Letting agents and sub-tenants problems

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    Letting agents and sub-tenants problems

    Hello, we have (had) a very nice 2-3 bedroom flat which we decided since retiring, to rent out whilst we travelled and do other things. As we were not going to be around much, we wanted the day to day aspects to be taken care of by a 3rd party and appointed a letting agent.
    There were various levels of service offered, but we chose the highest level of management the platinum, which theoretically gave us the least involvement (and income)as the company's literature claimed 'total peace of mind'. The contract was for 12 months.
    The first 12 months started with a few ups and downs, but appeared to settle down after several niggles and expenses, and we are now part way through the second 12 month period.
    There was a change of tenant part way through the second period, so we arranged an inspection. On the whole, it was not too bad, a bit grubby with the odd breakage (bathroom cabinet mirrored door) which the tenant apologised for and said would replace.
    After a further 5 months, we asked the letting agents to arrange another viewing, but were told that the person who dealt with our property was on holiday and it would not be possible until the week after we had asked for, unfortunately not suitable for us as we were off again.
    Recently, we have had complaints from another tenant in the building we own about the behaviour of the first tenant, water seeping down walls, noise and various other aspects, so we tried to arrange another visit. The letting agents claimed that the tenant was on holiday, but we persisted and were then informed that the tenant was not answering the telephone or replying to letters.
    Alarm bells were at this point sounding out very loudly, so we pressed hard and eventually got the inspection.
    Oh my god! Every single door had a hole/crack in it, the curtains had been ripped down, lights were broken/removed, window fastenings destroyed, the list goes on. Needless to say, the place was filthy. We asked the lady present(we do not know if she is the actual tenant) what was going on and she told us she did not know, but she was moving on at some point having come from a hostel! Platinum level, my backside, what the hell is going on with the so called vetting system???
    We have contacted the letting agents, who at this point are ignoring us (or simply not replying, whichever?)
    The question is now, what on earth can we do about this situation? Our once prestige flat is now in tatters and we still have another 3 months to run on our current contract, so who knows what kind of riffraff they will place, simply to keep their income coming in whilst paying us the guaranteed rent? There are also insurance implications to consider as our insurers have a clause against DSS, housing association types.
    We are aware of the 'fair wear and tear' clauses in the contract, which simply do not pertain and the letting agents disclaimer of compensation amounting to no more that 1.5 months the value of the rental, and whilst this will not cover the damage would help, if we actually received it?
    Can anyone advise how/where we stand.
    Thank you

    #2
    I may be wrong but I think the disclaimer can easily be challenged, you may need a lawyer.
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

    Comment


      #3
      As you are travelling frequently, and given the nature of the situation, you will need to get a solicitor to tackle this on your behalf. Make very, very sure it is a good solicitor, not just someone who claims to offer a so-called 'Platinum' service.*

      You may have a claim for damages for breach of contract/negligence against the agent. Only a solicitor can advise you on that score.

      One thing is absolutely certain; you need to sack the agent and you need to evict the tenant.

      Is the agent a member of ARLA? (Although membership doesn't guarantee competence, it tends to eliminate the real cowboys and it's inadvisable to engage an agent who isn't a member).

      ===
      * And consider taking advice from a direct/public access barrister. My personal view is that you will get better informed advice from a barrister, especially when contemplating litigation. However, a barrister cannot send letters or conduct a claim on your behalf, as a solicitor can, so in this instance you may need the services of both. (You can find solicitors via the Law Society and barristers via the Bar Council).

      Comment


        #4
        The concept of 'platinum service' from a letting agent is indeed an intriguing one.

        Makes you wonder what you get for the bronze or pewter one.
        '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 mind the gap View Post
          The concept of 'platinum service' from a letting agent is indeed an intriguing one.

          Makes you wonder what you get for the bronze or pewter one.
          Yes, I know. The phrase 'total peace of mind' also wasn't very reassuring, coming from an agent (or anyone, really). The fact that they'd even make such a claim is suspicious; any decent agent would know there's no such thing when it comes to tenants.

          And who'd want a managing agent who never consults you before carrying out repairs? It's carte blanche for them to hire their local kickback-tastic plumber/electrician who just so happens to charge double the going rate.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by winktype View Post
            There are also insurance implications to consider as our insurers have a clause against DSS, housing association types.
            Unless you've got top-end insurance, there is also likely to be an exclusion clause for deliberate damage caused by any tenants (regardless of what 'type' they are...)

