only. They have offered to find a new tenant for free as a goodwill gesture, they have also admitted that the tenant lied on the application form. That is what the agent was paid to check. They are saying that it is a criminal act by the tenant, which is true. But because they didnt check references possible they granted a tenancy.


            Hi Moderators,

            Thanks for renaming my thread, I only noticed your post after posting it and didnt know how to change it. Many thanks your renaming has at least got me a response on this. Will do better next time and post titles properly.

            Thanks

            Jax

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jax2503 View Post
              This company is in no way a competent agent. I have emailed the agent as they wish to communicate in writing only. They have offered to find a new tenant for free as a goodwill gesture, they have also admitted that the tenant lied on the application form. That is what the agent was paid to check. They are saying that it is a criminal act by the tenant, which is true. But because they didnt check references possible they granted a tenancy.
              Avoid the free find a tenant service as a "goodwill" gesture. This is paramount to an admission of a cock-up, and they seem to be incompetent anyway. A good reference agency will flush out bogus information, and you are entitled to see the applications and replies to the agency. Don't get fobbed off by their hiding behind the Data Protection Act as it's not applicable under these circumstances.
              The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

              Comment


                #8
                Hi Wickerman,

                Yeah they have to be done by end of January, but he has no intentions of doing so or so his accountant says.

                Hi Paul,

                they wont supply the information requested. The agent has not been allowed to find a new tenant for the property. Your thoughts were the same as mine, that liability has been admitted by offering to find a new tenant for free. I feel he will just say that it is a "goodwill gesture"

                Any points that I could push him on?

                Jax

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hi All,

                  Just a quick one, the letting agent has advised that he will not deal with this matter any further. He has advised that his health has taken a downturn also. He has advised that he will not communicate anymore on this.

                  Thinking we are at a stalemate now? So going to launch court proceedings in the county court for losses and costs due to there negligence.

                  What are the thoughts of the forum about winning this case?

                  Jax

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I think you have a reasonable chance as I was advised that if I suffered losses due to LA's negligence I would be entitled to take them to court. If you do it yourself via moneyclaim online the costs will be quite low - ensure you send a letter before action giving them notic of what you intend to do before you start the process. Bear in mind however nothing is certain - be prepared to lose.
                    Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

                    Comment


                      #11
                      No! I would say be prepared to win; what you mean is that they might be disappointed and lose, but I think the OP has a decent case and is worth pursuing.

                      If you fail to prepare then you should prepare to fail!
                      The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        first things first - if you haven't already, get the property re-let asap you do not want to be losing any more money on this. take all the photographic & visual evidence you may need - but get someone in to stop the losses building any further.
                        next, looks like they don't want to talk anymore - fine. but i think the easiest way to start may be to decide a figure in your mind that you would be happy to accept and then tell them that [plus a bit more so you have room to negotiate].
                        write them an incredibly strong letter - that due to not getting landlord refs as they contractually stated they would that you are seeking recompense blah blah anyway basically say that you are willing to accept X in full and final settlement, but if you do not hear tell them you will be instructing a solicitor to take this this action further. see what they do - give them a deadline like 7 days. after that decide what you want to do - you could always do moneyclaimonline with the govt. hope that helps. sam

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Yes of course you are right Paul F - however it is all too easy to go into court with "a good case" and lose - so you must be prepared for the worst. As I look at it, keep it in your head that you may lose and then anything better is a bonus!
                          Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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