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What to do? Estate agent changing contract. Due to move in on Monday!!

(11 Posts)
DragonLiteMyFire Sat 04-Jul-15 14:58:09

Advice needed.

Viewed a nice flat 3 weeks ago, offer put in and accepted same day. Moving in date agreed to be this Monday. £££ Tenancy fees paid. Asked them to sort out a few things that were potentially unsafe for toddler DC.

After some delays with the references the contracts sent out on Wednesday. Called them on Thursday to confirm all issues were sorted before signing contract and after a million emails, messages, etc between the agent, the letting team and head office (it's almost impossible to speak with the same person) I was told that apparently the estate agent didn't tell the maintenance team about fallen/broken garden fence (you can walk straight through to neighbours garden) and living room blinds which are a strangulation hazard still there....
Not ideal but nothing I can resolve before Monday. They said if the contracts weren't signed and money paid by 3pm yesterday would loose all money already paid and property would go back on the market immediately. No offer to delay moving in date.

So contracts signed at lunchtime yesterday, time for key handover confirmed, about to book removal van, buy boxes, etc.

The agent emails me just before 4pm to say the landlord can't agree to a 24 month contract with 18 month break clause because of his mortgage T&Cs. It now needs to be 12 months with a 6 month break clause.
Apparently he won't increase the rent on renewal and has no problems with us staying there for longer but that's no guarantee to me when the rent goes up by 20% next year and I don't have a leg to stand on! Would also have to pay the agency's expensive contract renewal fees.

Spoke with the agent and he said he would speak with the lettings team to put an amendment in the contract waiving the renewal fees.
No such thing was on the new contract. Just very pushy email saying they needed the contracts signed ASAP.

Couldn't get hold of the agent so emailed the lettings team to ask what happened. They emailed back this morning saying that as the landlord could only agree to 12 months the contract would stay as it is.

So, should I accept this? It has taken ages to find a suitable place (although I've been looking mainly near my childminder as I work late on the day I need her).

I'm also worried if I pull out they'll refuse to give me all my money back and that I won't ever find a place to live (have been looking since April).
I'm trying to leave EA marriage so keen to move ASAP.

However I won't be able to afford another deposit if landlord decides to chuck us out after 6 months.

specialsubject Sat 04-Jul-15 15:12:41

big agencies are often the domain of idle hair-flickers and incompetents. Demand to speak to the chief hair-flicker and also demand the contact details of the landlord. Then make sure he/she is advised of all this incompetence.

the mortgage thing is unfortunately true, and is something else our asleep at the wheel politicians don't notice.

temporary solutions:

re the garden: when you speak to the chief hair-flicker, make sure that the fence repair is put high on the list. Follow up in writing, recorded delivery.
meantime it is supervision which I'm sure you do anyway.

re the blinds; if you want to keep them in place, roll up the blind cord and secure it at the top with a clothes peg. Also check that there are no loops in between the vertical 'slats'; if there are, open the blind so all the slats are together (hard to describe!) and again secure with clothes pegs. All the landlord needs to do is have the cord secured to the wall so it is kept taut.

you get your deposit back when you leave (if no damage of course, wear and tear not relevant) so that's not an issue. Do make sure you get the 'prescribed information' about deposit protection.

do you really live somewhere where landlords can put up the rent by 20% and tenants accept that?

mandy214 Sat 04-Jul-15 15:13:26

So does the contract you have signed have the terms you want? I'm a bit lost!

DragonLiteMyFire Sat 04-Jul-15 20:57:59

Sorry for not coming back earlier - park and dinner time!
Thank you so much for your replies. You made me smile specialsubject
mandy214 I signed the contract I wanted (24 months with 18 month break clause). They voided that and want me to sign a new one for 12 months with a 6 month break clause.
Have to go but will be back in a bit.

specialsubject Sat 04-Jul-15 21:09:30

park and dinner more urgent! Nothing happens on Sundays so you've got time to think.

DragonLiteMyFire Sat 04-Jul-15 21:45:49

Right, so crying meltdown resolved and baby safely in bed!

I'm trying to think of the best way to move forward.
I'll need to email them something as telephone calls seem to be pointless.

Do you think it's too demanding to write something saying happy to proceed if contract includes a clause stating rent won't be increased if contract is renewed and agency will waive their renewal fees. If this is not possible then offer will be withdrawn and request a full refund including all agency admin fees. And cc it to head office.
They're managing agents so I don't have landlord's address (apparently he has lived abroad for many years).

Btw the flat was under offer a few months ago but the proposed tenants never moved in (apparently change in circumstances but who knows what tricks the agents tried to pull...).

specialsubject Sat 04-Jul-15 22:01:11

the landlord has to have a contact address, and they do know it. I rented out a house while I was abroad and was perfectly contactable.

phone agents, keep talking until you have a resolution and then follow up in writing. And your approach seems entirely reasonable. Hope it works.

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Sat 04-Jul-15 22:05:57

If the initial contract with the terms you wanted was signed, how can they breal it?

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Sat 04-Jul-15 22:06:36

If the initial contract with the terms you wanted was signed, how can they break it?

DragonLiteMyFire Sat 04-Jul-15 22:16:16

Have no idea two. They sent it electronically to be signed. I'm guessing the landlord took a look at his copy and said no. Which is crazy considering my offer was approved 3 weeks ago angry
Or it was never going to happen but they wanted to put me in a position where I couldn't say no angryangry

DragonLiteMyFire Sat 04-Jul-15 22:19:56

Thanks special. I'm due to collect the keys at 12:00, do inventory, get keys in and the fine home and tell STBXH I'm leaving. Then pack all day Tuesday and move on Thursday....
Could really do without all this!

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