What is harassment?

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    What is harassment?

    Myself and my partner private rent through a managing agent. The landlord has decided to sell and the property is on the market.

    The agent suggested Saturday viewings between 12-5pm
    Since the property has been up for sale the agent is requesting earlier and earlier appointments and other days.
    We've said no to him coming at 10am on Saturday but he is still trying to push it and push it. Emailing and saying it's the only viewing so we'll be in and out, then saying he has 2 more at 11am, then a third saying the viewer at 10am is looking to buy to let with tenants in place. Trying to encourage us that it could be for our own benefit.
    We continued to say we couldn't do 10am or 11am but were willing to allow the viewings between 12-5pm as previously agreed.
    He then asked for an alternative day.
    We said if nobody is viewing Saturday then you can have some time on Sunday.
    I then got a call from his colleague asking to book a viewing for Saturday afternoon.
    The original agent then emailed asking for Sunday slots.
    I explained a colleague of his had arranged Saturday viewings and the Sunday offer was instead of Saturday viewings and not as well as.
    When he finds out his customer can't make Sunday either he asks for Tuesday.

    He has been emailing last thing on friday to arrange for Saturday mornings and emailing at night as late as 1am in the morning.

    We currently have 3 weeks left at the property and still haven't found a suitable place to live. We are both stressed about this and his constant emails asking and pushing for more after we have said no is making me feel really anxious.
    The guy seems so desperate to get the sale that he has even requested full days access of 6 /7hours on Saturdays while we are trying to still live in the property.

    I feel his badgering and pushing his luck constantly is totally unreasonable and unacceptable behaviour. Is he abusing his position? Is this a form of harassment?
    I'm awake at 3am writing this because he's emailed through the evening saying he'll speak with his customers and see what's best for them on the morning. Despite us telling him is colleague has booked a viewing on Saturday and he wasn't having both days to view.
    I feel like I'm hitting my head against a brick wall. His replies are purely self centred and I can't work out if he's stupid or just damn right ignorant and rude.

    #2
    Remind them you've said no. You could offer, say Sunday 10-11 am only, if you want to be nice. What does your tenancy agreement say about viewings, if anything?

    He really shouldn't be pestering you like this. You could ignore all his emails and phone calls - I would.

    Has the ll issued you a section21?

    Comment


      #3
      Log any thing you think is harassment: Handwritten is fine..

      Harassment is IMHO one of the simplest, best, defined things in English Law: See s1 of Protection from Harassment Act 1997
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/40/section/1
      the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to or involves harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.
      See also
      http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad..._by_a_landlord

      So it doesn;'t matter if he thinks it's OK, it's what a "reasonable person" thinks is OK.

      Harassment by a landlord or agent can and has resulted in landlords/agents going to jail: It is a criminal as well as civil offence.

      Simply tell them when you are prepared to have visits: Maybe every 3rd Sunday between 10:23am & 10:28am.....
      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
        Email, say that you have allowed Saturday between 12 and 5 which is more than flexible. Say that you will ignore any requests at any other times. Remind them that you will be moving in three weeks time and they will then have the place back to show interesting parties at any time of the day.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Kenya View Post
          I feel his badgering and pushing his luck constantly is totally unreasonable and unacceptable behaviour. Is he abusing his position? Is this a form of harassment?
          I'm awake at 3am writing this because he's emailed through the evening saying he'll speak with his customers and see what's best for them on the morning. Despite us telling him is colleague has booked a viewing on Saturday and he wasn't having both days to view.
          I feel like I'm hitting my head against a brick wall. His replies are purely self centred and I can't work out if he's stupid or just damn right ignorant and rude.
          If you wish, you can decline all viewings.
          Tell the agent that their behaviour is so atrocious that you are no longer willing to grant access of any kind.
          And that, furthermore, if they contact you again on the subject, you will report them to the local authority for harassment.
          Then ignore their emails, phone calls and texts.

          Your rental agreement may require that you allow viewings, but it's virtually impossible to enforce.
          There is the remote risk that the landlord might take you to court to enforce the term - but I have never heard of that happening in real life.
          They might threaten that, though, so be aware.

          When you say you have three weeks left at the property, what has caused this deadline?
          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


            #6
            Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
            Harassment is IMHO one of the simplest, best, defined things in English Law.
            The definition is though not very helpful, even if it is as good as you can get.

            I do not consider the agent's actions in this case to amount to harassment.

            Whilst it is very easy to say, Kenya and partner should not allowed themselves to be browbeaten by the agent. Is the agent a partner or an employed negotiator?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
              If you wish, you can decline all viewings.
              ...
              Your rental agreement may require that you allow viewings, but it's virtually impossible to enforce.
              Enforcement isn't the only option. There is also the option to sue for any loss, and of course to show zero goodwill regarding references and deposit deductions.

              On a landlords forum I think it would be best to advise tenants that they are bound by the terms of the tenancy. That's the label position anyway.

              Comment


                #8
                Would be hard to show loss on the balance of probability in those circumstances.

                For all a judge knows, the house could have been on the market a year later and never sold, and the tenant's action would have nothing to do with that.

                Still, I think OP would be reasonable to put their foot down and say that 12pm-5pm Saturday is fine and that other times aren't convenient. I don't think they should withhold consent further, though it sounds tempting given the agent's persistent badgering.

                Note that I say 'badgering', not 'harassment' though... I don't think it is - an inconvenience, yes, but not necessarily harassment.

                That's a decent slot of time for viewings, and it's on a weekend.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                  On a landlords forum I think it would be best to advise tenants that they are bound by the terms of the tenancy. That's the label position anyway.
                  I feel that giving the best advice is the best course, regardless of the forum.
                  Keeping the agreements you have made is usually good advice, but when faced with someone who is acting entirely unreasonably, being unreasonable may be the only rational response.

                  Neither of us knows what the tenancy agreement says, it is not possible to know what the consequences could be.
                  However, if the wording of the tenancy agreement supports it, you are right to highlight the possibility, however remote.
                  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
                    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                    I feel that giving the best advice is the best course, regardless of the forum.
                    Keeping the agreements you have made is usually good advice, but when faced with someone who is acting entirely unreasonably, being unreasonable may be the only rational response.

                    Neither of us knows what the tenancy agreement says, it is not possible to know what the consequences could be.
                    However, if the wording of the tenancy agreement supports it, you are right to highlight the possibility, however remote.
                    Then, please do not make sweeping statements like "you are free to refuse all viewings".

                    Comment


                      #11
                      A tenant can refuse all requests for viewings.
                      And, as I then continued, there may be consequences (which, in this case, I suggest are, essentially, academic in real life).

                      And, based on what information we have, I think that that would be the right thing to do and is what I would do, if I were this tenant and even if my tenancy agreement specifically required me to.

                      The agent behaving like a dick (generally speaking) and trying to arrange viewings at inconvenient times and at very short notice is not what was contemplated when the tenancy agreement was signed.
                      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


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                        A tenant can refuse all requests for viewings.
                        And, as I then continued, there may be consequences (which, in this case, I suggest are, essentially, academic in real life).
                        I thought you wanted to give the best advice? Ignoring the tenancy agreement is hardly good advice.

                        Perhaps this would better suit the crowd on MSE...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The deadline is due to the landlord ending our tenancy with the required notice period, so he can sell it.

                          Comment

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