Managing agent - various breaches of agency

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    Managing agent - various breaches of agency

    As I recently mentioned in another post (https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...r-of-occupants) the previous lease at my property in Scotland did not go well. I thought a couple were moving in but it turned out to be a family. It didn't get a whole lot better from there. My agent committed, in my view, a number of significant transgressions:

    1. Moved the tenants in without asking how many there were in the household. By way of explanation they said it is not their normal procedure to ask about children, and they expressed surprise that it would make any difference to me. The number of occupants did not exceed the statutory overcrowding threshold because of the ages of the children.

    2. Were unable to check a duplicate expenses deduction which had been made, a few months after it had occurred. Agent changed bank account and did not have records for the old one.

    3. Gave tenants invalid notice to leave (no-fault eviction, tenancy was PRT) and said it came from me. I was not informed of this. I was told that the tenants were leaving but understood that it was the tenants that had given notice. I only found out when I guessed what had happened and asked the question. I was well aware that I had no legal right to ask the tenants to leave.

    4. Gave the wrong address (next door) when protecting the deposit.

    I fired the agent, which is a limited company, at the end of the lease.

    Damages exceeded deposit amount, so 100% of deposit is being claimed. This is under dispute by ex-tenants, which rings alarm bells for me particularly in light of item 4. If ex-tenants seek advice from someone who knows the first thing about landlord and tenant law then there could be more trouble ahead.

    It would be helpful for me to have a clear understanding of the legal aspects here, and the potential liabilities (both me to my ex-tenants, and my ex-agent to me).

    My liability:
    3. Eviction notice. Any potential redress here? The notice was invalid but tenants accepted it and left, so I'm not sure if there is any comeback after the fact(?)
    4. Deposit protection. The error was a small one (perhaps only one letter) but significant because it made the difference between my property and next door. Therefore I presume this would count as failure to correctly protect deposit, and I could be liable for up to 3 x deposit.

    Agent's liability:
    1, 3, 4. I would say these are negligence and I would have a claim for losses arising as a result.
    2. HMRC requires businesses to keep financial records for six years and failure to do so can result in a fine of up to £3000 and director disqualification. (Companies Act 2006, I believe?)
    There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

    #2
    It is more than three months since the tenancy ended which means, I think, that I am safe from sanctions for any errors made in protecting the deposit.

    (Which seems odd, given that the allocation of the deposit has not yet been determined.)
    There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi.

      This looks like a no bad mess.

      1. As long as you have family members in your property it could be x amount of people sharing one flat, general rule says up to one unrelated person any more requires HMO. I quite don't understand the part where no one asked how many people will be actually staying in your property... looks like your ex agent was ready to rent ''studio flat to family of 4''. For us this is one of the very basic questions.

      2. You should be able to look in to your account for at least 3-5 years, if you keeping your property for years with your agent you really should be able to access entire history of income and expenses since day one. How can you do your annual tax without knowing exact figures ?

      3. Evicting your tenant for that or another reason was always an unpleasant experience, under the new PRT it is even worst. Regardless the eviction ground it is either Landlord or Agent signature on the bottom, you can ask for copy and have a look who signed it, you should see your agent signature.

      4. Unfortunately, I have never been in that situation but if this is only a one digit error you should be just fine, especially that there was a dispute open for that return.

      Hopefully you will get your property up and running with a great tenant.

      Warm Regards

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Onelll View Post
        I quite don't understand the part where no one asked how many people will be actually staying in your property... looks like your ex agent was ready to rent ''studio flat to family of 4''. For us this is one of the very basic questions.
        That's pretty much it, and yes I think almost all landlords/agents would agree that it is a very basic and very important part of the vetting process.

        Originally posted by Onelll View Post
        2. You should be able to look in to your account for at least 3-5 years, if you keeping your property for years with your agent you really should be able to access entire history of income and expenses since day one. How can you do your annual tax without knowing exact figures ?
        I know my figures. Agent doesn't know theirs, because they haven't got their previous bank records. There was one duplicate deduction and this was resolved. I knew it was a duplicate and they didn't ultimately dispute this (they couldn't really, because they had no records and therefore no evidence.) The point is they are required by law to keep financial records for six years.

        Originally posted by Onelll View Post
        3. Evicting your tenant for that or another reason was always an unpleasant experience, under the new PRT it is even worst. Regardless the eviction ground it is either Landlord or Agent signature on the bottom, you can ask for copy and have a look who signed it, you should see your agent signature.
        The agent issued the notice, but I am liable for what they do.

        Originally posted by Onelll View Post
        4. Unfortunately, I have never been in that situation but if this is only a one digit error you should be just fine.
        Perhaps you mean "fortunately"? Anyway, that's good to hear. On what basis do you say this?

        To me, the more obviously pertinent fact is that Safe Deposits Scotland state that a "tenant has up to three months after the tenancy ends to apply to the First-tier Tribunal for sanctions against the landlord". https://www.safedepositsscotland.com...rd-information

        Originally posted by Onelll View Post
        Hopefully you will get your property up and running with a great tenant.
        Thank you.
        There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

        Comment

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