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to wonder if it'd be cheeky to ask our landlords this?

(40 Posts)
EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 17:09:27

Our landlord and landlady are very nice people who've been friendly beyond the call of duty - chatting to us, telling us their plans for renovation work they want to do, etc. etc. We've never asked for work to be done, but they've planned lots of things which should in theory make it much nicer and we are glad (just explaning how good their intentions are).

One thing is they've had the plumber come and take out the old boiler and put in a new one. When he connected it to the shower we found it ran warm for a few seconds, then lukewarm/cold. We got in touch with landlord, and he said we could get the plumber back, and the plumber says he needs to find a special different fitting and put that in. We've been three weeks so far with no hot shower (there's no bath), and it will be at least another ten days before any chance of getting it fixed.

We're not complaining to them, but obviously it is not ideal. Meantime, we are still meant to be paying the lettings agency their fee for renewing the contract. Now, IMO, tenants pay letting agencies expecting they'll sort out jobs without fuss. The landlord however asked us not to go to the letting agency because the lettings agency charges them (the landlords) lots of money for repairs and they can do it cheaper themselves. It feels to us as if we're getting the downsides of both types of arrangement - we're paying the letting agency fees, and we're also putting up with the more casual and slow attitude to sorting out problems from the landlord.

Would it be unreasonable to raise this with the landlord? Or is it cheeky since we know they would want the lettings agents if they had other tenants after us (or, obviously, if turned into bad tenants and they needed the agents to sort it out - we won't, of course!)?

Swankyswishing Wed 19-Oct-11 17:16:07

Although they sound chatty it doesn't sound to me like they've actually done anything over and above the call of duty other than have money from you each month.

LynetteScavo Wed 19-Oct-11 17:19:02

Not cheeky at all!

What does your contract say.

The property is either managed by the letting agents...where they call the boiler engineer if necessarily, or by the owner, where you call the landlord.

It costs the landlord more to have the agent manage the property, rather than just find them a tenant.

Onlyaphase Wed 19-Oct-11 17:20:16

Agree with Swanky

As a landlady, I'd be mortified if my tenants had no hot water for a month, and would be considering a rent reduction at the very least to make up for it. I don't know why you aren't raising this as a major issue with them.

dickiedavisthunderthighs Wed 19-Oct-11 17:24:20

So they've said they're going to do all -sorts but haven't done anything and you've gone without a hot shower for three weeks with another ten days (at least) and you're still paying them full whack?

I think you need a reality check - just because someone appears to be nice doesn't mean they are nice, and you're paying for YOUR kindness by not going through the letting agent by your landlords doing naff all.

I think you need to man up a bit and tell them that you need a hot shower, and if a plumber isn't there in the next 48 hours then you'll either call one yourself and charge it back, or go through the letting agent.

Your 'lovely' landlords are getting away with murder.

catsareevil Wed 19-Oct-11 17:33:14

What dickiedavis said.

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 17:38:52

Thanks everyone.

The tenancy has the lettings agents on it - we rented through them before the landlords bought the place. We know this is costing the landlords so we are a bit bemused, but apparently they want the lettings agency to stay managing it in case they get bad tenants in teh future. confused

They have been very nice in that they're putting in a better boiler (which should save us money), and will replace the metal-frame windows (which make it very cold and damp). So we are glad about that.

I just don't quite know how to raise things with them - they seem to think we will want to do all sorts of things for ourselves, like organizing what day the plumber comes. I do actually appreciate that, but I'm not used to having the choice or the responsibility.

dickiedavisthunderthighs Wed 19-Oct-11 17:43:53

I think you need to give them a choice - tell them that you appreciate the changes they are making but a month without being able to wash in hot water is absolutely unacceptable, and that either they arrange urgent repairs or you have to go through the letting agent and get an emergency plumber at their cost, as you are currently paying for a service you're not receiving, both in terms of letting agent fees and rent on your property.

