Right to know landlord's postal address

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  • Berlingogirl
    replied
    If the LL hasa reasonable excuse he doesn't have to supply his address. I don't know what constitutes a reasonable excuse though.

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    Where the tenant makes a request under section 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 the address supplied must be the landlord's actual address. The Act defines "address" as "a person’s place of abode or place of business or, in the case of a company, its registered office". If the relevant address is abroad that is the address which must be given.

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  • steven12345
    replied
    On a slight tangent here but does this address need to be a UK address or can it be an overseas address?

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    And let us also remember that a tenant has the right to be informed by an agent of the landlord's actual address.

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  • thesaint
    replied
    Please remember that the tenant could not take any action if the agent opened up the landlords mail.

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    Originally posted by dominic View Post
    However, jpkeates I am afraid you are fundamentally mixing up contract law with agency law, even though what is in a contract can serve as evidence of what authority the agent "actually" has, but it does not serve as evidence as to what authority the agent "apparently" has. Exercise of either authority is considered binding on the principal.

    Agency is a fiduciary relationship which results from the manifestation of consent by one person (the principal) that the other person (the agent) shall act on the principal's behalf and subject to his control, and consent by the agent to so act. No contract is needed. No consideration is needed. This is agency, not contract.
    Thanks - I agree that I had not fully considered agency law in my response.

    However, while I do not disagree with anything you say - the situation with letting agents is more proscribed than the general statements you make.

    While it is true that no contract is needed to establish an agency, where a contract does exist it has a significant bearing on the agent and principle as it defines boundaries.
    I take your point that the not opening letters would be a problem as it is simply not mentioned, rather than being prohibited - I possibly need to think about that.

    Also, the rule that the principal is bound by the actions of the agent only extends to actions that are those usually confided to an agent of that character.
    That does obviously allow a huge chunk of "grey area", but I think I'd still regard opening post addressed to the landlord as outside that scope,
    in the absence of any case law that says otherwise.

    It's complicated by the fact the address would be that of the agent - which does open the door to the agent reasonably believing they could open it.
    Last edited by jpkeates; 08-07-2014, 06:58 AM. Reason: Broken tags

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  • mariner
    replied
    "I agree with everything dominic says except that a letting agent has implied authority to open his client's mail."

    Grammatically correct, LC agrees with dominic apart from the phrase after 'except' which reverses the agreement fot that phrase.

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  • PaulF
    replied
    Lawcruncher,

    Don't you mean the agent has no authority in your first sentence, as the second one appears to contradict this?

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    I agree with everything dominic says except that a letting agent has implied authority to open his client's mail. The only possible exception can be mail clearly marked as being from utility companies where the agent has authority to pay the bills. I am not sure even an attorney has the right to open mail.

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  • dominic
    replied
    I agree that as a matter of good practice the agent should expressly set out in the agency agreement what he is expressly authorized to do on the LL's behalf. However, jpkeates I am afraid you are fundamentally mixing up contract law with agency law, even though what is in a contract can serve as evidence of what authority the agent "actually" has, but it does not serve as evidence as to what authority the agent "apparently" has. Exercise of either authority is considered binding on the principal.

    Agency is a fiduciary relationship which results from the manifestation of consent by one person (the principal) that the other person (the agent) shall act on the principal's behalf and subject to his control, and consent by the agent to so act. No contract is needed. No consideration is needed. This is agency, not contract.

    You are right that just because someone is called an agent does not, on its own, make him so. What makes someone an agent is assessed by the actions of the principal (the LL) and the agent, as I hope is clear from the above definition. In a letting agent scenario they most certainly are the agent of the LL, if you think about how the relationship was created and what each party asserts to and expects of the other whetehr expressly or implicitly.

    An agent has both actual authority and apparent authority to act on behalf of the LL.

    Actual authority, which can be express or implied, is what the agent reasonably believes he has authority to do, not what the LL reasonably believes he has authority to do.

    Apparent authority is what a third party reasonably believes the agent has authority to do, again, not what the LL reasonably believes the agent has authority to do.

    So you see, just because your contract does not expressly grant the agent authority to open your post, does not necessarily mean he has no actual authority to do so. However, if your contract expressly states he has no authority to do such a thing (or indeed if you call him up or email him and tell him so), then you are right, he has no actual authority because he cannot reasonably believe that he does.

    Finally, agents CAN sign things on behalf of the LL, provided they have actual OR apparent authority to do so. My opinion is that they will always have apparent authority to do so, given tenants reasonably believe they would do, even if their agency agreement expressly states they have no actual authority authority.

    Therefore, what you say is (half) right. Yes they have no power of attorney, but they can bind the LL as his agent, even if not his attorney-in-fact.

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    An estate or letting agent is not exactly an "agent" just because the term is in their job name.
    They can act only in very specific areas.

    They act for the landlord in matters that he (the landlord) has agreed to in a contract.
    They don't (normally) have power of attorney and can't sign things on behalf of a landlord (even if they often think they can).

    My agent has nothing in our agency agreement about opening post with my name on it - just checked it.
    You could argue that there is an implicit permission to open post containing information that pertains to things that they are entitled to act as an agent concerning.
    The problem with most post is that it has the important bits on the inside and you have to open it to see what it's about.

    If a landlord gives an agents address as his business address, the agents are taking a hell of a responsibility.

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  • dominic
    replied
    I think you guys have lost sight of what "agent" means in legal terms: if lawfully acting as the LL's agent, the law sees the actions of the agent as those of the LL himself.

    It seems to me completely reasonable that an agent has the implied actual authority of the LL to open his mail that is sent to the agent relating to the property, unless the LL has expressly told him not to (doubtful). On the contrary, if the were not to open the LL's mail addressed to the agent's offices it may be a breach of the agent's duties owed to the LL.

    So I do not think by opening LL's mail the agent would commit any criminal offence.

    That said, if you were to put on the envelope "personal, private and confidential", I think the agent then would more likely be in hot water, and any responsible agent would then pick up the phone to the LL asking for authorisation to open or would forward it on to them.

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  • Lawcruncher
    replied
    The address to be supplied following a section 1 request is: "a person’s place of abode or place of business or, in the case of a company, its registered office". (section 38 LTA 1985)

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    =Postal Services Act 2000]
    84 Interfering with the mail: general.
    (1)A person commits an offence if, without reasonable excuse, he—
    (a)intentionally delays or opens a postal packet in the course of its transmission by post, or
    (b)intentionally opens a mail-bag.
    5 A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (3) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.
    Opening the post of someone who's asked you to do it sounds reasonable.

    I've always been advised not to open post sent to previous residents or tenants of my properties, but to mark it as "Not known at this address, return to sender".

    To be clear, then, the OP should simply write "to be opened by addressee only" - which probably makes anyone else opening it "unreasonable" (unless the addressee is dead, the anyone is a police officer etc).

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  • thesaint
    replied
    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
    If so, remind the agent that opening post not sent to them (i.e. c/o them) is also an offence.
    It's not.
    I open up lots of mail addressed to the landlords on my books.

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