Problems with a Management Agency

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    Problems with a Management Agency

    My son took a 6 month AST out in October 2018.

    In March 2019, the management agency advised if he wanted to stay in the property he needed an extension to the agreement, and charged him £90 for the priviledge - although they gave him nothing in the form of new paperwork. He simply signed a form, paid £90 and got nothing back.

    Whilst I am aware that such charges are now not legal, I question the legality of such at that point, as surely in an AST when it is due to end the tenant still has to give one months notice and the landlord two months notice - this was detailed in the AST he signed in October 2018.

    The flat he lived in suffered seriously from damp which was creating mould spores. This had been covered with fresh paint, prior to his tenancy starting and no mention made to him. When the problem surfaced, neighbours advised these issues had been present in his flat for several years and the owner refused to get matters resolved.

    This had a detrimental effect on his health being asthmatic, and to our deep concern we found his matteress which was only two years old was black with mould spores and needs replacing. This was advised to the agents who refused to act on these complaints at all.

    Consequently my son gave notice and has ended this tenancy.

    Why the issue now you may ask - simple the Management Agency conducted their exit inspection and have really nit picked with issues. Many of which he had brought to their attention verbally (sadly) as they were only a hundred yards from the flat. These included faulty fittings (a kitchen roll holder, which broke soon as a roll was placed on it), marks on walls etc. One particular fault they raised was that the bathroom smelled !!! This was attributed to another complaint raised by him, in as much as the shower was a wetroom and the pump to drain it never functioned properly and water often remained either on the floor or in the pipes. No action was ever undertaken as the Agents claimed the landlord had been quoted £15000 to sort the plumbing out.

    They claimed that grouting and tiles were dirty, skirting boards dirty and so on - this we know to be a total lie. They have not provided any photos etc, but we know from our own experience trying to photograph a tiny bit of dust is nigh on impossible.

    They also claimed a bit of dust on top of a storage heater was unacceptable and they needed to get professional cleaners in - my wife who cleans properties professionally herself, had helped my sons mother, clean the flat extensively a week prior to their inspection which they held after the keys had been returned to them and he had left the area. The week prior to the cleaning, the agents had inspected the property whilst showing would be tenants around and had commented to my son that the flat was in very good condition, when my son again pointed out some of the issues previously raised, they verbally said not to worry as that would be deemed wear and tear in anycase.

    They had refused to co-operate with my son regarding the exit inspection saying we only do it after the keys are returned and then on specific days only. The days they do it, my son would have to take time off from his new job, and then have a 6 hour return train journey to attend and return home. They were aware of this when he gave his months notice to them.

    We are opposing their claim with regard the Deposit and I wonder how many of the other points I can be justified in raising, particularly as to the integrity of this Agency, who seem to be endeavouring to get money in any way they can, now that previous means have been made not legal for them to charge.

    Thanks for any guidance offered - I only wish he had informed me of all the issues back well before he paid money to them in April.

    #2
    The deposit will have been protected and the company with whom it was protected will have a dispute process he can use.

    Your son should dispute anything that he doesn't agree with.
    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
      Looking at paperwork supplied with his AST from October 2018, a Prescribed Information sheet was included which gave all the names of parties involved etc

      Also Quoted on this sheet is the following statement:


      Actual address of the Deposit Holder - XXXXXX

      Email address of the Deposit Holder - XXXXXXXX

      The information I have marked out, belonged to the Management Agents not any Deposit agency

      On a backing sheet there is mention of the DPS website, but he never received anything from the Agents or the DPS confirming the deposit - I have just checked online and it was registered - surely someone should have provided him with information, as I found it only by his address as he had no certificate number

      Comment


        #4
        The landlord is obliged to protect the deposit (with one of three organisations, of which the DPS is one) within 30 days of receipt.
        The agent has the same liability if they receive the deposit on behalf of the landlord.

        Whoever protects it has to give a document called the Prescribed Information, within the same deadline.
        What that document is required to show is defined by law and would contain lots of references to the DPS (including several pages of terms and conditions).
        It would normally be much more than "a sheet".

        I haven't used the DPS insured service personally (and so I don't know what the Prescribed Information for that service looks like), but it's possible that what's been provided isn't valid.

        If that's the case, the agent would be well-advised not to try and make any deductions at all.
        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


          #5
          Are you in possession of the check out report?

          If this was carried out after your son surrendered possession (by formally returning the keys) then it's findings will be highly dubious as your son could claim that issues were caused by others after he surrendered possession.

          With regards to deposit protection, if you were not provided with the deposit protection certificate, along with a raft of other documents regarding the deposit (a booklet explaining where it is held, inviting him to sign up to register an account with the relevant party etc) then the agent acting on behalf of the landlord has really dropped the ball, to you sons benefit. Below is a link to what is legally required to be provided within this initial timeframe:

          https://www.gov.uk/deposit-protectio...o-your-tenants

          You son may well now be able to sue the landlord for the failure to provide the relevant information with respect to his deposit, as the tenancy was renewed this claim could be doubled to cover the two tenancies undertaken. In reality he may not want to do this but he could write a letter before action, served recorded post to the agent (as their address appears in the tenancy agreement and hence is the place to serve a formal notice to the landlord), this will strike a cord and almost certainly make them more amenable to drop their tenuous observations on the condition of the property at check out.

          Comment


            #6
            The check out report has not been formally supplied. He received an email from the Lettings Manager whereby she advised she had carried out the check and found the following probles...........

            She then went on to say she was going to get quotes.

