Has anyone successfully sued an estate agent?

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    Has anyone successfully sued an estate agent?

    https://www.theguardian.com/money/20...-tenants-check

    I was reading this article with shock and horror how an agent can get away with this

    #2
    I am considering suing mine !! The costs involved are much lower but I’ve been treated so badly ill sue them for the £500 initial charges.
    When they found the tenant, they’d already agreed with him he could move into my property— he was already renting through another branch of their company. He’s on benefits ( not a problem to me) but:
    i was told any tenants on benefits would have to agree to direct payment of h/b —- this wasn’t done.
    Single man, but rented my 2 bed property. His h/b would only allow for a one bed property.
    His total benefits weren’t checked, no income was verified.
    His guarantor does not appear to live at the property he gave as his address, agents don’t seem to have taken employers details just a vague employment address ( X House) which I cannot locate.
    Only two months rent was paid in time. I was told the tenant apologised at first non payment and ironised it would be paid and never late again. Never paid in time after this and I’ve now learnt their accounts office has a long record of him being abusive on the phone, yelling at staff and making threats towards them.
    The list goes on.......
    Hundreds in rent arrears and agents couldn’t give a fig.

    Comment


      #3
      **** man that sounds terrible I hope you don't suffer too much loss. Please let us know how you get on

      Comment


        #4
        My agent moved someone in against my express written wishes (I was to vet anyone he thought suitable and I was to sign the AST - it was a find only agreement). No credit checks done. I found out when I went round to do repairs! Solicitor said I could sue if there was a loss (ie if they stopped paying rent) but I was incredibly lucky and they were good tenants....
        Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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          #5
          Well it sounds like you got very lucky Island Girl usually it's the other way around.
          I have heard some real horror stories from estate agents just look at the article above and this is Foxtons supposedly one of the best and most prestigious on the market

          Comment


            #6
            We can't name and comment on specific companies.

            Large doesn't mean best, in my experience (not related to this specific agent, with whom I have no experience).
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              My most recent ex-agent moved in a family without asking how many there were in the household. They said they didn't think it was relevant. They told me it was a couple when in fact it was a family of five. I haven't taken action against them (seeing what happens with deposit deductions first), but I think I would have every right to.

              I have taken action of one sort or another against two agents in the past. One was a complaint to their regulating body, which proved sufficient. The other started with the same approach but that wasn't enough, so I took him to court. He was a no-show at the hearing and the judge ruled in my favour. So to answer the original question: Yes, I have.
              There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by JacobRoberts
                I can recommend this blog ...
                1) First post ever includes a link, alarm bells ringing

                2) The words 'financial freedom' included - more alarm bells. I'm guessing it's something to do with property seminars/education/snake oil/magic beans

                Anyway, back to the thread issue ...

                I didn't 'sue' my last agent exactly, but I did go through their complaints process (sent a complaint letter and waited 8 weeks while they ignored it). I then raised a complaint with their redress scheme.

                The agent sent a letter to dismiss the points I'd raised (denying whatever was my word against theirs).

                When I sent a reply disagreeing with everything they said - and pointing out the two things in their letter that contradicted each other, they offered a settlement. I accepted it, just to bring it all to a close, but probably could (should ??) have pushed for more.

                So, start by writing a letter of complaint and hope they ignore it. That will get you off to a good start, showing that customer service is of little importance to them.

                I'm not sure if the redress schemes count complaints to them as a 'black mark' against the agent.

                Good luck !

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'm also interested in this question - I think it's one of the many missing jigsaw pieces in our industry - the obligations and responsibilities of the landlord's agent and how they can be held accountable.

