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How unreasonable would I be if I asked the managing agent not to give out my number?

(25 Posts)
anice Tue 02-Oct-12 11:05:13

I am a tenant and the managing agent keeps giving my mobile number out to people who need to come to the house to do work. They do it without telling me so the first i know of it is when i get a call from a random stranger telling me when they are coming round to my home. Sometimes I am half expecting someone, and sometimes I am not.
Then they either turn up, or they don't in which case I have to liaise with them about a new appointment.
I know its more convoluted if the managing agent has to sit in the middle but I feel a little uncomfortable having my mobile number given out in this way and I don't appreciate having to do the chasing.
So would I be unreasonable to tell the managing agent to co-ordinate things themselves? Or even just tell them to let me know before they give out my contact details to people?

DesperatelySeekingPomBears Tue 02-Oct-12 11:12:56

YANBU OP. Our home is also managed by a letting agent and they deal with anything and everything, just calling me to give me dates and times. Isn't that what your landlord is paying them for?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Tue 02-Oct-12 11:14:31

If you would prefer that then tell them. They probably think they are making things more convenient for you because it enables you to make convenient arrangements.

WaitingForMe Tue 02-Oct-12 11:16:33

YANBU. I would never dream of giving out my tenants' number without their permission. It's the responsibility of the landlord or their agent to manage visits from tradesmen.

anice Tue 02-Oct-12 11:19:39

I had a problem with the plumber this week (he didn't turn up/ didn't let me know he wasn't coming). So i emailed the managing agent yesterday askign them to contact the plumber and let me know when he intends to do the work. They wrote back saying of course. Then they say would you like his number?

I reply saying that I'd prefer if they liaise with him this time as they will probably get a better response than I will.

They write back saying We've asked him to call you. Or do you want us to liaise with him?

I write back saying "yes, please liaise with him on my behalf. This is when i will be available...".

They write back saying "he'll call you."


lottiegarbanzo Tue 02-Oct-12 11:28:07

The managing agent is paid to manage, you are not. If you're doing their job you should ask for their fee.

They may need to know when you are in or if it's convenient for someone to come round but they should contact you first and warn that so and so will be in touch, or get times from you, then let you know when the person will be coming. Slightly more effort for hem, that's fine. If you're out, they can arrange to meet the contractor at your place. Lots of contractors probably only work when you do - when the agent is also available to do their job.

I used to have an agent that expected me to take time off work to supervise contractors, yet would only take tenants in work! They also expected me to host all viewings before I left (oh we're not insured in case your stuff gets damaged or stolen). I think letting agencies are money-printing licences for lazy incompetents (all those I've experienced at least). I've been a landlord for years, I'd never use one.

HecateHarshPants Tue 02-Oct-12 11:39:16

Why not email them and say "we appear to be talking at cross purposes. When I say 'please liaise with them on my behalf' I don't mean that the extent of your liaising is to give them my phone number, I mean please take a note of my availability, pass it to them, arrange a date and you contact me to give me the date. I will be in and if they cannot come, you contact me and we arrange another date. At no point do you give them my phone number.

Glad we've been able to clear up this misunderstanding, it will be very helpful in all future arrangements. Regards..."

ok or too snotty? grin

lottiegarbanzo Tue 02-Oct-12 11:46:20

Ok i think. If, after clarity and reasonableness has failed you wanted to be snotty, you could say 'I'd rather you didn't give out my number and that you liaise, then confirm the appointment time with me, making sure you let me know if arrangements change. However, if you find yourselves unable to do this and wish me to liaise with the contractor on your behalf, my hourly rate is £20, minimum chargeable period one hour.'

squeakytoy Tue 02-Oct-12 11:46:52

Not sure really. If you need work doing then surely the contractor needs to be able to contact you directly.

We do a lot of work for tenants and always have the contact number for the customer.

Paiviaso Tue 02-Oct-12 11:48:04

YANBU, you shouldn't be spending time organising plumbers when it's the agencies job. I very much like Hecate's email!

squeakytoy Tue 02-Oct-12 11:52:46

I have to arrange engineers to go out to jobs. It would make my day a lot more difficult if I had to speak to the managing agency, then wait for them to speak to the tenant, then get back to me, and so on, when one phone call to the tenant is all it needs to agree a mutually convenient appointment time.

anice Tue 02-Oct-12 11:54:22

Hecate - God but I'd love to send an email like that. Maybe cc the landlord in for good measure. I even thought a simpler one of just suggesting that they read my email and look up any unfamiliar words (such as "liaise") is the dictionary before typing out a reply but I fear that it would be counter productive.

I am tempted to give them a blanket instruction though about not handing my mobile number out to anyone they feel like without asking me first. A couple of months ago, I got a call from a random stranger who said that they were coming round the next day to do an inspection. Apparently the agency had decided to outsource their inspections but they hadn't told me.

