Was my Letting agent negligent?

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    Was my Letting agent negligent?

    The things I’ve found they’ve done wrong :
    1. Didn’t verify tenants benefits income.
    2. May not have checked guarantor as I cannot find him at address given.
    3. Before I signed up told me any tenant on benefits would have to agree to direct payment to them. This wasn’t done and indeed doesn’t exist.
    4. Failed to inform inventory check company of outside area that belongs to property. Taken 3 hours work to clear it now tenant has disappeared.
    5. Failed to inspect property and report minor damage to me.
    6. Told me tenant was apologetic rent was late, now told me tenant became agitated during that phone call. Arrears team have a long log of calls in which he was abusive, shouting over staff and making threats towards staff.
    7. Tenant left before agreed date, handed keys to agent who did not visit the property and did not tell me they had the keys for a week. I didn’t know the property was empty for that week. Inventory clerk went in and left bathroom fan running.
    8. Tenant's benefits would have been insufficient to cover the rent from the start. I’m £700 in rent arrears plus cleaning, minor repairs.

    ive complained via their procedure. Usual damage limitation email with girl in office changing her story again.
    Should I now go through Ombudsman ? I’m claiming back the £500 initial set up fee as they didn’t do what I paid them to do ( in my opinion, anyway)
    know it might not seem huge money but I’m a pensioner without a pension so this is my income.
    Im prepared to go as far as small claims.
    Opinions, please.

    #2
    Go for it.

    The basic issue is what did the letting agent agree to do and did they do it to the appropriate standard?

    They'd be sensible to pay the £500 just to avoid the court case, so start with a letter before action, outlining everything you've said above.

    I'd also claim the £700 arrears as arising directly from their negligence (although you might be lucky to win that one) - Can't you recover some of that from the deposit?

    If you're a pensioner letting a single property, you're almost certainly a consumer in your dealings with the agents and would be covered by basic consumer protection legislation - so the standard is " reasonable care and skill" in providing their service to you (s49 - Consumer Rights Act 2015) and I'd suggest you have a reasonable claim that they fell below that standard.
    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


      #3
      Firstly, sorry to hear of your troubles. It's never easy when this stuff goes wrong.

      There's a lot you could have done to prevent this. Firstly, using an agent means that you now have to manage the agent, instead of the tenant directly. You need to know what they should do and when and inform them immediately if they transgress.

      Take the verification of tenant's income, for example. You should have asked for this verification documentation prior to agreeing to let to the tenant. Never rely on the agent's word. Same goes for guarantor.

      Again, you should have asked for documentation showing payment from the council to the agent as well as a copy of the inventory which you should have gone through to check for any omissions. Had you done this, you would have been able to ask the agent to get an addition to the inventory ... although this is no guarantee you still wouldn't have had a job to clear stuff at the end of the tenancy.

      Failing to inspect the property would be something you could check by writing to them and asking for their intended dates of inspection. If you had asked them to provide an inspection report the day after visiting, you would have been aware that an inspection had not been carried out.

      particularly as you are dependent on the income, it would be really helpful to protect that by getting as informed as possible of the law and responsibilities of landlords, agents and tenants and then making sure any agent you use fulfils their responsibilities at the time. It's a lot harder in retrospect.

      I would definitely pursue some action against the agent, but I'd also give myself some training.

      Comment


        #4
        jpkeates Thank you and
        tatemono thank you

        sorry for late response to you both, been a stressful time.
        I feel encouraged by your advice to go forward with a claim against the agent. And since posting originally other things have come to light that they neglected to carry out, so I don’t think they’ve much of a case.
        I will post the eventual outcome and thanks again.

        Comment


          #5
          One case I recall where an agent failed to carry out adequate checks is covered here: https://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/20...table-tenants/

          Comment

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