            To my knowledge the check was carried out some 5 days after his mother dropped the keys back into the Agents. I know they were actively showing tenants around in the period just before we cleaned the property, and the interim week before his mother was able to hand the keys in. All the would be tenants were not going ahead once they saw the type of shower room that was evident, and the mould / damp which my son left as instructed to be visible on the walls.

            Definitely did not have a Deposit Certificate, only the Prescribed Information I referred to.

            Thanks for the input on this, from what I have been told, and a couple of reviews I have found online about this Agency they seem to have a reputation for trying to maximise money, and with the stopping of so many charges it seems logical to try this on now

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by SE_Renter View Post
              if you were not provided with the deposit protection certificate
              I know of no requirement to provide a deposit certificate.
              Can you point me at it?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by MdeB View Post

                I know of no requirement to provide a deposit certificate.
                Can you point me at it?
                I may be wrong but under Section 213.5.b of the Housing Act 2004 requires the provision of information confirming compliance with the Deposit Protection requirements. By providing the deposit cert that confirms protection date, company details and contact information for the tenant in this regard, although I suppose all this information could be provided separately.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I think you need to cut to the chase here. Although you will probably easily be successful in your claim via the deposit scheme adjudicator, there are several statements made in your original post and in some comments in response to you that are flat out wrong -- so you should not rely on those aspects for support:

                  a) There is no reason whatever that you son has to be present at any checkout inspection (although that is often desirable).

                  b) There is no reason at all that the final checkout inspection should not take place after the keys are handed back. Indeed that is what MUST happen. The comments in response to you in that regard are cobblers. It cannot reasonably take place after other people have been living there however, but depending on the nature of the damage and how it was documented there is no reason assessments cannot continue afterwards. It is not "highly dubious" that the inspection would take place after keys are returned and the tenancy has ended.

                  what do you mean: "...the mould / damp which my son left as instructed to be visible on the walls..." -- that sounds highly odd.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post

                    b) There is no reason at all that the final checkout inspection should not take place after the keys are handed back. Indeed that is what MUST happen. The comments in response to you in that regard are cobblers. It cannot reasonably take place after other people have been living there however, but depending on the nature of the damage and how it was documented there is no reason assessments cannot continue afterwards. It is not "highly dubious" that the inspection would take place after keys are returned and the tenancy has ended.
                    The advice supplied by deposit protection companies would appear to disagree with you:

                    To be considered reliable the report must be undertaken as soon as possible after the end of the tenancy. Ideally this will be on the last day of the tenancy after the tenant has fully vacated. It can be useful for the tenant to be present however this is not essential or required in law. A check-out report undertaken some number of days beyond the end of the tenancy may be considered less reliable as evidence.

                    The fact is that the agent hasn't even supplied a check out report to the OP and is making assertions about deductions with no independent verification. They should formally request the full and immediate return of their entire deposit through the DPS and use the other failings of the agents in respect of the deposit information as leverage to ensure it is returned in full.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      AndrewDod - to expand on your question - my son made no attempt to clean or cover up the mould which is now evident all down the wall in the bedroom in question. I told him to leave it alone just to photograph it. Neigbours have advised there was a problem on all 3 floors, there landlords fixed their problems but my sons apparently refused to get involved.

                      Interestingly the agents sent him a quantity of photos today by email showing their claims. Reviewing them back to the pre-tenancy paperwork there is no clear way of identifying locations in the flat but thats me nit picking.

                      Amongst their photos they included two for damage to carpet which they did not consider wear and tear - one did not correspond to the photo my son took on leaving, but the second one showed a mark, where the photographers hand was in the photo as was appx 2 cm in size !!!

                      Infact whilst a couple of photos showed a few marks, Im not exaggerating when I say it would take someone less than 5 minutes to go (as his mother has offered to do) to clear them. They even supplied a photo of a portion of storage heater with them holding a dusty tissue - by the time they took the photo they could have moved the dust anyway.

                      In summary I would think that an adjudicator would not accept most of their claims - especially if they refuse offer for his mother to go back.

                      I'm going to try and attach one photo to this message which I think sums them up - words really fail me with it.

                      ** in closing I just went on their website to see if the property was still be advertised which it is, and I downloaded the PDF brochure for it - this UK based agency has in the brochure a section saying Tenant Fees - therein they state that a would be tenant has to pay a £216 application fee including vat.

                      Now I thought this sort of charge was illegal since June - can I use it to my benefit in anyway for my son, or can I report it to someone

                      Comment


                        #12
                        That fee has been illegal since some time in the last century! Someone quote the exact legislation within the last week, but it is difficult to find as most searches come up with the recent legislation. You should tell trading standards.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by SE_Renter View Post

                          I may be wrong but under Section 213.5.b of the Housing Act 2004 requires the provision of information confirming compliance with the Deposit Protection requirements.
                          You have omitted "as may be prescribed." at the end of S213(5).
                          It is the prescribed information for deposits that must be given.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by SE_Renter View Post

                            The advice supplied by deposit protection companies would appear to disagree with you:

                            Ideally this will be on the last day of the tenancy after the tenant has fully vacated. It can be useful for the tenant to be present however this is not essential or required in law.
                            The extract you quote says exactly what I said -- consequently I have no idea what you mean. There is no reason whatever for the tenant to be present. It can be useful for certain types of issues. There is certainly no plausible reason for it to be done before the keys are handed over as you assert.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              As an update ** I would appreciate comments on the legality of the following statement received by my son in an email from the Agents today ***

                              They have listed the fees they want to levy on him from his deposit and have cited the following statement

                              "£50 + vat for XYZ agents Handback fee as per the tenancy agreement and End of Tenancy guidance Notes"

                              The original AST was signed 29th October 2018.

                              Is this type of fee now ILLEGAL or not

                              Thanks

                              Comment

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