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How to deal with letting agency - damage caused by them/viewers

(17 Posts)
rtc8608 Wed 17-Apr-13 14:35:41

So, here's the situation. We rent a city centre apartment and are due to move out in a month's time. As a result, prospective tenants have been shown around for the past few months by the agents.

Last week, DP notices a tear to the bottom of the curtain of the balcony door.

Now, we do not use the door as we have no furniture on the balcony, the weather is usually rubbish, and it overlooks a courtyard and other apartments. The door handle also sticks when you close the door and you have to force it closed.

Yesterday I emailed the agents, explained that we do not use the door and that someone has possibly trapped/stood on the curtain during a viewing (they are made out of very thin material so probably would be easily done).

They have now emailed back,asking for a photo, and basically saying that they do not recall going out onto the balcony (these viewings have been going on for months now, sometimes two or three a week so doubt they could remember every occasion!). I have actually witnessed them going onto the balcony however when I have been present, and we have returned home on several occasions to find the door handle only partially closed, so they have obviously shown people out there when we have not been in.

Sometimes they have also brought several people in at a time, and on one occasion, the agent was stood in the hall whilst a couple went out onto the balcony, so he has not supervised everyone permanently.

Anyway, I have just emailed back saying we do not use the door and that I have personally seen them go outside and we have found evidence of the door handle not being closed on several occasions.

Just wondering if anyone can tell me where we stand on this - neither party has evidence and we are positive we have not caused the damage. Can we do anything to stop them taking this out of our deposit when we leave?

specialsubject Wed 17-Apr-13 15:21:32

raise it with your landlord. I know that my agent lied to me (I was a landlord) in the face of strong evidence to the contrary so it does happen.

(they forced a lock and snapped the key off in it, then blamed someone else who we KNOW did not not have a key...)

your deposit should be in a protected scheme. You can raise a dispute if this comes up and then it is for the landlord to prove. Unfortunately the landlord will probably lose out as the agency will continue to lie, but that's how it is.

rtc8608 Wed 17-Apr-13 16:30:30

Thanks for the response.

We have never had any dealings with the landlord so I will have to see if we have ever been given their details.

We do have a deposit protection scheme but was hoping not to have to go down the route of a dispute at the end of the tenancy.

The agent has been awful to deal with all the way through our tenancy - really can't wait to move out and buy a house!

I think I will be writing a letter of complaint regarding the numerous other issues we have experienced (and will copy in the landlord if I can source their address). Hopefully this will illustrate just how many problems (and lies!) we have experienced throughout.

mrsminiverscharlady Wed 17-Apr-13 16:35:55

I think I'm right in saying that they don't actually have any legal right to show prospective tenants around until after you've left. Based on what's happened to the curtain and your other issues I'd be inclined to withdraw permission to enter the apartment until after your tenancy has ended on the basis that you are concerned about liability for any damage they or viewers may cause.

rtc8608 Wed 17-Apr-13 17:11:08

I think it is stated in our tenancy agreement (which DP appears to have filed away somewhere) that they can access the property.

They are supposed to send us an email to advise although they have been a couple of times that we know of without notifying us - once when we were about to sit down to dinner which we were not impressed about. The email also says that they will call to advise before they come, which they have never done either. Other times they have said they're coming so we have spent extra time tidying/cleaning for them not to turn up.

It really is inconvenient - I find myself thinking, I'd better not get in the shower when I'm in on my own or I might come out of the bathroom to find that they've let themselves in!

