Landlord switching from agency to self managed - rules?

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    Landlord switching from agency to self managed - rules?

    Hello there.

    A few days ago I started to receive phone calls from an unfamiliar number to my personal mobile. Yesterday I the caller leaves a message stating they are our landlord and they want to talk to us about repairs. They have continued to call since, but left no further messages. My husband also reported receiving an email at his work from an individual claiming to be our landlord. They wished to have a 'brief discussion' about property maintenance (we have outstanding repairs including a leaking boiler) and our plans for staying in the property in the future.

    Here's the thing: We've rented for eight years and NEVER have we been contacted directly by the landlords. It's always been through an agency. Last year the original agency sold their contracts to another agency who we felt (as renters) we had a pretty decent relationship with.

    I cataloged the calls and send an email to the agency this morning. But, like clockwork 10 AM comes and the calls started, so I called the agency directly. They stated that the landlords had cancelled the contract with them and would now be self managing.

    We were not notified about this change and, despite us knowing that the contract is between ourselves and the landlord, all contact details revert to the agency. I cannot, without going through a search of some kind, verify that the calls or the email is from our actual landlord.

    My question is - in the case where a landlord cancels with an agency but does not notify the tenant, what happens? We're set to pay to the agency rent and the agency holds the deposit. I would assume the landlords would have at least written us with some level of a notification so we knew what was happening.

    Finally I wish to note that the landlords have, in the past, been very difficult to get a hold of and are extremely slow on repairs. I do not consider us to have the best relationship due to this.

    Advice is appreciated.

    #2
    Call the agency again and ask to confirm the landlord contact details? And then check that against whoever is claiming to be the landlord?
    I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

    I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you. I have placed a request with the agency to send over the landlord contact details. I'll update this thread as I know more.

      Comment


        #4
        Sorry you've had these issues.

        You (presumably already) have the name of the landlord and address for landlord "for the service of notices"?? If so write to them c/o that address.

        If you wish to re-assure yourselves, spend £3 with land registry (10 minutes online...)
        https://www.gov.uk/search-property-i...-land-registry
        - and get name and address of owner of your home...

        If it doesn't match that of person claiming to be landlord, start worrying.

        Regarding repairs (now & in future) suggest you follow Shelter's process and draft letter...
        https://england.shelter.org.uk/housi...ivate_landlord
        - to report, in writing, issues to landlord, copy agent, keep copy: And what to do if he doesn't fix things...
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you. The agency provided me a phone number and email address which match the contacts we have received so far. As you noted £3 was all we needed for a quick title check I've pulled this information and will review it against the contract when I'm home this evening. Making sure everything is on the up-and-up is important to me.

          I have also downloaded the Shelter document to help draft a letter to request repair. We are pushing for the landlord to do everything in writing to ensure proper documentation.

          Comment


            #6
            The landlord does not have to reply in writing (or email): But any that don't are stupid (you want the records in case it ever ends up in court..).

            If landlord (or anyone else..) won;t put things in writing simply write/email back after presumably verbal conversation saying "thanks for that chat. I said... You said... We agreed that .... Sadly you did not agree to ,......."...

            Good luck. He's probably OK but doesn;t think of things from tenant's viewpoint..
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #7
              That's very good advice, thank you! Hopefully we'll get everything in documentation as the tenancy itself has not been well documented throughout. I will continue to update this thread until we reach a resolve on this sudden change in management.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by xaviercat View Post
                Thank you. The agency provided me a phone number and email address which match the contacts we have received so far. As you noted £3 was all we needed for a quick title check I've pulled this information and will review it against the contract when I'm home this evening. Making sure everything is on the up-and-up is important to me.

                I have also downloaded the Shelter document to help draft a letter to request repair. We are pushing for the landlord to do everything in writing to ensure proper documentation.
                And once you are satisfied give the LL (landlord) a call, explain why you were not answering/unsure but have now spoken to the agent and understand that he/she is no longer using their services. Get the direct relationship off to a start on a good friendly footing.

                The issues before with slow repairs etc may not have been the LL... The agent may have blamed the LL when it was them/their tradesmen that were slow.

