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Help me read my rights to the annoying letting agents.

(18 Posts)
ivehadaverybadday Sat 13-Apr-13 20:28:34

We're renting a house through an agent, the LL is abroad. In the tenancy agreement it states that we have to have quarterly checks. Fine, NP, if it means that there will be no nasty surprises when we leave.

We moved in last June, first one was in December, so hardly "quarterly". Anyway, a letter arrived this morning stating the next one is a week on Friday. I states that I can rearrange it but if i then cancel that I will incur a charge of £50. It also states that if they have keys (they do) and we don;t respond to the letter, they can let themselves in.

When the guy came round in december, he said if we had a note on our file saying we did not want them to let themselves in, then they cannot.

So, I called the office to ask to rearrange as I work on fridays, I'm part time, so told them the days I'm at home therefore they days they can come. I was told that it will be rearranged, but she couldn't guarantee it would be for one of my at-home days, and that if i rearranged again, I'd be charged £50. I told her this was ridiculous, that I am at home for pretty much half the week, and that I'm not taking a day off for this (all said very politely, I may add). All she could say was that they do certain areas on certain days (though not which one) and couldn't guarantee the day. Also, would I mind them letting themselves in if I wasn't there.

I said absolutely I would, and told her what I had been told before, that we had a note on our file, and that under no circumstances could they let themselves in. I pointed out that we received the letter less than two weeks before the apt was book so we could feasibly had been on holiday and not have got it. They would have let themselves in then, she said. No, I said, that's illeagal. And relax!

So, she's put a note on that we need a new apt and the days Im available, but that's all she could do. Now, I don't mind the inspections, there are a few things I need to point out to them that haven't been fixed since the last one <sigh>. But, if they do f* up and arrange another one for a day I;m not here, what is the best way to ensure that the buggers don't take £50 off me?

Argh!

ivehadaverybadday Sat 13-Apr-13 20:57:41

Bump?

Crutchlow35 Sat 13-Apr-13 21:23:33

The £50 I am not sure about but the letting themselves in is ok. Lots of agents write it into the contract. It is not illegal if they give you at least 24 hours notice.

ivehadaverybadday Sat 13-Apr-13 21:34:14

Thanks Crutch. Although it's written into the contract that they do quarterly instructions, I'm pretty sure it's not legally enforceable. Also with letting themselves in. That's what I'm trying to clarify though.

Toughasoldboots Sat 13-Apr-13 21:38:45

It's not legal to let themselves in, I keep saying it on here. They can put what they want on the contract, doesn't mean it's enforceable. Landlordzone is good for this if you haven't tried it already.

Sam100 Sat 13-Apr-13 21:41:30

I think the phrase you are looking for is that you are entitled to "quiet enjoyment" of the property. A landlord (or agent) cannot just let themselves in without giving you prior notice. However in most cases this is 24 hours notice. So actually the agents are being more than reasonable to give over 2 weeks notice. I would suggest that it would be more productive if you said to them that you have a few issues that you want them to deal with so it would be better if they arrange the visit on a day when you are around otherwise they will have to come back again on a day when you are in to deal with the snagging issues.

Toughasoldboots Sat 13-Apr-13 21:43:29

The right to live in the accommodation undisturbed

A tenant has the right to live in your accommodation without being disturbed. They have the right to have control over their home so that their landlord and other people cannot freely enter whenever they want to.

A landlord cannot limit or otherwise interfere with a tenants right to live in their accommodation or they could be found guilty of harassment.

Read more: http://www.tenancyagreementservice.co.uk/tenants-rights.htm#ixzz2QNVdBcRp

ivehadaverybadday Sat 13-Apr-13 21:45:39

Thanks. The fact that they are legally not allowed to get themselves in kind of goes against the fact that they can with 24hrs notice, doesn't it? So in theory i could receive a letter on wednesday saying they are coming on Friday, and I can't say no, even if I'm not going to be there?

I just know that;
- I will not take time off work for this as I'm available for two full (working) days
- I do not want them here if I'm not.
Seems fair enough to me?

Toughasoldboots Sat 13-Apr-13 21:51:01

No- the 24 hr notice does not mean this. If you say no, they cannot enter.
You have exclusive occupation.

It goes to the heart of tenants rights, no one can enter your home without permission.

The charge is a load of rubbish too.
If they want access and it is refused, then they have to apply to the courts, unless true emergency when no doubt police/fire brigade would be in attendance too.

Having said that, you would be in breach of contract and in theory they could sue you for that, tenants rights are considered to be more important though.

In essence, they can't demand that you attend when they say? It is unreasonable. A time and day can be worked out that suits both of you.
I am pretty sure that a judge would think that you asking for a different day is reasonable.

raspberryroop Sat 13-Apr-13 22:49:07

Put it in writing - as Tough says the 24 hours is not an enforceable right they can only enter without your permission in an emergency ie flood/fire.

The £50 is also not chargeable - they work for the LL not you - you have no contract with them.

MousyMouse Sat 13-Apr-13 23:01:33

it doesn't matter what the contract says.
the landord (or anyone else) must not enter your home unless you give your permission. unless it is an emergency (as in blue lights).
if they do it's tresspassing.
good luck.

Notyetthere Sun 14-Apr-13 09:34:35

I'm going to go against general consensus here. Why do you have to be present for this inspection? I have never been in for any of these inspections and they always send me a copy of the inspection sent to the landlord showing that everything is fine. If I have a few things I want them to fix I send them an email asking them to check them when do the inspection.

bamboobutton Sun 14-Apr-13 09:45:48

Quite a few reasons they need to be in;

La might break something and lay blame on op.

There might be pets that could escape when the door is opened

LA might steal something

LA could make up any old crap to put in his report.

toughasoldboots is right right right. So sick of people being bullied and hassled by letting agents on a power trip.

MousyMouse Sun 14-Apr-13 10:09:19

notyet
it also might invalidate the tennants contents insurance.

pickledparsnip Sun 14-Apr-13 10:14:29

This is one of the reasons I have never rented from one of the letting agents in my town, they do visits every 3 months. I think it is outrageous. I wouldn't have such a problem if they didn't insist on letting themselves in if you are not there. You have no idea who the are or how trustworthy they are.

I don't see how they can expect people to feel comfortable when they visit every 3 months. I say stand your ground. Good luck!

pickledparsnip Sun 14-Apr-13 10:18:50

How long is your contract for? The only thing I would be worried about is if they don't agree to renew it if they deem you as being uncooperative. I guess that is why they can get away with it?

I know tenants have rights, but you often still have to play their game, as otherwise they can make things awkward/not renew contracts.

Bastards (not bitter, honest).

PigletJohn Sun 14-Apr-13 10:41:03

They do not have the right to let themselves in.

They do not have the right to let themselves in if they give you 24 hours notice

They do not have the right to let themselves in if they give you a months notice.

specialsubject Sun 14-Apr-13 11:57:12

indeed. And they also don't have the right to charge you!

contact the landlord (if you don't have his contact details, demand them - you are entitled to them). Tell him that they missed an inspection (my agents kept doing this) and are messing you about, and also about the things that are problems.

I suspect 'agent doing sod all' issues, and the landlord knows nothing about it.

inspections are not unreasonable - I've had tenants not notice a roof leaking into a room, can't fix it if you don't know about it - but the agent works round you. That's what the landlord pays them for.

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