Hacked off with Letting Agency - can I do this?

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    Hacked off with Letting Agency - can I do this?

    We have lived here for over three years now, and though we have found it a convenient place to live in a quiet street, the rent is too expensive, especially considering the condition of the property. Therefore we have found somewhere smaller and much cheaper in the same area, and are due to move end of November.

    We are on an SPT and the tenancy began 31 May 2008 so therefore we need to give one month's notice before the 30th, is this correct? And the last day of our tenancy would be 30 November?

    Throughout the tenancy the landlords have been fairly uninterested in maintaining the place. I've had to ask and ask for repairs to be done, and to be fair some have been, but with most things they either try and wriggle out, or make promises that things will be fixed which then never are. For instance when I report the handle on the oven door was cracked and needed replacing, plus the element? had gone so main fan oven not working they initially said they would supply a new oven. A few days later they appeared to change their minds and sent a guy to fix the element. Oven still has no handle. This was over a year ago.

    They live abroad, so have actually only seen them once. When they came they were moaning about the LA and their 15% commission they have to pay. I get the feeling they are not really making any profit on the rental as they still have a large mortgage, but that's not my fault! They had the cheek to put the rent up last month as well, only by £25, but similar houses in better condition are still available at the old rent.

    Throughout the tenancy the LA have lied, been rude and generally unprofessional. They make inspection visits from time to time, when I tidy up and point out the things that need fixing, they sometimes take pictures of the problem areas but never get back to us in writing. Once there was a dispute about an inspection visit (they wanted it only a month or so after the Landlords had visited in person, so I felt this was too much) and they threatened to let themselves in if I didn't comply. Probably they just want to give the landlords the illusion that they are actually doing something in return for their fees!

    When our initial 6 months AST expired we went onto a periodic tenancy and they insisted there was an 'admin' fee due 'for going onto periodic' - the same price as a renewal fee for a further AST would have been. I refused to pay this, as U understood SPTs arise automatically by law and involves NO work on their part. Last I heard on this (early 2009) was 'the fee remains due and ... we will deduct it from your security deposit when you leave'. Surely they can't do this?

    The deposit is supposed to be registed with the TDS, but I have never had any notification from them.

    In our application for the new property there was a delay as new LAs were waiting for a refernce from present agents. I asked the new agents if it could be that my old agents wanted a fee to supply the reference and they said, that would be unusual and 'cheeky'. So I finally rang current agents and you've guessed it, had to pay them £25 fee.

    So what this all boils down to is allowing access for viewing of prospective tenants. It involves a lot of inconvenience and no benefits to me and they don't deserve any cooperation. I feel like either saying no, or charging my own 'admin' fees to the LA - say £25 per viewing for my valuable time? What do you think? Can I do this, and could it affect my new tenancy (they have now received a positive reference). What do you reckon?

    #2
    Offer a set period each week when they can view.

    You could ask for a rent reduction to cover your trouble, (don't expect to get it).

    If you suspect they are entering without permission change the lock barrels, keep the old ones to replace when you leave.
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

    Comment


      #3
      I don't really want to do that. They can either pay my very reasonable viewing fee, or have no viewings! But am I acting legally?

      Yes I will change the locks if necessary, but I work from home, so I would know about it if they tried to get in.

      Comment


        #4
        You don't have to allow any viewings at all if you don't want -legally.

        When it comes to the return of the deposit dispute the money the agent wants to take and I doubt if you had contracted to pay a fee for going periodic so have a go at getting that back too.

        Trouble is this will cause a delay in the refund and if you are desperate for said deposit - well you can guess the rest.



        Freedom at the point of zero............

        Comment


          #5
          You can certainly stick to your guns and only allow viewings when convenient, making it any more difficult than this may work against you. Whatever you do make sure you leave an honest review about them on Google, Allagents, uk letting agents, review centre etc - when you've left and had the deposit back.
          <a href="http://www.manchesterpropertygroup.co.uk/" target="_blank">Manchester letting agents</a>

          Comment


            #6
            To OP

            I am a letting agency manager, and I am also a tenant of another letting agent, as my property is out of my companies area.

            My advice is this.
            1. Do not let the agency carry out ANY viewings as they have been unreasonable with you throughout the tenancy.
            2. Once you have returned keys check to see if the deposit has been registered, if it has not been then you WILL be entitled to 3 times the amount back, which will prompt the agency to pay you in full regardless of any issues.
            3. Don't check if the deposit has been registered until AFTER you return the keys as if you do it before the agent could register it now and you will be waiting a long time for your money.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by joebeck1983 View Post
              To OP

              I am a letting agency manager, and I am also a tenant of another letting agent, as my property is out of my companies area.

