How can I reclaim money from our letting agent?

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    How can I reclaim money from our letting agent?

    Hi new member to this forum and I need advise please. We have been using the same letting agent for a number of years.

    We had been living out of the country. We came back to the uk recently and we did a drive by the house before we saw the letting agents. The house looked very badly maintained with an over grown garden. We went to the agent to demand access to the property for inspection legally because tenants were living there. After a number of weeks they finally got us into the house as they said they could not get hold of tenants.

    The house internally was an absolute mess with signs of water damage on the ceilings and filthy. During this time the tenants were three months in arrears and the agents had not even given them notice! When we finally received the paperwork we noticed that charges for repairs were conducted on the property with no supporting contractor invoices which were asked for but never given. I think we surprised everyone when we turned up.

    We have gone through our original contact and the Agents have broken many of their clauses. To cut a long story short the tenants did a runner, six months in arrears, they had a cannibis farm in the garage in which they left three skip loads of rubbish. How can we make the letting agent pay for their non inspection of the property, charging us for fictitious work done, emergency callouts and gas certificate charges when they knew we had B.Gas insurance to cover all this. On top of all this I do not think they are part of any organisation e.g. Property ombudsman so don't know what to do first, small claims?

    I would sincerely appreciate any advise as I would hate another landlord using this company to go through this too.

    Thanks

    #2
    Damage and rent are your (ex) tenants responsibility. You would need to find them (tracing from £36 no find no fee) and pursue them through court. If you are unable to recover whatever money the court orders the tenant to pay then you may have a claim against the agent for consequential loss, but only for as much as is directly attributable to the agent - you refer to the agents not complying with their inspection commitment, yet if the tenant refuses access they would be trespassing!

    With regard to the non-tenant cost issues, it would be the county court for any unsubstantiated bills or unauthorised work. If you believe the agents were significantly not complying with the contract then it would be sensible to also claim for all the 'management fees' you have paid them for - just make sure they were meant to be doing X before you sue them for not doing so.

    I do sympathise, my 1st agent treated me exactly like this (and gave me tenants exactly like this) but we live and learn.

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      #3
      I would take a different stance. Ask the agent for all referencing paperwork, and they should as a duty of care have sent these to you, and asked for your instructions to let to these people.

      Agents cannot be held responsible for tenants' behaviour but it very much depends on whether they had previous which would show up in proper referencing. Also contact your insurers as a claim might be appropriate.
      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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        #4
        I agree with Pauls statements but I think Paul & I disagree on the need to mitigate any loss before pursuing the agent. My experience is that you need to do this.

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