            Comment


              #7
              My LA definitely offer complete peace of mind. They try to force tenants to renew or hand in notice to quit and if that doesnt work, they serve S21 notices. Combined with refusing to supply the LL's details to the tenant, the LL enjoys the peace while his tenants are being evicted without him knowing anything. He then gets a bill for new tenants.
              All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.

              Comment


                #8
                Letting agents and sub-tenants problems

                Hello, it goes from bad to worse! Following on from my previous thread, our property has been rented out through a letting agency for almost 2 years on their 'top' (most expensive!) scheme. This allowed us to travel with the peace of mind that we would be paid (regardless of tenancy) and that any problems would be handled by the letting agency. It started with a few, not insurmountable problems (which cost us of course), but the last 6 months have been a nightmare.

                The sub-tenant appears to have moved in his 'girlfriend' along with her 3 hideous children. The first major problem was when our other tenants (in the shop below) complained to us of a torrent of water flooding from above. The letting agency informed us that 'their' plumber put this down to a leaking tap (impossible) and that we would have to pay for a new one cher-ching £160-00 thank you.

                This should have 'cured' the problem, but then a few weeks later in another part of the building, yet another torrent, but with no tap around to blame. The letting agency told us that this situation would be remedied, but after another couple of weeks, the same thing happened in the original bathroom, yes the one with the new tap!

                Since the we have tried to arrange for an inspection, but were given the run around by the letting agent, holidays, work commitments etc etc, complete and utter b-ll, but we persisted and finally gained entry.

                OMG, every door had a hole in it (caused by a boot), light fittings destroyed, curtains ruined, hideous re-decorating, filthy, how can people live like this?

                As we were getting towards the back end of the contract, we asked if we could end it prematurely, the letting agents jumped at the chance and said yes no problem and that they (the sub-tenants) were leaving at the end of the month anyway (we suspect they were being evicted, but the letting agent would not confirm this), but did admit that they had been in rent arrears in May, so we think this is likely.

                We made plans to recover the property on the date given to us by the letting agents, after the tenants had made good all repairs but then they moved the date back a couple of days, maybe a bit bigger job than they thought? By the way, on the scheme we are on, the property should be handed back in a similar condition to when it was let, minus of course any 'fair wear and tear'.

                We made new plans (which involved travel) to take possession, but 3 days before the date, the letting agents informed us that they (the sub-tenants) had requested another week as their new property was not ready (a likely story?) and we had to make cancellations and new arrangements. This would involve the sub-tenant entering a new month of letting beyond which the notice was given.

                We contacted the letting agent and told them of our dissatisfaction and that surely if the sub-tenant entered another month's period, they would be liable for the whole of the month. Not so according to the letting agent, not only can they move the goal posts at will, they can also enjoy only having to find a portion of the rent? We do not think so!

                Now, just a few days before the handover, another problem. The sub tenants have gone wild again and flooded the property below, damaging valuable stock, fixtures and fittings. Our other tenants are (quite rightly) going ape and are now threatening us with legal action. We have proper landlords insurance (arranged through a broker that our letting agent suggested - ouch!), but we are unsure just where we stand.

                What if they do not vacate on the new date, what are our rights (do we have any?)

                Comment


                  #9
                  What does your agreement state?
                  Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Have you or agent served s21 or s8??

                    Do you know what the terms of you agreement with the agent states?? (No, not the tenancy agreement)
                    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


                      #11
                      The agreement states that we need to give the letting agents 3 months notice, and they in turn have to give their sub tenants 2 months. The sub-tenants have to give 1 months notice to the letting agent. The letting agent informed us of a 'get out with 3 months to go' clause, which we cannot find, but apparently they can terminate the contact within the last 3 months of the agreement ending which is now.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        We have not, but we suspect the letting agents have due to arrears, but they will not admit this to us. We are hoping that they (the sub tenants) will go quietly having done the repairs, we will not be holding our breath!!!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          OK. You appear to have a commercial, non-AST, tenancy with agent. You need in first instance to give notice to them. Probably get their tenancy ended, probably through courts, then worry about occupants.

                          What was the end date of the tenancy between you & agent??

                          You need I suspect SPECIALIST legal advice who understands this sort of (normally very) inadvisable setup from a landlord/tenant specialist solicitor.

                          Do you have copies of both tenancy agreements - you&agent, agent&occupant??
                          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


                            #14
                            What does the agreement with your agent (who is your tenant) state about maintainence/repairs. In a 'regular' tenancy, the damage would be the responsibility of the tenant.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Two related threads have been merged.
                              I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

                              Comment

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