                  The article is interesting - it's literally headline-grabbing but I think there's information missing, it's misleading and it fails to make connections where there are connections to be made:
                  - The agent in question is unlikely to have charged £4,000 (£3,769) to find tenants - that would be 21% of the annual rent (£17,676) - which seems high even for the agent in question. This figure is likely to be the management charge during the tenancy.
                  - There seem to be 3 issues 1) behaviour of the tenants/occupants 2) non-payment of rent 3) sub-letting - these probably all relate to each other to some degree. All of these breach the tenancy agreement.
                  - Failure to adequately reference the tenants is the main point of the article and the main claim the landlords seem to be making against the agent. The claim seems to focus on the agent failing to gather the information necessary to conclude that the tenants didn't have a high enough household income to afford the rent leading to rent arrears. That seems clear enough. However, if the landlords are claiming for loss relating to this, wouldn't the loss would be for the amount of the rent arrears, not the management charge?
                  - If the claim is to do with the arrears, the landlords have another way to recoup this. However, the landlords "have obtained a county court judgment against the tenants, although no repayment of arrears" - what? What could the CCJ be for if not for arrears?!
                  - Unless the claim relates to the agent not ending the tenancy after it was breached. We know there was nuisance, which became apparent after "a few weeks", and the tenancy lasted at least 15 months but my estimate from the figures is it was more like 20. The article was written in 2018 when there was such thing as accelerated possession - why wasn't the tenancy ended after the fixed term and why didn't the landlords request this? I personally would have a lower tolerance to anti-social behaviour and sub-letting that rent arrears.

                  I think the article highlights a couple of issues that regularly come up on this forum:
                  - These people aren't professional landlords:
                  If our industry / national policy allows for people to own homes for rent JUST as an investment, which it does, then there needs to be some agency that these 'property investors' can (must) use to ensure an agreed minimum standard for tenants (currently the statutory burden that falls only on the landlord). Letting agents simply don't fulfil this role - they're miles away from it. If not, shouldn't landlords be regulated? Controversial I know. My question is really, isn't this a circle that needs to be squared?
                  - If you use an agent, what does the contract say e.g:
                  If you are paying for "referencing" what are you actually paying for?
                  Only agree to fees as a % of rent collected NOT rent owed.
                  What's the agency procedure for breach of contract?
                  Of course if you are a professional landlord, you'll probably be much better at negotiating a contract that works / walking away from agents who aren't offering an appropriate level of service / making allowances for that service. Which brings me back to the point above.

                  I think there is another "missing jigsaw piece" issue here which is, what are you paying for with referencing? For example, some time ago, I asked RLA (as was) to reference a set of tenants. They wouldn't take UC into account as income because the insurer wouldn't accept it. I explained that I didn't care what the insurer would accept as I wasn't intending to take out insurance and the reference was for me 1) the owner of the property and 2) the person paying for the service. The team, although highly efficient, didn't understand what I was talking about. Anyway that's another issue.

                  In terms of holding agent to account. I've done a quick internet search for "how to complain about a letting agent" and the information's sketchy at best. Shelter and CAB only address the issue from the tenant's perspective. Propertymark has a go as covering both bases - https://www.propertymark.co.uk/advic...ing-agent.aspx - but I think it's very confused (and they really shouldn't be). In the first sentence they suggest complaining to your landlord - what's the point of that!? Their list of examples doesn't include the sort of things that might seriously impact a landlord, like failure to carry out a gas check or get a certificate or get evidence tenants received a copy of the certificate - I'm really not sure most agents know how important this stuff is.

                  The article and this discussion point out to me that there's a difference between complaints that are resolved by interventions to get the agent to start or stop doing something and claims for loss. I wonder if you did have a claim for loss, particularly a significant loss, you'd be better advised to go straight to the courts? Of course, that's the OP's question.

                  Another 'big picture' issue I have is that NRLA - really the only player when it comes to representing the interests of landlords - also represents lettings agents. Considering the context of this discussion, and how serious an issue this is, as shown on this forum, I'd say this is a conflict of interests. I want a body to represent me as a landlord. I also want that body to start helping landlords take agents to court to establish what the issues are. One of the things that Shelter do for tenants is take cases to court on their behalf. Through this they have established lots of case law, which makes the application of homeless and other housing legislation clear. I want that for landlords.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Please consider, when replying to an old thread that looks like it's been resurrected by a spammer (as this one was), you will be pushing more recent threads down the forum index.
                    I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

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                      #11
                      I was perhaps fortunate in that my tenant had a good job with the NHS and paid his rent. But on looking at Social Media I realised that he had lied about where he lived in that he had put his parents house down as his address (200 miles away) whereas on social media it showed that the University he attended was 5 miles away from my rental house which means he must have been living locally when he enquired about my property. So in effect by not giving his correct previous address and put his parents he was able to get round my letting agent asking his landlord for a reference.
                      So would I be wrong in that the Letting Agent should have picked up on this ?

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