                Comment


                  #9
                  NB: That the agent still expects landlord to pay their % commission is landlord's problem, not yours.

                  You do not have to agree to any new or changed tenancy agreement: But might wish to do so if they committ, in writing, to something you really want (dunno what, eg double glazing to replace clapped-out single-glazed rotting wooden frames)
                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Okay so I pulled our last signed tenancy agreement up and the title. Here's what I learned:
                    1. The landlord appears to have been using a nickname or abbreviated name on the tenancy agreement. I understand that legally this is acceptable but if anyone has had a different story I'd appreciate you letting me know.
                    2. There is a second property owner on the title but not on the tenancy agreement.
                    3. The address on the title is the same as the address on the property we rent. There is no additional addresses for the landlord.

                    As such I do have an email address and phone number to contact the landlord with, verified by the former agency in use. I do not have an address to send documentation, notices, anything certified to, however.

                    Am I in my right to:
                    - Request an address to mail items?
                    - Query ownership with the landlord to confirm he is the same person as listed on the title?
                    - Ask why the second owner is not on the tenancy agreement or confirm that that person can act on behalf of the landlord listed?

                    I would like to have this relationship be cordial but again as this was a sort of 'SURPRISE!' arrangement I am wanting to be sure that I have all the details. The landlord, after all, should have all of mine as I checked the tenancy agreement and nothing has changed.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      One of joint owners can rent the place.

                      So "Mickey Mouse" is named on tenancy as landlord, but that's a nickname - his real name is Mr Michael Mauser: I'd ask And why his real name different from on tenancy agreement. Could all be legitimate, but could be a scam or fraud or woteva...

                      If address on land registry is the rented property then (probably..) either landlord is on the fiddle (not a buy-to-let mortgage or pretending to live there & not declaring rent money) or very stupid (you set up false ID in his name and then sell the place or re-mortgage it.

                      Ask him for his real address: You are entitled to it, criminal offence not to provide within 21 days.
                      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Make sure the request is in writing.
                        I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                        I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Just to confuse you further, the LL doesn't have to be the owner, the property doesn't have to be mortgaged so no fraud, you can check this however seeing as you have the office copies it will tell you if their is a charge against the property.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Wow - so how can you verify a person has the right to rent out a property? In regards to the title it does apparently have a mortgage against it still, so I know that much. I'm going to set it aside as knowledge for the moment as coming in hostile might be a bad play to make.

                            As for the landlord after I called the agency and found out they were no longer managing the property he then called in to my partner and left a message on his mobile. My partner then went and wrote an email to our landlord (again, pushing towards documentation) stating that we had just learned about this change and if he would kindly put his requests in writing we'll get things sorted.

                            So, in a fashion which reminds me of how its always been with this property, the landlord promptly vanishes. No calls. No emails. After about a week of practically stalker-calling me.

                            Here's our plan - give him a week to respond to the email. The landlord might be learning what he needs to provide us (contact details, etc) and wants to be complete... again lets err to the side of caution. After that week passes we'll send an email requesting a mailing address and listing out the requested repairs following the templates everyone has been so kind to provide.

                            Finally, from what I understand the agency is 'done' with the landlord as he took the decision to not renew. My question to the group - does this mean that if we decide to leave at the end of the fixed term the landlord or one of his appointed reps has to come get the keys? I also don't know who we're supposed to pay rent to - the agency until the end of the fixed term or switch to the landlord? I do know that the agency will protect the deposit until the end of the fixed term and then the landlord has to get it sorted... but perhaps this is part of the information the landlord, now self managing, needs to send to us. (And might explain the silence)

                            Thanks to everyone for being so helpful.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              When ending tenancies I simply ask the Tenants to post the keys through the letterbox and drop me a message once they are gone.
                              This lets then pack and go without having to wait around for me (the LL) to come and visit.
                              Post checkout inspection is always done day of/day after checkout and then details of any problems that I feel they should cover the cost of is sent within 7 days with evidence (start of T inventory/photos and after T inventory/photos along with my maths on fair wear and tear).

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