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To be annoyed that estate agent has written to tell my landlord I'm house hunting

(48 Posts)
TheThingsWeDo Wed 05-Feb-14 19:12:15

I'm currently renting a flat but hoping to buy a house later this year. DP and I have been registering with estate agents near us and have viewed a couple of houses. We haven't spoken to our landlord about our intention to buy a house and wouldn't do so until we are ready to give notice on our tenancy (in accordance with our tenancy agreement of course) as we have no idea how long it could take us to find somewhere- it may not be for another year.

I've just opened up a letter, addressed to 'The owner' which I opened up without looking properly, thinking it said 'The occupier'. If it makes any difference DP and I are the first people to have lived in the flat so we don't ever get post for previous tenants, hence me not looking too carefully at the envelope.

Anyway the letter is from one of the estate agents that we have recently registered with and says "We have received a visit from your tenants looking for a new home, and therefore assume that the property will shortly be vacant and generating no income". Then it's blah blah blah, do you want to rent your property through us etc.

AIBU to be furious that the estate agent have invaded my privacy in this way and written to my landlord, suggesting that I will soon be moving out? I don't think it's their place to be contacting my landlord, or anyone else for that matter, about the fact that I am house hunting. WIBU to contact the estate agent and tell them that I think their behaviour is completely inappropriate?

AwfulMaureen Wed 05-Feb-14 19:22:18

YABU to be "furious" ...it's business. What does it matter? Your Landlord will be happy as long as you give notice.

Prettykitty111 Wed 05-Feb-14 19:23:17

Yes absolutely I'd be raging about this as I am in the same situation as you. What if takes you a month but your landlord panicked and gave you notice now. Stuff like this is so underhand I wouldn't use that agent again unless they had my perfect property

Prettykitty111 Wed 05-Feb-14 19:24:00

Yanbu and I meant takes you a year damn phone

cocobongo Wed 05-Feb-14 19:24:19

data protection issue right there- complain link to complaint process

Bowlersarm Wed 05-Feb-14 19:24:28

Very enterprising of them, if a bit underhand.

raffle Wed 05-Feb-14 19:25:53

I would be cross about that too, YANBU. I probably wouldn't speak to the Estate Agents, although I would continue to illegally intercept any more of their letters to the landlord.

MissMilbanke Wed 05-Feb-14 19:26:25

This would have me mad too.

Totally underhand and unnecessary.

However I hope you have learnt one thing from all this.

Never trust an estate agent. Don't give them any information .
Wasn't J S was it ?

NoSquirrels Wed 05-Feb-14 19:28:00

That's awful. I would be deleted-registering with that agent and telling them why. Then I'd be telling everyone I knew how appalling they are too. Very very bad business practice. Apart from it being really fucking annoying, and potentially jeopardizing your tenancy, it shows you can't have a relationship of trust with that agent. They would potentially be brokering the deal for the largest amount of money you'd ever spent - how could you ever trust them to behave with ethics?

TheThingsWeDo Wed 05-Feb-14 19:28:17

You're right Maureen, 'furious' is more than a little over the top of me but I am annoyed. As Prettykitty111 said it could cause my landlord to panic and give me notice when he otherwise would have done.

And just more generally I feel as though my privacy has been invaded.

Thanks for the link cocobongo, will have a look.

candycrushhater Wed 05-Feb-14 19:29:12

This is a breach of the Data Protection Act - they have used information you provided them with for a different purpose. Complain.

NoSquirrels Wed 05-Feb-14 19:29:15

Deleted-registering? De-registering, obviously!

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 05-Feb-14 19:30:57

YANBU! What if it does take you another year to find a suitable house, and then another 6 months until you move in?

Meanwhile, your LL will be thinking that you will be leaving shortly - which isn't necessarily the case.

I would be livid.

Bowlersarm Wed 05-Feb-14 19:31:23

NoSquirrels-how would de register with that agent help the OP? If that agent gets her dream house on their books, and she has put herself in the position where she can't see it and therefore buy it?

specialsubject Wed 05-Feb-14 19:31:29

outrageous - and I'm a landlord! Although your landlord is unlikely to give you notice for this, why should he? It is courteous to keep him informed when you are nearer buying but that could be ages away.

complain bitterly to the agent.

TheThingsWeDo Wed 05-Feb-14 19:32:16

No MissMillbanke, it wasn't JS.

Candycrushhater I am probably being stupid but I thought that the Data Protection Act only applied to government/state bodies and not private companies?

I think I will write to them and ask them to remove my details from any databases and will explain why. I think you're spot on NoSquirrels about the trust issue, makes me annoyed to think that I could have been putting money into this company's pockets when as you say they could have jeopardized my tenancy, costing me lots of money.

SadFreak Wed 05-Feb-14 19:33:04

Please complain. They need to know they cannot treat confidential information in this way.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Wed 05-Feb-14 19:33:18

Might depend on the terms and conditions you signed - you might have signed that you "agree that agent X can use your information including the fact that you are looking to move, in their marketing and sales processes" or some bumpf like that.

Still a bit crap of them really.

DanceParty Wed 05-Feb-14 19:33:28

I agree - I would be furious. Complain complain complain to the Estate Agent. And refuse to buy anything through them.

londonrach Wed 05-Feb-14 19:34:40

Yanbu. That stupid estate agency risks you losing your rental as the landlord might have given notice. We been in the same situation and had a failed attempt to buy. Given up now as the london market is too much for us. Complain as apart from being morally wrong this breaks data protection. Im shocked at this. Dont trust this estate agent and inform all your friends. Have you visited www.allagents.co.uk

TheThingsWeDo Wed 05-Feb-14 19:35:01

Bowlersarm I see your point and maybe it would be a bit cutting-my-nose-off-to-spite-my-face but I just wouldn't feel as though I could have a good relationship with this particular estate agent after this, it's left a sour taste.

specialsubject my worry is that landlord would be worried that I'd want to leave soon and so would just want to get a new tenant in as soon as possible.

NoSquirrels Wed 05-Feb-14 19:36:00

bowlers I am stubborn and it would be a point of principle to me to never put any business their way. And as I say, I would never trust them, so for me it would be pointless to remain on their books.

All estate agents are in it for the money, of course, but there are limits!

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Wed 05-Feb-14 19:36:12

Data protection applies to everyone albeit in slightly different ways. There are varying degrees and types of data handlers. If it didn't apply to private companies they would not bother with all those tick boxes "We may share your information... etc"

londonrach Wed 05-Feb-14 19:36:59

Follow complaints policy which is letter to office, then to head office for dead letter etc. Im worried if one estate agent gets away with this others could....

Bowlersarm Wed 05-Feb-14 19:37:09

OP I think you would be right to complain, don't get me wrong, but if I were you I wouldn't go down the 'and I'm never dealing with you again' route just in case you need them sometime in the future.

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