End of tenancy property issues on fully managed service, who's responsible?

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    End of tenancy property issues on fully managed service, who's responsible?

    Please move this to Letting Agents thread if this is not allowed but just looking for advice and not sure where this is best placed

    So we have a week ago returned to our property that has been rented out for the last 4 years via the same Letting Agent on a fully managed service and during that time t was the same tenant in there.

    Our property was completely filthy from top to bottom, so filthy we nearly tried to find alternative accommodation for the first night, if it wasn't for the fact we had to travel over 500 miles to get to it I am sure we would have.

    If the lack of cleanliness wasn't enough, it would appear that there have been two 'major' issues that have failed to be reported to us.

    1. Excessive damp in the kitchen cupboard under the sink, it is black with mould and the backing board is soft to touch. We daren't move it as we dont know what we are going t find there.

    2. A hole in the plaster at the front of the house, just an internal wall however the wall is damp, not with rising damp I dont think as yet but more like the wall is saturated with water or a leak from somewhere.

    To top it all off there are slugs appearing from both areas, I am going around plugging all the possible areas of entry but it feels so disgusting to have a regular morning routine of checking for slug trails.

    Now I am not sure who is responsible for this and what they would responsible for, I just know that we are not responsible for it getting into this state. The tenant has failed to report anything to us via the letting agent, but on last inspection (end of july) the letting agent advised the tenant mentioned that slugs appear from the kitchen sink cupboard. We served notice in August (2 months) and as I mentioned just took the property back last week.

    What we have discovered is that outside the kitchen wall is where the washing machine would have been located in a lean to conservatory, on the second wash I had running last week I noticed that water was appearing the side of the machine, I thought it was a leak but no much worse, turns out the drain outside the lean to that sits immediately is backing up so much that the water is re-entering the lean to via the wall, this must be the reason the kitchen cupboards are in such a state now.

    But inspections say that all the drains etc have no issues and the tenant has also not reported anything either?! So now we have a massive damp issue that is going to take a lot of money to fix and to be honest we are feeling quite overwhelmed with where to go next.

    *Also the letting agent has never reported the hole in the plasterboard wall at the front or the fact the wall is damp/wet.

    We have had a meeting with Area Manager for the letting agents as we just couldn't deal with the person in the branch as so incompetent, and they was very receptive, but that meeting was last week when we were still in shock of our findings, this week I am angry and seeing a mounting bill of things to replace, two toilets, two radiators, one wall of kitchen cupboards, a lean to conservatory not to mention any damp proofing work that needs completed. not to mention the health implications of living in a house that has back mould and damp. We are waiting for the manager coming back to us and I have supplied the pictures of the property and problem areas that we have taken.

    Does anyone have any experience or can offer any advice of where to go next with this? As we are in it we cant really see the wood for the trees and we really want to be sure we get the best result for us.

    Thanks in advance

    #2
    Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?

    Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only?

    Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?

    Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)?

    Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)?

    Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)?

    Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy).

    Most importantly in your case:
    Was a deposit taken prior to commencement of tenancy and was it protected and the PI issued?

    Was a check-in and check-out process conducted by the managing agents at the start and end of the tenancy?
    '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


      #3
      Who's responsible? The tenant.

      Who chose the agent?
      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
        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
        Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?

        Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only?

        Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?

        Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)?

        Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)?

        Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)?

        Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy).

        Most importantly in your case:
        Was a deposit taken prior to commencement of tenancy and was it protected and the PI issued?

        Was a check-in and check-out process conducted by the managing agents at the start and end of the tenancy?
        Q1 – England

        Q2 – Sole Tenant

        Q3 – July 2012

        Q4 – 24

        Q5 – per calendar month

        Q6 – paid at beginning of tenancy July 2012, dog permitted so extra £100 taken for that also

        Q7 – N/A

        **Deposit was taken and extra for their dog, this was passed to TDS. We paid for a third party (via Letting Agents) inventory/inspection to be carried out pre and post tenancy. The cleanliness and the damp and mould issues were not reported on.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
          Who's responsible? The tenant.

          Who chose the agent?
          Hi, thanks for your response. We chose the letting agents after being assured our property would be looked after (Cottage from 1600's)

          Comment


            #6
            You are entitled to compensation for the loss in value to your property that arose during the lease, that is beyond fair wear and tear.
            However, from the sound of it, your agent has not managed the situation properly and I would imagine that the evidence needed to make such a claim is missing.

