Missing furniture - Agent is not providing Inventories to check

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    Missing furniture - Agent is not providing Inventories to check

    Hi,

    I have a house which has been managed by a Letting Agent since 2012 and it has had various tenants since that time. I have a copy of the original Inventory they carried out on which there are various items of furniture, kitchen equipment and curtains etc. I have not visited the property myself since 2012 due to my location.

    The last tenant moved out in December 2016 and I requested a full condition report. By way of a report, I was sent a series of photos but noticed that most of the furniture was missing. I asked the Agent to account for this and they said that the tenant had not wanted the furniture so it was put into storage. I asked for an inventory of items in storage but this has not been forthcoming despite repeated requests. I have been vaguely told, yes there's a bed in storage! No details about whether it is MY bed and whether the mattress and headboard is still with it.

    I have also asked for copies of ALL inventories they have prepared over the years for each tenant but they have not done this.

    I have now been told that ALL of the furniture is in storage but they have not clearly detailed what. The table and chairs (that is now back in the house despite them saying there is no furniture there anymore) is not the one I left there and they have made no mention to the fact that the pots and pans, crockery, mugs and glasses are not there.

    I have tried to be patient with the agent (who has just re-let the property) but I am getting frustrated that I am not getting the information I have reasonably requested. I was not even told that they had re-rented it until I asked and I do not know what rent they have charged!!

    If I do not receive the past inventories by the end of the week, I would like to take this further. I note that they have The Property Ombudsman logo on their website. Is this something that I could go to them about?

    Any comments or advice would be much appreciated.

    #2
    Is the agent your tenant? I can't think of any other reason why you wouldn't know what rent they are charging the tenant or that it had been let.

    I honestly don't think any landlord can be that hands-off with a property. If its too far for you to visit for 5 years then my recommendation would be to sell-up and if you wish to still let property, buy something a bit more local

    Comment


      #3
      What does the Terms of Business Agreement you agreed with MA state about their resps?
      Did you rent property to LA for, say 5 yrs, in return for a guaranteed rent?

      Comment


        #4
        The agent is not my tenant - they are the managing agent and they find tenants as and when required and then charge a monthly fee for managing the property. I would expect them to be more communicative and at least tell me when they have found a new tenant but they don't seem to tell me anything unless I ask specific questions - like how much did you rent it for this time?

        With regard to being hand's off - I moved to Scotland and thought that it was safe to leave it all to my agent and trusted them to at least check tenants out properly and check inventories. I was obviously mistaken in this trust. My problem is now that they are not telling me where my furniture is (in storage is all they say) and they are not giving me a full inventory of what is in storage and have not provided me with past inventories despite my repeated requests.

        I think they have disposed of my furniture and are just stalling hoping that I go away and shut up.

        Comment


          #5
          I need to check the terms of the MA but regardless of this - surely they have a responsibility to properly check inventories that THEY have drawn up when a tenant leaves the property?

          I did not rent the property to the LA for a fixed term. They find a tenant each time it is required and then manage the tenancy during that period. I asked them to market the property for £450 per month but when I checked their website, I saw it was listed at £550 per month!! I'm now not sure that they have been giving me the correct rent for the past years as all payments from the tenant go through them and they give me the rent less their fee.

          I know the advice will probably be to change LA but that does not solve the problem of the missing furniture.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
            Is the agent your tenant? I can't think of any other reason why you wouldn't know what rent they are charging the tenant or that it had been let.

            I honestly don't think any landlord can be that hands-off with a property. If its too far for you to visit for 5 years then my recommendation would be to sell-up and if you wish to still let property, buy something a bit more local
            It's a common mistake for inexperienced landlords to think they can just employ an agent and then wash their hands of the responsibilities. Please remember that an agent works for themselves, not you! I also own some distant properties, I contact the L.A. frequently throughout the tenancies, and I and use a separate company for inventories to allow me a independent view of what's happening to the place. I can't physically check on the place, but I can still keep my finger on the pulse via email and phone. I talk to my L.A. at least every 2 months, and I also speak to the tenants directly to check that the L.A. are doing everything they tell me they do.

            Comment


              #7
              While the agent works for themselves, they also work for the landlord.
              In fact they owe a duty to the landlord beyond a normal commercial relationship.

              I would write to the MD of the firm outlining your concerns.

              What does you agreement with them say about furniture and storage (and who is paying for the storage?).
              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


                #8
                I do keep in contact with the LA via email and phone and have always done so but they are not good at communication - the only time they really contact me is when a tenant has given notice. Other than that, they don't communicate. I've just had another battle with them getting invoices from them for the tax return but that's another matter!!

                With regard to the LA not working for me - I have a contract with them to manage my property for which I pay them a fee - does that not mean they work for me?

                Comment


                  #9
                  I am dealing with the MD but it's a small local firm so he's probably also the administrator as well. I agree that I believe the LA does work for me as I have a contract and I pay a fee for his services.

                  They have never charged me for storage and they have never told me where the storage is. They once emailed me to say that a tenant did not want some of my furniture and could they dispose of it. I replied by email that I was not prepared to dispose of any furniture. This is when they said they would store it for me. Since that point, I assume the furniture has been stored but now I want to find it, this problem has arisen.

                  Also, with regard to kitchen equipment - is it not reasonable to assume that if a tenant breaks or disposes of something, they should replace it at their cost? All these items have just "gone" from the inventory without any explanation.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It depends on what your tenancy agreement says about such breakages.
                    There are some general principles about loss of value during a tenancy, but normally the rules are spelled out in the tenancy agreement.
                    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


                      #11
                      If MA is collecting rent on your brhalf, surely they must communicate each month and provide a Statement of Account by email, at least. MA 'works' for you, so you are entitled to all Tenancy-related documentation on request.
                      Ultimately it is your resp to assess loss/repair, with due allowance for FW&T and ref to move in/out Inventories. Your estimate will be assessed for reasonableness by ADR/SCC if agreement cannot be agreed with T.

                      Comment

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