Is my landlord within his rights?

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    Is my landlord within his rights?

    Having just signed a AST contract and moving in late at night, on the very next day my sister (co tenant) was rushed to hospital with a serious illness. As she was transfered to a specialist hospital it meant that I and her had to leave the property for two weeks whilst she recieved treatment.
    However, on returning I recieved a phone call from my lettings agency saying that the landlord had entered the property and was livid with the condition, and that it was 'filthy'. (Bearing in mind that these were just partially opened 'moving in' boxes, clothes bags and ornament boxes, with polysterene fillings and some initial coffee cups that we had drank the night befoe).

    When I questioned the fact that the landlord had walked in without permission, and that we had a very unusual circumstances the agent replied "Its his property, he wanted to see the paint job we'd done inside".

    I was then called into a meeting with the lettings agent, and his manager "to explain myself", and this whilst my sister was still unwell.

    The situation now is that I have to allow the agents into the property weekly, for a few weeks so that the agents can take pictures and show the landlords that I am keeping the place 'clean'. However the agent let slip the other day that the landlord hasnt even signed the tenancy agreement, and he'll only do this after the 4-6 weeks.

    I know its a long story, but its really getting me down. I'm constantly worried that they'll come in at any moment, and I just don't know legally where I stand. After all, I could be paying him rent and he could just turn around and say 'I'm not signing anything, get them out'.

    Any advice would be gratefully recieved!!

    #2
    Firstly, let me start of by saying that both you and the tenants have rights enshrined in law:-

    1. Inter alia, the landlord has to give you peaceful enjoyment of the property which, basically by entering the property whilst you were away, it could be argued that he hasnt and thus is in breach of this covenant.

    2. Inter alia, the tenant has to keep the property in a tenant like manner - you agree that because of circumstances, you failed to do this and the landlord, on an inspection, found out.

    Two wrongs dont make a right. So, to prevent this escalating - tell the agents to come by appointment at a mutually agreed time and date and you refuse the photographing on security grounds.
    If they wont do this, then change the locks and deny entry. The probable result is that the landlord wont renew your agreement which although its unsigned would still stand as a tenancy granting can be oral.
    So you are safe for 6 months as long as you pay rent.

    If the agents persist in arriving without appointment or letting themselves in, then report to the councils housing department who will take action or warn them its an offence of harassment.

    Comment


      #3
      Tell the agents that you are going to change the locks due to the unreasonable behaviour of them and the landlord, then change the locks, and reinstate them when you leave.

      Be prepared to move out at the end of the fixed term of your tenancy.
      Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

      Comment


        #4
        I agree with djb, and you have my sympathies - it sounds as though your LL and his agent are being very unreasonable and extremely unprofessional.

        Apart from anything else, if the flat was -as one would expect it should be - sparkling clean when you moved in, I fail to see how anyone could render it 'filthy' within such a short space of time. Even professional slobs (and I have met some!) take at least a month to make a room genuinely 'filthy', and that is when they live in it 24/7. It just doesn't add up.
        '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
          Originally posted by thesaint View Post
          Tell the agents that you are going to change the locks due to the unreasonable behaviour of them and the landlord, then change the locks, and reinstate them when you leave.

          Be prepared to move out at the end of the fixed term of your tenancy.
          I was under the impression that a T should not tell a LL/LA that they are changing the locks as most TAs prohibit doing so (unless there is a law that I've missed, the T is bound by this until struck down by the courts). A T should change the locks silently and send a letter to the LL/LA requesting that they do not attempt to access the property without the T's permission and only while the T is present.

          That way, any unauthorised attempt by the LL/LA to enter the property will be thwarted and they have no recourse against the T because they should not have been there in the first place.

          It would be interesting to here opinions on this.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by roryl View Post
            I was under the impression that a T should not tell a LL/LA that they are changing the locks as most TAs prohibit doing so (unless there is a law that I've missed, the T is bound by this until struck down by the courts). A T should change the locks silently and send a letter to the LL/LA requesting that they do not attempt to access the property without the T's permission and only while the T is present.

            That way, any unauthorised attempt by the LL/LA to enter the property will be thwarted and they have no recourse against the T because they should not have been their in the first place.

            It would be interesting to here opinions on this.
            Yes, I think that is an intelligent synopsis of the issue.

            T should of course re-instate LL's locks at the end of the tenancy.
            '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
              In the OP you mention that the LL wanted to see the paint job that you had done inside.

              What is that all about? Did you and the LL agree that you would do a "paint job" on the property?

              Regardless of what the LA and the LL want about regular visits and photographic evidence of weekly visits, they can demand this but you have no obligation to make it happen. As already pointed out preventing this sort of intrusion may mean that you are not invited to stay beyond your initial term, but would you want to stay with this type of LL and LA?

              pm
              Before acting on forum advice, you may wish to consult an expert, someone who has all the relevant facts, and who accepts liability for their advice.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by property mongrel View Post
                In the OP you mention that the LL wanted to see the paint job that you had done inside.

                What is that all about? Did you and the LL agree that you would do a "paint job" on the property?



                pm
                I think the use of direct speech in OP's reference to the paint job suggests that it was the LA/LLs' paint job, not OP's. I may be wrong!
                '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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by davidjohnbutton View Post

                  2. Inter alia, the tenant has to keep the property in a tenant like manner - you agree that because of circumstances, you failed to do this and the landlord, on an inspection, found out.

                  Two wrongs dont make a right.
                  I disagree that OP has done anything 'wrong'. The tenant has no obligation to keep the property clean and tidy during the tenancy, just to return the property in reasonably clean condition at the end of the tenancy.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by westminster View Post
                    I disagree that OP has done anything 'wrong'. The tenant has no obligation to keep the property clean and tidy during the tenancy, just to return the property in reasonably clean condition at the end of the tenancy.
                    Absolutely. My comments about it being impossible to make a property filthy in two weeks were not intended to suggest that a T shouldn't make it filthy if they want to!

                    I would defend to the death any Englishman's right to turn his home into a sett and live like a badger!
                    '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


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Julietj View Post
                      However the agent let slip the other day that the landlord hasnt even signed the tenancy agreement, and he'll only do this after the 4-6 weeks....After all, I could be paying him rent and he could just turn around and say 'I'm not signing anything, get them out'.
                      No, he can't. It makes absolutely no difference whether the LL signs the agreement or not - you still have a legally valid tenancy, and you cannot be evicted before the end of the fixed term (unless you don't pay the rent or otherwise seriously breach the provisions in the contract).

                      Is this an AST in England/Wales, rent less than £2,083.33? Did you pay a deposit and is it protected in a scheme?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        See this link for further info on your rights as an assured shorthold tenant
                        http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...hold_tenancies

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