            There would be a complication with the age of the property, as it is not a typical rental property - which doesn't change the validity of any claim, but gives more credence to claims of "fair" wear and tear.

            I would be looking for the agent to compensate you for what sounds like a terrible job, but, essentially, someone else has been living in your place for four years and haven't been very good at looking after it.
            You've had four years of income and should probably apply some of that to getting some necessary repairs done.
            They might have arisen while you were there had you stayed in the property.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              If an agent is engaged to manage property that is what he must do. The minimum he must do is what a prudent owner would do. Beyond that, he must provide the level of service he represents he will provide. If he belongs to a professional organisation the minimum has to be what the organisation recommends. By any standard the agent has not been managing professionally. The OP should put the agent on notice the he will be looking to him for compensation.

              Comment


                #8
                jpkeates,

                Hi thanks for your response, The age of the property was brought up by us that the start of the contract with Letting Agents and they assured us it was no problem. Unfortunately we have not been having any income from this rental as the rent never covered the mortgage - unfortunate times with house prices however the point I am making is that there is no nest egg to work from.

                The issues could well have arisen whilst we lived there, there is no disputing that however we cant fix what we dont know anything about. Its such a tricky situation and honestly feel like there has been no-one actively looking after our property.

                Hopefully the letting agent will respond to us, so far this week 4 emails and a phone call to chase them about what is happening is going unanswered, now looking to getting legal advice on this.

                Comment


                  #9
                  There are two separate issues then.

                  One is that the tenant caused you a loss, and it is them you should look to recover from.
                  You need to itemise and record each loss in value - making it clear that you have allowed for the age and original condition of an item.
                  You are, for example, claiming for the lost lifetime of each toilet (not the complete replacement cost).

                  The agent will need to help you with the original check in/condition report and the subsequent check out condition report.
                  Hopefully they'll have them (and they might even be signed).

                  You then claim that amount from the tenant (I know this isn't as simple as I am laying this out!)

                  What happened to any deposit taken?

                  The issue with the agent is twofold - first of all what service were they contracted to provide and did they provide it during the tenancy?
                  If not, they may need to return some of the fees that they charged.

                  Next, if you are not in a position to proceed against the tenant - the agent didn't do the check in / check out properly, you may have a claim against them for their negligence, which has cost you the compensation you could have obtained from the tenant had they done the job they were meant to.

                  But don't confuse the two issues, the tenant did the damage, not the agent, they may not have been very diligent, but they didn't cause the damage, the tenant did.
                  And, being devil's advocate for a second, you though the place was a tip when you arrived, the extent of the damage only became apparant over the next few days (and so possibly it would be missed by an average agent check out).
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    There is a check in and check out report (check in signed by tenant) however the checkout report only describes the property as being a bit grubby, not actually thick with dirt due to it not being cleaned, honestly I have a business head on here and this is not my personal disgust for the state they have left my property in (mould growing on dust on the bedroom walls is not a character feature!), I would find it equally disgusting if I walked into someone else's property to find the same.

                    The letting agent was meant to be arranging for trades people to contact us to come round and provides quotes for repair, but after a full 7 days, nothing. So we were waiting on this to then be used for the deposit deduction amount - so currently deposit with TDS, so I believe there is a full 28 days to reach an agreement before dispute.

                    The letting agent contacted the tenant last week after we had our meeting with them to advise that we are looking to retain some or all of the deposit due to the condition of the property, the tenant has initially advised they do not feel that we should retain all of the deposit.

                    Yes I do like a bit of devils advocate , however our awareness of the true issues taking a few days were due to complete shock initially, the smell of the place and also not being allowed to clean anywhere whilst trying to live around 50 packing boxes and all all our furniture - it was a case of clean a room at a time - usually a full day! Honestly each room had an equal level of filth in it, including bathroom and kitchen. So yes the agent may not have seen these items, however opening the kitchen cupboard the backing board is completely black, also the smell of damp is undeniable!

                    It will be interesting to see how this one unfolds, I dont suppose you are aware of anyone/anywhere I can contact with regards to the breakdown in communication with our letting agent? Us chasing doesn't seem to warrant a response this week, there is a formal complaint being submitted to them however I am worried if their lack of attention to this will affect our standings with retaining the deposit!

                    And above all else I have no washing machine due to the outside drain blocking! Lots of cleaning and in need of clean clothes!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Letting agents are meant to belong to a formal redress scheme, so that any unresolved complaints have an escalation process which ulitimately involves the Property Ombudsman.
                      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                      Comment

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