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Management agency/tenant issues

(4 Posts)
BuntyCollocks Tue 18-Mar-14 15:25:22

I'll try and keep this brief and unemotional.

We've been letting our flat through a letting agency, as we moved up north for work. It's been with the same tenant since we left. We left it immaculate, and the only thing we ever had issues with (we had it from new build, flat is now 7 years this Sept) was the boiler, so any issues with the boiler we expected.

Over the years, the management agency have billed us for someone attending to replace a battery in the handheld alarm keypad (was a normal, round battery), a new extractor fan in the bathroom, and a total strip of the bathroom, and redecoration due to mould, caused by the extractor fan not working and not being reported as not working.

I disputed the battery (�75!!), as it was easy and idiot proof to change (the alarm is a yale off the shelf from b&q job, so not complicated), and the redecoration, as if the tenant had reported the extractor fan as not working, there wouldn't have been the mould issue. I was told by the letting agency both times we were responsible.

We finally sold in Oct last year, tenant was given 4 months to vacate. She fucked us over at the last minute and refused to move out on the agreed date, so she's now moving out at the weekend.

She then had the cheek last month to email with a list of works that needed doing:

- broken toilet seats in both bathrooms
- needing lightbulbs which she couldn't find
- damp in the same bathroom as before

I disputed all of this as she said that the seats were "very cheap and obviously made of two bits of wood glued together" - they were solid wooden seats from next. The bulbs were freely available on line and she has actually changed the light fittings, and the damp in the bathroom is again because she's not using the fan.

I've finally gotten someone at the letting company who agrees that we shouldn't have been liable for the initial redecoration, or the battery in the alarm, and that the tenant has not acted in a tenant like manner.

We got a damp contractor to go to the flat yesterday and he estimates �1200+vat is required to redo the bathroom. The seals on the windows are also compromised.

Having relayed this to my dad and father in law, both asked if we weren't getting property inspections. So, I phoned the agency, who stated why yes, an inspection was done in October, and are done every year.

We have never received an inspection report.

I asked for it to be sent to me immediately.

The damp is horrendous. The toilet seats are absolutely WRECKED, and broken in half. There are water stains on the ceiling in the kitchen.

All of these issues are identified in the report, but no one ever made us aware. Thankfully, it was like that when the buyer saw it so she knows what she's buying, but I am horrified.

Where do I stand in getting some recompense a: from the tenant, who has never reported these issues until she was in the last month of her tenancy and b: from the letting agent, who was meant to be managing our property, but has never actually managed it?

I don't know how the tenant and the management agency can both get away with not letting us know about this?

I'm absolutely fuming and heartbroken. It was our first home, and she's shat all over it.

Also, we were told it would sell for �225k, and we eventually had to accept �215k, in a market that's booming. Now, I can totally see why.

There has to be some avenue I can go down, but I have no idea how or who to pursue.

Please, please, PLEASE help.

LIZS Tue 18-Mar-14 16:04:33

How much deposit do you have and is the agent a member of ARLA? was it full management service that you paid for and did the contract require them to send you inspection reports . If you have water stains on a ceiling in a flat then surely that is beyond your tenant's control and needs to be taken up with freeholder/upstairs. tbh you have to expect a certain amount of wear and tear and maintenance each year which you can offset against the income for tax, annoying though some of this damage is you can't expect direct recompense for it all. Could you not have viewed it or ask the ea to point out the possible issues before putting it on the market ?

BuntyCollocks Tue 18-Mar-14 16:27:19

The deposit I believe is one months rent, and I've just checked re: ARLA - their website states:

[Agent] is a founding member of SAFEAgent, a kitemark that denotes firms that protect landlords' and tenants' money through client money protection schemes; a member of the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), The Property Ombudsman and fully supports the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) code of practice.

It was a full management service, and according to what I was told today, we should have received a yearly inspection report. The water stains on the ceiling are by what looks like an access hatch for something in the flat, so I think it is something in the flat causing them.

This is honestly not fair wear and tear. The ceiling and walls are thick with mould - it is pure neglect and negligence. We've been renting where we are at the moment the exact same length of time and we haven't got this. We lived in the flat for the same length of time and never caused this issue to it.

We live 300 miles north, and cannot possibly travel to view it with a 3 year old, 1 year old and our families both another 250 miles north of us - hence why we paid for the full management service. We needed someone to be our eyes on the ground as it were.

EA and management company are one and the same.

LIZS Tue 18-Mar-14 16:37:38

Ask them to dispute the return of the deposit, take photos of the damage and a copy of the report. It is probably condensation rather than damp, so relatively easily rectified.

You may want to speak to CAB and Trading Standards before lodging a formal complaint (the agent's website may have a complaints procedure to follow before ARLA etc). however maybe it never would have been worth 225k even if in an "as new" state. You may have employed an agent but you do still need to accept that one of you could have made the trip to view the property and meet the agent occasionally, if only to protect your asset.

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