This link is quite useful, just tells you your rights and you might want to use it when you speak to the landlords:

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions

Onlyaphase Wed 19-Oct-11 17:47:01

Well you could start by telling/reminding them that you've had no hot water for 3 weeks, and none in sight for 10 more days which they must agree isn't acceptable, and what do they intend to do about it?

Can you speak to the letting agent and let them know you're unhappy? See if they can suggest anything to speed things up or make it up to you.

Think about what you want - rent reduction? - and ask for it. If you set out what you want then you make it easier for them to help you in some ways.

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 17:52:00

I don't mind waiting for the shower to be mended - much rather have an upgraded shower after a wait, than what we had before which was rubbish. I just feel that, since we didn't actually ask for it, it's not like they're doing us a favour and we should put up with whatever. We have hot water for washing up, btw.

I was wondering if we could just say, can we please stop using the lettings agency because it is too expensive to pay for a service we don't get? It sounds as if that would be reasonable by most people's standards on this thread.

Since I'm here ... separate issue btu connected - the loo seat is broken (the screw rusted through). We emailed saying can they get it replaced, and no reply. Would you ask again, or is it something (like a lightbulb) you'd expect to do yourself?

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 17:53:02

Btw, we have rented for years, it's just I've never been in this odd situation with the landlord and the lettings agent and don't know quite how to play it.

bettieblue Wed 19-Oct-11 17:58:13

Hi

Just to clarify tenants don't pay fees to the letting agency to sort out repairs etc. The landlord pays the letting agency to find tenants, draw up contracts and do credit checks. They can for an extra monthly fee get the agency to manage the property so that if there are problems at the property the tenants call them and not the landlord directly. However the agency usually then calls the landlord and says the boiler is broken we can get our contractors out to quote or you the landlord can get someone themselves. If your landlord has asked you not to contact the agency it might be that hes not paying for that service. If he is paying for that service as a landlord he certainly doesn't have to use the agencies contractors. You can call the agency and ask if the property is managed through them, if hes not paying them to do that they won't assist you.

Leaving you without hot water is not OK. Im a bit confused though you said the plumber has been out and said you need a special part. Maybe the plumber is waiting for the landlord to agree to the work and the landlord assumed the work has been done. Contact the landlord again and give them a time to get it fixed by. If it isn't done get the plumber out, get the work done and deduct it from your rent.

Incidently you don't have to renew your tenancy if you don't want to. It automatically just continues with either party able to give a months notice. The only advantage of renewing you tenancy is that you are locked in for 6 months so know you have at least that amount of time in the property.Agencies charge you and the landlord money for in effect photocopying the agreement and changing the date!. I have as a landlord asked the tenant if they want to sign a new contract or just leave it. If they want a new contract ive changed the dates myself, saving me and the tenant the fees. I only go back to the agency when we need to find new tenants.

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 18:04:48

bettie - what I mean is, the reason I, as a tenant, bother to rent through an agency and not from a landlord is because I can then pester the agency to my heart's content and they are staffed 9-5, so do jobs promptly. Before the new landlord bought the property, this worked fine. Obviously when you don't have a landlord, the agents do not contact them to have work ok'd. I assume they contact their bosses further up the chain, but it's ususally quite organized IMO.

The plumber is not waiting for teh landlord to ok the work (or at least, he hasn't said so, landlord doesn't think so, and landlord has had us getting in touch directly with the plumber about this).

I don't know about not renewing tenancy - how do we do that and keep the lettings agency involved (which seems to be what the landlord wants)? We got a letter from the agency a while back saying we must pay resign fees or they'd re-advertise the property on behalf of the landlord. If we say 'no thanks', don't we have to clear this with the landlord first? Or can we terminate our half of the agreement and still get a roll-on? I'm confused.

