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To think our landlords are out of line...(32 Posts)
A bit long, I apologise for the rant.
This week we got a call from the landlords asking if they could pop in to look at the new shower that had been installed in the house we rent from them. (we have been there less than two months, but the fitted shower broke and was leaking downstairs, so it had to be replaced) We were going to be out that day, so we were a bit dubious of them coming in without us home, but they assured us that they wanted to quickly pop in just to look at the shower and make sure it was done nicely. We agreed, but informed them that we were still in the process of unpacking some things and a few of the rooms were a bit of a mess. (There is very little storage here, so we are in the process of gradually obtaining furniture to meet our storage needs, which we told them.) They assured us that it was no problem, and that they simply wanted to look at the shower.
That day we were rushing around all morning to get ready to go. We have a six month old (teething) baby, and a four year old. The four year old was playing with her toys part of the morning while I got myself and the baby fed and ready. Admittedly, I did not tidy up the playroom before we left, and she left some toys out down in the living room. The house was however, tidy, cleaned, and hoovered. The only mess was the clutter in the rooms that we were still sorting out, where the doors were left shut. (I was sorting through mountains of baby clothes in my daughter's room as well) The shower room was in the hallway, so there would have been no need to enter the bedrooms.
Imagine our shock to receive a nasty letter from the landlords the next day informing us of their findings during their thorough 'inspection' of the property. They were horrified that we had clothes in piles and on the floor. They told us that if we did not get these rooms sorted immediately, they would not renew our lease. (They did so in a manner that very rudely insulted our level of intelligence) They also said that obviously I am overtired and MUST be suffering from post natal depression and should get to the GP right away. They know others with children (they have none themselves) who cope with moving and there is no excuse to not have the house in order. And how we should be teaching our daughter to put away her toys because 'it is not rocket science' and how else will she learn. We could not possibly clean properly with plastic toys covering the floor. Everything should be packed away at all times. The letter was extremely rude and condescending. And they called the letting agent to inform them that we were filthy, dirty people who had trashed the property.
We have done no damage to the property, have not even hung anything on the walls, and keep it clean. They did not tell us it was an inspection (said multiple times, and put in writing, that they only wanted to look at the shower). They went into our bedrooms and office and snooped through our personal belongings. They sent us a rude letter personally attacking us and threatening us over not being unpacked and having piles of clothes on the floor. I feel deceived, violated, and furious!
I would perhaps get a solicitor to write a very strongly worded letter back as they have broken several parts of the AST, namely they have to give you 24 hours written notice to do an inspection and they have to let you know they are doing an actual inspection.
Also, you are not paying them to be patronised and treated like children, you are paying for the use of their property. They sound like they think they have the right to tell you how to live simply because they are your landlords. You are entitled to "quiet enjoyment of your property" and they are not allowing you to do this. You could contact the housing charity Shelter who would be able to advise you on the ins and outs of your full rights as a tenant.
Incidentally if you do get evicted (I am sure you will not), report them to HMRC (anonymously) to ensure they are paying the correct amount of tax on their rental earnings. Also, make sure you deposit is protected by one of the escrow deposit agencies that they are by law obliged to protect it with.
Even though the estate agents have offered to move you asap, remember that you have signed a contract to let the property from the Landlords and the terms of that will still apply. Read your contract to see under what circumstances you can give notice. I assume that it has 6 months tenancy agreement, check when you can give notice and get something lined up to move into.
Is your deposit under the assurance scheme, (I cannot remember the name)? Did you take photos when you moved in? If not, take some now, keep a record of everything that happens. When you move out, clean it top to bottom and take photos.
I wouldn't respond directly to the letter, ask the agency to do that and request that all further requests / contact is conducted via the estate agents. Don't engage with them and cover your ass.
A quick reminder of our guidelines about troll hunting.
Yes, I suspect the letting agents are offering to help out in order to keep you happy so you don't cause trouble..
You have an unhinged landlord (yes, they can do inspections, with notice, but the property is actually yours for the duration of the tenancy, not theirs, and they have no right to tell you how tidy the rooms should be!)
People like this really annoy me. You hand over a large sum of money to
pay their mortgage enjoy your home and, provided you don't leave refuse lying around or knock lumps out of the place, you should be allowed to do so in peace. I've always insisted on being present at inspections because I'm responsible for damage to the property. A decent LL/EA will understand that.
I know its a hassle and more expense but I'd leave asap. The LL will probably have to pay more fees so watch your deposit.
I would speak to shelter and see what they suggest. It could be classed as harassment.
And as for the poster claiming op is shit stirring, shame on you!
The LLs sound like a pair of lunatics with too much time on their hands.
