Can i sue letting agent for neglect?

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    Can i sue letting agent for neglect?

    Im new to this site but would like some advice please! I am landlady of a small terrace house in south wales and have been living in north yorkshire for the last 7 years so paid a letting agent to manage the property. The tennant has been a poor payer and has paid randomly in cash whenever he felt like it resulting in him owing over £3000 in arrears and me finally evicting him last weekend. The whole process has taken about 18 months because i was badly advised bu the agent who has persuaded me on two occations to give him another chance as they felt he was going through a tough time financially and that he had every intention of catching up with payments, they advised that as he was self employed if i went t o court id have little chance of recovering any money from him. I went in to the lettings office in person on monday - clearly they were shocked to meet me as i have always been on the end of a phone, they gave me the keys to the property and i have discovered the house to be in vile disgusting condition, the front door handle was hanging off as i aproached the house i had to climb over piles of rotting rubbish - the inside of the house is destroyed - they kept a rotweiller there without permission who has defecated on the carpets and the doors and windows were left wide open. The garden is full of old fridge freezers sofas and rotting binbags. The neighbour next door informed me of drugs being used there and a police raid a year ago for cannabis growing. Needless to say the letting agent denied all knowledge of this and i dont believe them. I had a letter from them dated feb this year to say a routine inspection had found the property to be in good order! I have now discovered the agent knows the tenant personally and has been protecting him for personal reasons! Court date in july for eviction now not needed i guess - One question - Can i sue the agent?

    #2
    Firstly you have to look very carefully at any written Terms of Business you had with the agency as that will be the basis of any complaint you have.

    The agent has to act in your best interests and I suggest you could use the Property Ombudsman Code of Practice for Letting Agents which you can download online, against the agent. The agent doesn't have to be a member of TPO but as the Code is freely available to agents as to how they should conduct themselves then they have no excuse for not following it.

    If you were to take the agent to court it is likely to be expensive and they can only be held in breach of their contractual obligations, and are not responsible for the behaviour of the tenant which is an entirely different matter, and whom you should pursue separately through the County Court.

    Advising you to give the tenant latitude about rental payments when there appears to be considerable arrears is not good, and that the breaches of the tenancy look numerous and what they should have done is suggest that you seek possession at the earliest opportunity.
    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.

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      #3
      Yes you can sue the agent.

      Your chance of success depends on what you can prove that the agent did that they were not allowed to do.

      For instance, they may have advised you to let them stay, they did not force you to let them stay so it depends very much on what questions you asked before agreeing to their suggestion.

      I kind of agree with Paul_f regarding the tenants liability, but if you pursue the tenant and are unable to recover your proven losses, then it may be possible to sue the agent for consequential loss.

      FWIW, I went through a very similar experience with my first ever letting.

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