Major problems with Letting Agents

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    Major problems with Letting Agents

    My friend is having problems with a property they are renting in Bristol. Please could you give me some guidance as to what he could do. I have set out the relevant facts

    (i) 12 month lease was due to commence 15th August 2008 - agent had trouble making property available so couldnt move tenants in. My friend and four others signed this lease

    (ii) Property available two weeks later - new lease made due to date change. One of the original tenants not happy with situation so does not sign new lease. Four tenants move in and are told they are ok just to pay they original 1/5 share each as the other tenant will be required to pay his share even though he is not moving in

    (iii) Three months pass and everything appears ok in terms of rent. After three months the agents (who are also own the property) state that the 1/5 share has not been paid and claim over £1,000 in arrears. My friend and his housemates claim this is unfair - they cannot afford this and feel they should have been informed sooner

    (iv) Property is in poor condition - air coming in to property and fire doors jamming shut etc - agents doing nothing to remedy this

    (v) Agent has not got relevant HMO licence - despite the building being three storey and originally letting to five tenants.

    (vi) Agents turn up without notice for viewings.


    My friend and co-tenants feel the agent/landlord has broken their obligations under the contract and want to seek alternative accomodation. They have found somewhere but this is not available until July 1st - some six weeks before tenancy due to end.

    How would you advise they proceed?

    Thanks

    #2
    Originally posted by 99sc1610 View Post
    My friend is having problems with a property they are renting in Bristol. Please could you give me some guidance as to what he could do. I have set out the relevant facts

    i) 12 month lease was due to commence 15th August 2008 - agent had trouble making property available so couldnt move tenants in. My friend and four others signed this lease

    ii) Property available two weeks later - new lease made due to date change. One of the original tenants not happy with situation so does not sign new lease. Four tenants move in and are told they are ok just to pay they original 1/5 share each as the other tenant will be required to pay his share even though he is not moving in
    Do they have anything in writing to prove that the agent promised them this? The fifth tenant has not signed or moved in so it would be very hard to argue that s/he was part of the tenancy at all so therefore could not be pursued for rent.

    Originally posted by 99sc1610 View Post
    (iii) Three months pass and everything appears ok in terms of rent. After three months the agents (who are also own the property) state that the 1/5 share has not been paid and claim over £1,000 in arrears. My friend and his housemates claim this is unfair - they cannot afford this and feel they should have been informed sooner
    If it is a joint tenancy they signed, then yes, legally they are jointly liable for the whole rent. However, if they have any proof of what the agent told them about the final 20% of the rent, that may form the basis of a defence against a claim by LL.

    Originally posted by 99sc1610 View Post
    (v) Agent has not got relevant HMO licence - despite the building being three storey and originally letting to five tenants.
    Definitely illegal unless an application has been made (LL will have been given a date by which works should be completed - ring the HMO licensing dept of council and they will tell you whether licence has been applied for or not - this info is in the public domain - you just need the property address and postcode and name of LL.

    Originally posted by 99sc1610 View Post
    (vi) Agents turn up without notice for viewings.
    This can constitute harassment if repeated and is breach of contract (T's right to quiet enoyment is enshrined in law). Access can be refused and locks changed if wished.


    Originally posted by 99sc1610 View Post
    My friend and co-tenants feel the agent/landlord has broken their obligations under the contract and want to seek alternative accomodation. They have found somewhere but this is not available until July 1st - some six weeks before tenancy due to end.

    How would you advise they proceed?

    Thanks
    I would write to LL and complain about all the things you have described above and ask for an early surrender. Has their deposit been protected, by the way?
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

    Comment


      #3
      deposit has been protected - agent as stakeholder. They also have 2 months rent in advance

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by 99sc1610 View Post
        deposit has been protected - agent as stakeholder. They also have 2 months rent in advance
        By 'they also have two months rent in advance' do you mean that Ts paid 2 months' rent up front, then did not have to pay any more until the rent for the third month fell due?

        Or is the agent 'holding over' the initial 2 months' worth, for use at the end of the tenancy?

        If the latter, then it is not in fact rent in advance, but an additional amount of deposit and it should be protected.
        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

        Comment


          #5
          I understand that this is being held for the end of the tenancy. Either that, or they will not have to pay for the final two months. They have been paying rent each month since moving in. I think I may phone the head office tomorrow and remind them of the severe penalties for not having a HMO licence....perhaps this will make them open to negotiation.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by 99sc1610 View Post
            I understand that this is being held for the end of the tenancy. Either that, or they will not have to pay for the final two months. They have been paying rent each month since moving in. I think I may phone the head office tomorrow and remind them of the severe penalties for not having a HMO licence....perhaps this will make them open to negotiation.

            Good idea, plus the arrangement you descirbe vis a vis the two months' rent - whatever the agent's plans for it at the tend of the tenancy - makes it a deposit, not rent.

            'A deposit by any other name would smell as...well, deposity'. (Sorry, Will)

            It should be protected and presumably isn't. So they can also sue the agent for 3x as much as the penalty for non-protection. Either that, or agent/Ll must return it immediately to them in full.

            These agents sound a right bunch.
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

            Comment


              #7
              for reference - they go by the name of Grant Management.

              thanks for the help

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for your help

                Could you give me some statutory authority for what you said about the lieu as deposit? Would help me a great deal when talking to them tomorrow.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by 99sc1610 View Post
                  Thanks for your help

                  Could you give me some statutory authority for what you said about the lieu as deposit? Would help me a great deal when talking to them tomorrow.
                  This is useful:

                  http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...dvance+deposit
                  'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                  Comment


                    #10
                    thank you - will phone them this morning

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Grant Management are Members of ARLA so you should be making a formal complaint to:

                      Compliance Department
                      NFOPP
                      Arbon House
                      6 Tournament Court
                      Edgehill Drive
                      Warwick
                      CV32 6LG
                      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.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thank you - I will complain to ARLA about this. Hopefully this can be resolved without havng to go to court to claim for 3x the non-protected amount.

                        Comment

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