They do have the right to inspect the property but they have to give you proper notice in writing and if they have a letting agent, it would normally happen through the agency.
I rent out a property and the rule is you never contact the tenant directly. All communication goes through the agency.
It is a giant pain in the bum to move but I think you should just get out now and move to another one of the letting agent's properties. A shitty situation for you though especially with 2 young children.
if you like the house maybe you try to ignore their letter?
maybe they are acting that way so you won't be asking for any repairs in the future in order to avoid them?
I own I house I rent out via an estate agents. I don't even have a set of keys. They would never let me in the just check around. You need to find a decent estate agents
Grab the lifeline the agents are throwing you with both hands! They clearly don't think YABU.
Blardy lax British tenant protection laws. No landlord where I live (European country) would dare a) do this in the first place, b) then send such a letter. It would incur criminal charges. Am glad the agent is on your side, OP. I would either accept their offer to move or, if you really love the house, get their agreement to respond to the LL via solicitor's letter.
Deepest sympathy OP
I had this from a letting agent once. They didnt like my clutter, the house was spotlessly clean but had a lot of stuff in it. And they didnt like that the second bedroom smelled of "rabbit". Thye had given permission for me to keep my two rabbits in there, who were cleaned and disinfected every day. The smell was sawdust and hay, and obviously went once we moved out.
This degenerated to them wanting to inspect the house once a fortnight with me flat out refusing.
If your letting agent is offering you a way out, take it!
Take the agents up on the offer,the hassle now will save you much more in the future.
we once had an inspection where the house was spotless but got a letter saying they were upset we had "bowls out on the table".
The children were eating from the a the time!!
it was the start of many problems including 3 weeks with no heating or hot water during snow because the landlord had to "wait for payday".
I think landlords sometimes forget that people actually live their lives inside their properties.
We moved and he is still trying to find someone else to rent to, every time another month goes by and i see it empty i do a little secret smile.
It's your home. You've done absolutely nothing wrong.
If a letting agent is telling you the landlord is unreasonable then you can be sure they are.
moving does suck, hopefully the have something in the same area for you at least.
AgentZigzag, I completely agree with them having the right to look around their property. I just wish they had been upfront with it being an inspection, so that we could have been present before they went into our office and bedrooms. Also, we would have made sure to clear out any boxes possibly could of and tried to get everything in a presentable order, even if we did not have the wardrobes/shelves we need. And English is definitely their first language. They fancy themselves very posh. I am just astonished that anyone would write that type of letter to someone they do not even know. It just really upset me, and sometimes it is nice to know that others would have had the same reaction, and that I am not crazy!
'They even said that they would move us to one of their other properties and waive most of the fees.'
Well if that doesn't back up that you're OK/they're not, I don't know what would.
Bite their hand off and write it off as a lesson learned (although not sure what lesson it is, never leave piles of clothes around your house? ).
Think of it as you'll have to move anyway when they ramp up their weirdness, so you're saving the bit in the middle where you're scaring yourself thinking about what they'll do next.
I pity the next tenants though.
I am not doubting it is true, just seems remarkably stupid on their part as they are opening themselves up to an harassment case.
Holidays, silly me, I thought that making an anonymous posting under the heading 'Am I being unreasonable?' would be made with the intention of gauging ones reaction to a situation as being the appropriate response. Sometimes you just want others to confirm that you are right in being upset. Apparently I have misunderstood...
ComposHat, I assure you that they put all of that and more in the four page letter. I have never been so offended in my life.
The letting is through the Estage Agent, but the landlords seem to prefer to contact us directly, and frequently. We took the letter straight to the Agent, and they were horrified. They put a copy in our file and advised us to find a new property. They even said that they would move us to one of their other properties and waive most of the fees.
The whole thing just makes us sad as we were starting to feel at home here, and it was the perfect location for when my daughter starts school in September. The thought of having to pack up and move again just sucks.
I had very similar problems with my old landlord, the guy owns a lot of properties in my area and i know other people have had issues like his, he turned out to be a complete bully and ended up making us homeless, along with a few other families (strangely all the families that had complained about anything).
I would go with what AgentZigzag said.
I think for an inspection they need to give written notice 24 hours in advance. it is clear that they went into the flat under false pretences. They may own the flat vut it is the op's home and landlords need to respect this - there's usually a clause about the private and peaceable enjoyment of the property or some such legalese in rhe contract.
But I agree if the scenario described in the first post is accurate, start looking for a new place.
There is not an exam you need to pass to become a landlord. All you need is a property to rent out. You can be as unhinged as you want.
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The only thing I can think to excuse them is that English isn't their first language and they actually care about you and it's all come across as wrong.
Could that fit at all?
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