Future Nightmare Neighbours

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    Future Nightmare Neighbours

    Hi all.

    First post for me - apologies if its too much in detail...

    My family and I rent a detached 3 bed property. Its a relatively new build, and one of two identical/symmetrical homes built on the site of an old church that are owned by the same person, and managed for him by the same letting agency.

    The houses are detached, however they are relatively cheaply made, a narrow shared alley between the properties for rear access, and a shared front area (both use same front gate, very small front yard).

    We had huge problems with neighbours who moved in 12 months ago. Mother with 4 children, who had left a nasty relationship, and we were told by her very early on that her ex husband had a restraining order, was the violent type, that a charity had come out to reinforce letterboxes to avoid arson attacks, new locks added etc. and she asked us to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Not ideal when my wife is home with two kids all day while I am at work.

    We got to listen to several arguments on our shared doorstep over the last 12 months, I had to go in on two seperate occasions and break up house parties when the mother and new partner were away (two teenage kids). She hit our car whilst parking twice (one time whilst drunk). We repeatedly ask for the shouting in the back garden to be kept to a minimum past 8pm when our kids are in bed etc. In short, a nightmare 12 months.

    So. They are moving out next weekend. My wife is elated, and made sure she was nosy whenever prospective tenants came for a viewing. One horrendous woman turned up, shouting, swearing, arguing with the letting agent etc. My wife made sure she "checked the car" for something, and was introduced. Again, long story short - woman was clearly an ASBO waiting to happen.

    When this prospective tenant left, the letting agent, young girl doing the viewing, spoke to my wife and said "shes a horrendous tenant, lots of problems with her, she needs to move due to hygiene issues in her last place, but dont worry, she wont be coming here - you absolutely dont want her as your neighbour".

    Based on the nightmare neighbour moving out, and the promise of a better sort moving in, and some bad timing, we were up for renewal, and I have signed us up for another 12 months a couple of weeks ago.

    Turns out (found out today) this nightmare tenant is now moving in next door next Saturday. At a rent cheaper than ours (identical houses, remember).

    Now - I know that there is nothing I can do about things that haven't happened yet, and maybe they never will, and we will all live in harmony. And I know it may sound snobby, but we are very concerned about the next 12 months and whats in store. My letting agreement has very stiff financial penalties for leaving the agreement early - paying re-letting costs etc. My wife is already looking around, however...

    So my question is - if the new neighbours are anti-social, is complaining direct to the letting agency all that is available to us? Are we purely at the mercy of our landlord should we want to break our agreement based on this fact, or is there an appeals process/correct process for lodging a complaint based on the fact that our standard of living has been reduced based on the letting agent/new neighbour and not because we just want to break the agreement.

    Anyone got any advice? Or a spare 14 foot fence (soundproofed)?

    Cheers.

    #2
    Originally posted by vandamme View Post
    ...I have signed us up for another 12 months a couple of weeks ago.
    Any break clause in that new 12 month agreement?

    As you say, it may not happen... but you can do a little preparation. I would advise that if the worst comes to the worst (and if it's financially possible) do what's best for you and the family and worry about penalties / financial implications later. You are talking about your quality of life here. Complaints to Letting Agent, Landlord and the Council would all seem viable routes to take... but whether anyone can - or can be forced to - do anything about it is entirely another question that I'm not familiar with the answers to, so let's see what others advise. I wouldn't think a Landlord can be held responsible for the behaviour of their Tenants... they're other Human Beings, of course, not livestock (for which I assume Farmer Brown is responsible).

    Comment


      #3
      Assume you are in Nottingham but, just in case, landlords in Scotland have responsibilities if there is tenant anti-social behaviour...

      see Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004
      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


        #4
        Is it possible that the new tenancy hasn't started yet?

        I would tell landlord you intend to move out the day the previous one ends, citing your conversation with the letting agent. BTW, does your landlord know that his agent installed a nightmare neighbour next door?
        To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

        Comment


          #5
          You might not realise this but the agent (and/or landlord) now must under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 declare to any prospective tenant the problems with the current tenancy of the property. It's a 'transactional decision' info that is relevant to the let, and if there are any subsequent problems that a new tenant might come across and who was not told of the previous tenant's difficulties could walk away if there was any repercussion from correspondence or visits from the ex.
          The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

          Comment


            #6
            Cheers Hippo.

            Alas, no break clause, and we are already into the new agreement. But you are spot on, quality of life comes first. We just have previous on moving house due to bad neighbours - and each time ending up hugely out of pocket. Seems a little unfair to me, as having to find all the necessary funds is also a blow to the quality of life...

            Can a landlord be responsible for the behaviour of their tenant? No, probably not unless its a criminal or antisocial issue - and seems snobby to say that the 'type' of person moving in is a problem before they have even done anything - time will tell, but thanks for the response.

            Comment


              #7
              You can also complain the council - it may well be that this lady already has attracted their attention.

              Seems illogical for the agency to put a person in the property who is a nuisance - does this landlord have views on letting asbo type tenants?

              You could write to him with your concerns and say you may well need to consider your position if things get rough (or any rougher). Why did you sign an agreement with such stringent conditions?



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

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks all for commenting.

                Interlaken - I get your point about 'why did we sign with such stringent conditions'. Easy to see in hindsight, I have used a number of letting agents in the past and the contract terms vary almost as much as the fees - like a fool I typically sign with little questioning - we are a family and looking for stability and a long term let, so I look for a commitment by both parties with penalties for any breach as a good thing, which in this case could backfire. Rereading the letting agreement, should we break contract we have to first pay the 're-letting marketing fee's' which are broken down but total £400, with VAT on top, and then can only move once the property has been re-let.

                From what we have learned, the landlord is very good friends with the manager of the letting agency. I tried to go direct when the contract was up for renewal and suggested a rolling contract so we could avoid the agency altogether - we have been there for 2 years now and are great tenants. My text message was to the landlords son who is the handyman. No reply, and it was only later we learned (from the departing neighbour who is having her own issues with the letting agent) that the landlord and agency manager are old friends. Assuming then that we are entirely at the mercy of the letting agent.

                My wife spoke to one of the letting agency staff (not the manager) after I posted yesterday and explained our concerns. The poor girl who told us "you definitely don't want her moving in next to you" is likely to get a b0ll0cking, though we tried to limit that. We were given lots of promising words - manager wont stand for any problems, fee's can be lowered if you want to rent somewhere else they have on books etc. However - hollow words and the suggestion that if it all goes wrong - WE move - doesn't fill me with confidence...

                All of this is theory currently and we are hopeful that they will keep themselves to themselves and, if not great neighbours, at least they wont cause any significant trauma...
                And I've learned to dispute contract terms where they are plainly unfair, and not re-sign a 12 month agreement until we know who the neighbours are!

                Comment

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