Tip to burglars/ con artists: don't bother bluffing your way into old people's homes, just tell tenants that you have been instructed to do an inspection. That way you can get a good look at the security arrangements, find out when the house is unoccupied and find out what's worth having.

anice Tue 02-Oct-12 11:55:44

squaekytoy - all well and good for you, but where does that leave the tenant when your engineer does not turn up? They don't exactly have clout with you do they?

squeakytoy Tue 02-Oct-12 11:56:12

you sound quite paranoid..

squeakytoy Tue 02-Oct-12 11:57:25

My engineers do not NOT turn up. They would get sacked if they did.

We also do not do any work for agencies without an official job order in writing/email either.

I would tell your managing agent to use a more reliable company if that is happening.

anice Tue 02-Oct-12 11:58:51

Then you are not organising the engineer who was supposed to come yesterday to my house but did not turn up.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 02-Oct-12 11:59:44

Isn't the landlord the customer though?

As a landlord I've always done the liaising. I either get dates from the tenants, arrange with contractor, confirm with tenant, or, arrange with contractor and tell tenant, making clear that I can be there if they cannot.

I wouldn't leave it to the tenant to make arrangements with the contractor, not just because it's an imposition on their time but because it is my responsibility to ensure the work happens, not theirs, even if it's in their interests.

I've only given contractors and tenants each other's numbers, with tenants' agreement, if there's some issue about time and they're happy to liaise directly about exact time or changes of plan.

HecateHarshPants Tue 02-Oct-12 12:05:42

Does data protection legislation not apply here? Giving out telephone numbers without permission? In fact, actually against the tenants wishes?

I am actually asking, btw grin not being sarky.

anice Tue 02-Oct-12 12:29:58

yes, the landlord is the managing agent's customer. The landlord and I have a contract for me to give him money in return for him giving me exclusive use of his property. Then the landlord appoints an agent to deal with his responsibilities on his behalf. So, if the managing agent gives out my number, then he's doing it on the landlord's behalf.

That's the theory but in practice managing agents are a law onto themselves.

Data protection only applies to data held electronically. Its obvious that the managing agents don't have handwritten notes with all the tenants details on them. they probably even even our mobile numbers around. However, i'd bet that they would claim that my number alone was written on an ancient ledger should I ever try to invoke the law.

Its catch-22 and I think i am stuck with it.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 02-Oct-12 12:39:43

I think if you explicitly said 'don't give out my number', they would say 'really? are you sure? we thought this was more convenient for you. Ok then'. They might then forget a few times but would eventually be bound to comply with your wishes. Otherwise they'd be on very dodgy ground. Have you actually stated that though?

You could just tell them you've changed your number and want it kept private, so would prefer them to contact you by email.

You are not stuck. There are ways round this with a bit of directness and/or imagination. Best to keep it light-hearted though, as in the end, they're human, prefer dealing with nice people and are more likely to help them and you do want things to be mended promptly when necessary.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 02-Oct-12 12:43:32

p.s. I'd call them, be pleasant but very clear, then follow up with an email confirming the key points of the conversation, just for the record.

anice Tue 02-Oct-12 12:50:33

lottiegarbanzo - I am thinking about doing it, hence my OP "would I be unreasonable if...". I think you are right that they would conveniently forget but eventually have no option but to comply, for a while at least. However, if they think i have been unreasonable, then you are also right that I'd be at risk of turning them against me.

stopcallingmefrank Tue 02-Oct-12 13:11:41

YANBU at all. If it were me, I would just tell them they do not have your permssion to give out your phone number to anyone. If they say 'are you sure?' or try to pressure you, just keep repeating yourself.

Sorry but you are mistaken that data protection only applies to information that is held electronically. That used to be true in the past, but the law has changed. And anyway the agents probably do hold your information in electronic form, but you don't need to know that to complain.

What are you worried about happening if they 'turn against you'? Aren't they already treating you badly?

DontmindifIdo Tue 02-Oct-12 13:16:36

I'd go with the firm and stroppy e-mail ccing in the landlord. The landlord is paying for a service, they are paying the agent to do that, the agent is getting you to do some of the work for them.

anice Tue 02-Oct-12 13:32:05

They were the managing agents for my previous tenancy and they treated me very badly at the end of that tenancy. They seem to like to bully tenants in order to get the tenants agreeing to stuff that isn't fair (and as it turned out isn't legal either). Of course, they said that they were just following the landlord's instructions but they weren't exactly trying to prevent him from breaking the law. In the end, i threatened to call the police and that worked to bring things to a conclusion.

However, by then I was already in this current tenancy. The managing agents and I have an uneasy detente. However, i always tread very carefully with them, make sure everything is in writing and never do anything without asking myself "would I be unreasonable if I were to...?". Hence my OP.

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