              My advice is this.
              1. Do not let the agency carry out ANY viewings as they have been unreasonable with you throughout the tenancy.
              2. Once you have returned keys check to see if the deposit has been registered, if it has not been then you WILL be entitled to 3 times the amount back, which will prompt the agency to pay you in full regardless of any issues.
              3. Don't check if the deposit has been registered until AFTER you return the keys as if you do it before the agent could register it now and you will be waiting a long time for your money.
              Wow,so many innacuracies. I would hate to see what advice your staff would give, if this is what a mangager thinks.
              Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

              Comment


                #8
                'taint hard to find out which agency Jb uses this expertise at (hint - profile...)

                Joeb... if you are not to damage your credibility & the reputation of your employer, maybe a little caution about what is posted??? Can't believe I just posted that, but then I don't care what people think about me & my lack-of-professionalism...
                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


                  #9
                  Please state which innacuracies you are referring to

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                    'taint hard to find out which agency Jb uses this expertise at (hint - profile...)

                    Joeb... if you are not to damage your credibility & the reputation of your employer, maybe a little caution about what is posted??? Can't believe I just posted that, but then I don't care what people think about me & my lack-of-professionalism...
                    I am not damaging the reputation of my company, I am merely offering advice to a tenant who is having trouble with their agent, please explain how this is unprofessional?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by joebeck1983 View Post
                      Please state which innacuracies you are referring to
                      This is one.

                      Originally posted by joebeck1983 View Post
                      Once you have returned keys check to see if the deposit has been registered, if it has not been then you WILL be entitled to 3 times the amount back, which will prompt the agency to pay you in full regardless of any issues.
                      An ex-tenant can't claim for 3 times the deposit once the tenancy has ended. This was recently decided in court.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Mrs Mug View Post
                        This is one.



                        An ex-tenant can't claim for 3 times the deposit once the tenancy has ended. This was recently decided in court.

                        Which court , when & where, we recently had to pay £1500 to an ex tenant all because our silly ex manager did not register the deposit

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by joebeck1983 View Post
                          Which court , when & where, we recently had to pay £1500 to an ex tenant all because our silly ex manager did not register the deposit
                          In May 2011 the Appeal Court decision in Gladehurst Properties Ltd v Hashemi had the effect of limiting section 214 claims to existing tenancies - stating that the grounds for a s.214 application will cease to exist once the lease expires. In other words - once the tenancy is over, no claim can be submitted.
                          Taken from the link below.

                          http://tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/index...14_claims/0-45

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Mrs Mug View Post
                            Thank you Mrs Mug you have been very helpful indeed

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Well I posted off my letter giving notice, which the LA would have received Thursday or Friday last week. I didn't ask for 'viewing fees' in the end, as someone else told me I might be on shaky ground with this! In fact I didn't mention viewings at all.

                              I asked them to acknowledge my notice, and I thought it would be a good idea to list outstanding areas of disrepair in the house, and I asked them to acknowledge that these issues had been reported by us at previous inspection visits (true). Stupidly, I hadn't put most of them in writing previously and though the LA seemed to take note at the time, and even took photos, they never put anything in writing themselves, ie we would get no written feedback after an inspection. As the LA and landlord have both been slightly dodgy, I am worried they are going to blame us for these things, and take money from our deposit.
                              I also asked them to back down on the 'fee for going on to roll-over tenancy' as they previously threatened to take this from our deposit.

                              They have not yet replied to our letter, but the house went onto Rightmove over the weekend and I had 2 messages on the answerphone asking me to ring them and arrange viewings. I was busy over the weekend and didn't reply. Today I had a slightly stroppy message asking for viewings again, and I rang them back and said of course I would not consider viewings until I'd had a reply to my letter. 'You'll get a reply by the end of the week' they said. 'OK I will be in touch then' I replied. They seem to have no concept that I can refuse viewings. The thing is that if their reply is not satisfactory I will continue to refuse viewings. If it is more amenable, then I will allow them, but only in a timeslot of my choosing, which I was thinking of making once a week. They are going to have a shock! Why do these people think they can make up the rules as they go along? They started being rude even before we'd moved into the place. They really need to have a different attitude and then they might get the tenants cooperation.

                              I feel I needed to write to them in this way to try and protect ourselves form unfair deductions. And I hope it was implicit in my attitude that if they want viewings they will need to play ball.

                              They have already sent off a reference (which I had to pay for) to the new LA (which was good, apparently). New LAs told me today everything was fine for our move-in date. The only thing I am slightly worried about is if the old LA contact the new ones again and tell them we are very difficult and the new ones back out. Could this happen? Is there anything else I should be worried about? Luckily I am not desperate for the deposit to come back immediately.

                              Comment

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