I will definitely have a look and see what's mentioned in our tenancy agreement re visits - they haven't replied to my email yet from this morning so guessing they are still looking for a way out!

mrsminiverscharlady Wed 17-Apr-13 17:21:16

Just because it's in the tenancy agreement doesn't mean that it is lawful. Might be worth giving Shelter a ring and see if they can advise. smile

specialsubject Wed 17-Apr-13 17:38:17

you are legally entitled to the contact details of your landlord. The agent has 28 days to give you those details. Ask now.

get on the phone, emails are too easy to ignore.

nocake Wed 17-Apr-13 21:25:27

Keep records of all your communication with the agent in case you need to raise a dispute over the deposit.

queenofthepirates Wed 17-Apr-13 21:37:49

I would suggest a strongly worded email to explain you will not be opening the door unless 24 hours' notice is given for viewings unless by prior arrangement. You should be making the property available for viewings (that's quite legal) but at your discretion. If they are twunking around, you can legitimately refuse on the grounds they are showing people round when you're not there.

rtc8608 Thu 18-Apr-13 09:13:50

Thanks for the help everyone.

Yes, nocake, that's the reason I have been communicating via email. We have had problems before when phoning. Usually the person 'dealing with it' is not available or whoever answers tries to blame another member of staff - we had one instance where we were over a month without hot water due to a broken time clock. Each person we spoke to said a colleague was dealing with it, or 'oh, hasn't that been sorted yet?'

Their contractors appear to be just as bad - it took three sets of them, and five visits to fix the time clock when DP had told them exactly what the issue was (he is an electrician). He even told them the part number needed and it was still too difficult although I suspect the agents didn't bother to pass on the info!

Luckily DP did a temporary fix on it so we could at least get hot water when we wanted it without relying on the time clock. No idea what we would have done otherwise! It got to the stage where he said he would fix it himself and send them the bill and then it was miraculously sorted the next day!

Anyway, I have now written a complaint letter that reads over 6 pages of issues we have had over the 2 years we have been here. I suspect it may increase even further by the time we leave!

PigletJohn Thu 18-Apr-13 10:33:21

They do not have the right to let themselves into your home

They do not have the right to let themselves into your home if they give you notice

They do not have the right to let themselves into your home if they put it in the tenancy agreement.

GrandPoohBah Thu 18-Apr-13 14:46:52

PigletJohn is right, you have a statutory right to 'quiet enjoyment'. It supersedes anything written into your contract. Tell them that you do not give permission for anyone to access the property while you're living there, and they will be breaking the law if they come in.

And write to your landlord (their address might be on the front of your AST) telling them exactly why they might have a void month due to your not trusting the agent.

Jaskla Thu 18-Apr-13 15:20:16

I have just got a reply from the person who has conducted most of the viewings.

Basically he says that he has personally not seen a viewer cause the damage and there is also no evidence that we do not use the door. Finally we have the opportunity to dispute any costs at check out with the deposit protection agency.

We also have another email saying there will be another viewing tomorrow at 3.15 (when neither of us will be at home).

I am inclined to reply stating that we no longer permit them to access the property whilst we are living there in order to prevent any more damage occurring.

DP has taken all the paperwork and filed it at his parents' house due to us not having much space so I will have to wait until we next visit (probably the weekend) to get hold of the AST. I will definitely be writing to the Landlord to advise them of what has been going on so if there is an issue with the deposit and they end up losing out, they will be aware for future.

Is there anywhere I can get the details of our legal rights in case they come back and say they can legally enter? I have had a look online but can't seem to find anything. Might have to ask my cousin - she has a Law degree so might have details.

Jaskla Thu 18-Apr-13 15:24:18

Also, I have just found on their FAQ section of the website re accessing the property:

'There is no legal requirement on you to be present at any time when we need to access your property and unfortunately, you cannot refuse entry on this basis so long as notice has been given to you.'

Obviously they are going to come back with this kind of response so I want to make sure I am armed with all the facts!

Jaskla Thu 18-Apr-13 15:24:46

By the way, I am the OP - forgot about the name change!

GrandPoohBah Thu 18-Apr-13 22:07:14

That's absolute rubbish, you have a right to quiet enjoyment - the only right they have to access is for emergency repair.

More info here:

Advice

Also, try the shelter website.

specialsubject Thu 18-Apr-13 22:35:13

you've got an illegal clause in your tenancy. Take no prisoners!

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