Letting Agent has Lost Keys

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  • mind the gap
    replied
    Originally posted by jicms View Post
    It is a little strange that tenants seem more likely than owner occupiers to allow contractors into their homes, especially as the contents are equally at risk. Perhaps more tenants are out all day and also have the option of asking agents to sort out the problems. Some agents seem to be more helpful than others at accompanying and supervising contractors.
    Since access to contractors must always be with the consent and co-operation of tenants, it follows that agents should not be handing out keys to all and sundry with instructions to 'go into number 26 and fix the electrics'.

    Also, some agents are ignorant of the law and make no bones about telling tenants someone's coming to do maintenance, or whatever), and declaring 'It's on the contract, so you have to allow it'.

    Some Ts (and OOs) will not allow tradesmen in their home without one of them being present, which is fair enough, especially if they have had not previous contact with that company. The problem arises when both/all Ts work full time and tradesmen are only available Mon-Fri, 9-5, or when the contractors will not attend when T is not present (Worscester Bosch engineers, for example). The T should not have to lose money when the repairing obligation is on the LL and in those cases it's my view that the LL or the agent should attend.

    Obviously, most local tradespeople are completely honest and will wish to safeguard their reputation, but there are so many 'mobile' rogues out there that as a householder you can never be too sure. Interestingly, as a decorator I find some people will let me (a woman) have a key to let myself into their houses when they tell me they would not let a male tradesman have one. I cannot think women are any more or less honest than men, but that's the perception!

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  • jicms
    replied
    It is a little strange that tenants seem more likely than owner occupiers to allow contractors into their homes, especially as the contents are equally at risk. Perhaps more tenants are out all day and also have the option of asking agents to sort out the problems. Some agents seem to be more helpful than others at accompanying and supervising contractors.

    Leave a comment:


  • mind the gap
    replied
    Originally posted by thesaint View Post
    I am a letting agent, and if I lost a set of unlabelled keys by dropping them in the english channel, I would not be replacing the locks if a tenant said that they were "entitled to an immediate replacement".

    I would ask them to show me how they were "entitled".
    That does not surprise me, but nor does it mean that you are right. If you lose something you've been entrusted with you have an obligation to replace it.

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  • jicms
    replied
    Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
    In that scenario, there would obviously be no discernable risk. However, when one doesn't know that the keys are at the bottom of the sea, one can not know how severe the risk is.
    Exactly. If the agent can't find them in the office they can't guarantee they've not been taken. Therefore the tenants are reasonable to feel vulnerable.

    As both us as landlords and our tenants put pressure on the agent they've now agreed to replace the locks. We got there in the end.

    Many thanks for all the advice.

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  • Brb
    replied
    IF unlabelled keys are at bottom of the sea then no I wouldn't feel insecure in my accomodation.

    LA giving out keys to contractor, whom I presume has also been given address then no, I would not feel secure in my home anymore.

    I would actually like to know why LAs give keys to contractors anyway. I do not know of any owner occupiers that would even consider doing this so why are Ts expected to allow every tom, dick and harry unfettered access to their homes ?

    Local LA label keys with address.

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  • Snorkerz
    replied
    Originally posted by thesaint View Post
    I agree, but all of that is irrelevant if the tenant is "entitled" to a change of locks.
    It would probably come under the tenant security requirements of HHSRS.

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  • thesaint
    replied
    Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
    In that scenario, there would obviously be no discernable risk. However, when one doesn't know that the keys are at the bottom of the sea, one can not know how severe the risk is.
    I agree, but all of that is irrelevant if the tenant is "entitled" to a change of locks.

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  • Snorkerz
    replied
    Originally posted by thesaint View Post
    I am a letting agent, and if I lost a set of unlabelled keys by dropping them in the english channel, I would not be replacing the locks if a tenant said that they were "entitled to an immediate replacement".

    I would ask them to show me how they were "entitled".
    In that scenario, there would obviously be no discernable risk. However, when one doesn't know that the keys are at the bottom of the sea, one can not know how severe the risk is.

    Leave a comment:


  • thesaint
    replied
    I am a letting agent, and if I lost a set of unlabelled keys by dropping them in the english channel, I would not be replacing the locks if a tenant said that they were "entitled to an immediate replacement".

    I would ask them to show me how they were "entitled".

    Leave a comment:


  • jicms
    replied
    Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
    The agent has a common law duty of care so that any keys that go missing would entitle the tenant to an immediate replacement lock and keys at the agent's expense. The tenant's remedy is to have it done themselves if the agent fails to undertake this task within 24 hours I would say, and to deduct it from the rent.
    Problem with this is that we'll receive the reduced rent and is it legal in any case? Might affect the tenants' credit rating.

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  • jicms
    replied
    Originally posted by Brb View Post
    Easiest solution (and cheapest) should be that LA pops round in morning with barrel for locks affected and spend five/ten minutes doing something useful with their day ?
    I don't think there's a chance in hell of this happening! They're still insisting they's only been mislaid not lost!

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    Keys should not of course be labelled with a property's address.

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  • Brb
    replied
    Easiest solution (and cheapest) should be that LA pops round in morning with barrel for locks affected and spend five/ten minutes doing something useful with their day ?

    Leave a comment:


  • PaulF
    replied
    Originally posted by jicms View Post
    Our tenants have reported that our letting agents have lost their set of keys. They are very worried about the security risk and imagine the last contractor has them. Even if this is the case and they manage to retrieve them we think the locks should be changed at the agent's expense. Can anyone let us know our rights. Many thanks.
    The agent has a common law duty of care so that any keys that go missing would entitle the tenant to an immediate replacement lock and keys at the agent's expense. The tenant's remedy is to have it done themselves if the agent fails to undertake this task within 24 hours I would say, and to deduct it from the rent.

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  • jicms
    replied
    Thank you.

    We've since been told that the keys have disappeared from the office in the last few days i.e. since a contractor has had and returned them. They seem unsure whether they've got lost, taken or their tag has come off such that they can't be identified. I would probably hope that they haven't been stolen but I understand the tenants wish to have the locks changed as who knows whether this is the true story.

    I can't understand why they don't use cable tie type tags which can't come off.

    I probably just have to insist that they organise for the locks' replacement.

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