Rent arrears, vanishing tenant and dodgy letting agent. Help!

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    Rent arrears, vanishing tenant and dodgy letting agent. Help!

    Hi,

    I took on a tenant via a letting agent in Feb. 2007 on a 6 month AST. All paperwork, including refs. and credit check were delegated to the agent. However at the time I only received a copy of the signed AST from the agent.

    The t paid 2 months rent (1 as deposit) but thereafter I had to chase him via letter to get my rent. My letter explained rental arrears and interest accrual 7+ days after the due date.
    No rent was paid in May and the tenant disappeared at the end of the month following my second letter. The T left no forwarding address nor arrangements to return the keys.

    During the tenancy I was in contact with the agent to sort the problem out, which for one month worked. I also asked for copies of the refs. and credit report which was ignored.

    So, I am not sure what to do now. I suspect that the agent didnt carry out the checks and has no paperwork to prove it. Can I sue them?

    T is in breach of contract for 3 reasons:

    - No notice given, and therefore owes 3 months rent plus 2 months interest accrued for earlier arrears (minus deposit) plus around £500 for damage and cleaning.
    - subletting without permission
    - having a pet on the premises without my permission resulting in the need for extensive cleaning.

    Is the small claims court the best way to recover money from the tenant?
    Last edited by RTandon; 07-06-2007, 18:17 PM.

    #2
    Your first course of action is to study the agreement you signed where you instructed your agent. If it is a reputable agent, it will have clear and unambiguous standards and services that they will undertake on your behalf.

    If you didn't bother checking your agents credentials and just went for the cheapest price, you are likely to find a weak and woolly agreement, where trying to sue the agent will be a non-starter.

    On the assumption that you have used a good agent, and you find they have breached their obligations to you - sue them.

    Suing the tenant is to be recommended, though unlikely to recover you any money. It at least messes up their credit history if they go for credit or want to let through an agent.
    On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Because of the number of posts I have done, I am now a Senior Member. However, read anything I write with the above in mind.

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      #3
      Make them co-defendants!
      ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

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        #4
        Thanks for the advice.

        Paragon - thats not such a bad idea - the agent seems to be apologetic (£) and also incurred damage.

        Esio - I dont see the point of the small claims avenue if I don't get any money for my time. Why do you say that money recovery is unlikely?

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