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 18:05:28

(Sorry, i hope that makes sense ... it's one of those situations where there's a huge backstory so I probably didn't put it very well!)

tyler80 Wed 19-Oct-11 18:12:32

If you don't renew your tenancy you will go onto a periodic tenancy, nothing will change apart from the fact that you're out of a fixed period. So if the agency previously managed the property, they'll still manage the property.

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 18:14:52

Yeah, but what happens with teh agency saying they will re-advertise the property if we don't sign? They presumably mean they'd give us our two months' notice, and we don't actually want to move out. And our landlord says he doesn't want us to move out.

I just don't understand why he is still using the agency at all - is there some financial reason? Would they charge him masses to stop using them then start again in a year or two when we finally move on elsewhere? I just don't really get it.

FabbyChic Wed 19-Oct-11 18:16:27

I rent from an Agent I pay no fees for my contract, it just rolls on and is not automatically renewed every six months.

I also ring the agents if I have a problem, the shower was broken hardly use it as have a bath but it was replaced within 24 hours.

I would never go without hot water for 3 weeks let alone longer than that you pay your rent you are entitled to hot water to bath.

Sorry you are too soft.

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 18:21:37

I am pretty easy going, I know that.

I am glad to know people aren't saying it is unreasonable. I know so often people feel their tenants demand too much - but I really don't think we are doing, and it is good to have that confirmed.

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 18:22:15

(I envy you your bath btw fabby! smile)

HerScaryness Wed 19-Oct-11 18:23:22

You agree with the landlord to continue the tenancy as it is, so that it just rolls on. A stsutory periodic agreement. The agency can't just decide to evict a client's tenants! Ok so they won't get a renewal fee, but they will continue to manage the property unless the LL decides to instruct another agent.

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 18:25:20

Thanks HerScaryness. That is what I was thinking we had to do. sad

So it looks as if we just have to ask and hope they will agree to it. But I'm glad the consensus is we're not rude to ask.

Emsmaman Wed 19-Oct-11 18:28:18

All other issues aside, it's probable that the landlords would have to pay something to the letting agency when you renew anyway, it is quite often in the contracts that the agency that found the tenant gets re-sign fees for 3 years or something like that, regardless of their involvement or lack thereof. Perhaps the landlord wants to keep using them since it has to be paid anyway and this way your paying a share too. I'm a little confused as to whether the property is still managed by the estate agents though? Sounds like your landlords are paying to keep them officially as managers but asking you not to use them - in which case you would be well within your rights to go straight to the agents and I'm sure they will sort it out quickly (they should have an arrangement with the landlord to be able to spend x on urgent works)

SoupDragon Wed 19-Oct-11 18:32:57

Aren't you waiting on the plumber, not the landlord?
And you've not complained to the landlord?

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 18:33:10

Yes, I'm confused too! But they are asking us not to use them and also I think paying to keep them officially. It seems strange to me.

I don't mind waiting to get the shower fixed. I'm sure if I owned my own home, I'd be waiting. The issue is more that I don't really want to pay so much money to teh agency (who are a bunch of charlatans IMO and keep on trying to find ways to charge us money), and I don't see why we should if the service we get is from the landlord.

I thought someone might tell us we were lucky to get the landlords doing things for the property, or that there's a good reason from the LL's point of view to keep the agency on, but tbh it sounds as if there isn't much of a reason!

EllaDee Wed 19-Oct-11 18:37:12

Oh, sorry, my last was to Ems.

Soup - we've let the LL know the shower ran cold. They said it was fine to get back to the plumber and get him to sort it. That's the only 'complaint' as such (oh, and both we and the LL have had a gab about how crap the lettings agents are, which they are, so even less idea why they want to keep them on).

The issue is not really trying to get a hot shower sooner. It's that we feel we're getting the raw end of the deal. We're both getting regular demands for fees from the lettings agency, and we're having the LL say please not to use the agency and to talk to them about renovations/repairs. We want to say please can we not pay the agency resign fee, and we're hoping the LL will see our point and say ok.

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