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an AIBU because I hate letting agencies more...

(14 Posts)
phoenixrisingeversoslowly Thu 26-Jan-17 21:28:37

Apologies in advance if this ends up a bit lengthy but so as not to drip feed will provide some detail. I'm hoping to get input from those of you who are reputable landlords - honest feedback please...

I'm a tenant in a property, have been here several years. Have always paid rent in full and on time, have treated the property well, not made any kind of trouble or complained about anything. I live alone with one young child, and spend most of the week at work, home life is fairly quiet and we rarely receive visitors - partly because the house is quite small (though sufficient for our needs).

I've had to make a complaint to the landlord about a number of things starting at the beginning of this month. One, my heating which his workmen broke was fixed - after 10 days living in a freezing cold house, my young child becoming ill and me having to take time off work. Another, the way the workmen entered the property without permission and trashed my home - I would like an apology for but realise this is unlikely to happen. I've told the landlord about nuisance neighbours on both sides (screaming couple, dogs barking incessantly) though acknowledged the latter are issues for me to handle.

Some things remain unfixed. The most important of these is the electrics behind a light switch seem very dodgy, you have to press the switch in a certain way and sometimes the light will come on or not, or flicker. I keep the light off because I'm worried about electrocution but then can't use the room well. There are about 9-10 other small matters, such as a blind that broke through wear and tear needs replacing, a door creates a hole in the wall every time it goes back against it - but the electrics is possibly the only one that causes me great concern.

I've asked for the electrics to be fixed as a minimum before I pay £10 extra as a rent raise this month, and going forward. i've paid rent as usual but so far withheld the raise.

The lettings agency are saying it is unreasonable of me to withhold the raise. It's only £10, but I've had so much hassle this month trying to get anything out of the landlord that for me it's the principle of the thing.

However it's occurred to me that if the agency charge a whopping fee for me withholding the £10 then they will be the only ones to benefit - and much as I find the landlord frustrating in his lack of care, I hate lettings agencies more especially ones that seem as sloppy (yet aggressive) as this one.

The lettings agency were quiet then seem to have jumped into the conversation when I mentioned withholding the £10 which is why it occurred to me they might stand to benefit and I can't stand the thought of that. I'd rather pay the landlord the £10 to be frank.

Opinions?

Needless to say, I am looking for somewhere else to go, and a better landlord. Obviously that also means I will need a reference (I don't want to buy due to life circumstances right now).

I'm worried given the landlord/agency behaviour that they might try to sting me when I leave, for things that really aren't my fault such as the hole in the wall caused by the poor build of the property and the way the door swings back against the wall. Is this the kind of thing that ends up in dispute resolution vis-a-vis deposits, would I have a leg to stand on?

wowfudge Thu 26-Jan-17 22:05:11

It is only £10, but withholding the rent puts you in breach of your tenancy agreement and could be grounds to evict you.

I suggest you compile a list of things which need doing and send it to the agency and the landlord. State when you reported the problem and what you would like to happen. For example - fit doorstop to stop handle of x room door hitting wall, fill dent and make good; fix faulty wiring to lighter have in your room and so on.

phoenixrisingeversoslowly Thu 26-Jan-17 22:23:24

Thanks wow - I did that, I wrote a detailed/itemised letter in clear, polite but firm language listing what had happened regarding each matter that needed attention and what I would like done about it.

I had already given the matters to the landlord verbally at the very start of the month, then also to one of his handymen mid-way through the month, and in writing to the handyman. nothing had happened hence the letter.

The letter that came back from the agency was very shoddy. I get the impression they didn't really even read my letter properly as got all sorts of things wrong that I had outline very clearly, which is frustrating.

If I got evicted, I guess that means I would find it hard to rent elsewhere so yes that is a concern. I've been a model tenant so far, am conscientious - so don't want to put myself in an insecure position because of these idiots. I can see how it might be best to pay but just look for somewhere else to live (at which point the next set of tenants have to deal with the idiots, but the agency still benefits from fees for their 'services').

It's really not in the agency's interests to treat me well at this point is it? If they detect I am upset and I leave, they get new fees from the landlord and new tenants, they become the winners. I don't want that.

5OBalesofHay Thu 26-Jan-17 22:31:42

I'm a landlord and I am also frustrated endlessly by how rubbish agents are. I always agree repairs. I trust them to do them then find out they haven't. They are money grabbers but I don't want phoning about issues with neighbours etc so use them. Tempted to sell up really

phoenixrisingeversoslowly Thu 26-Jan-17 22:49:31

50 in this case the heating didn't get fixed for 10 days and the plumbers made a real mess in my house - but their work was arranged by the landlord, so kept telling me that he was asking them to do stuff but they weren't. So I didn't know who to believe. In the end it was fixed, but we spent 10 days in freezing weather without heating or hot water and got ill which is why I'm now feeling cross.

Also when I called the landlord every single time I tried to talk, he talked over the top of me, told me all about his personal problems, his friends' problems, and tried to suggest I had caused the heating problems (which even the plumbers did not agree with - they had to replace a part). So.. he wasn't entirely respectful to me.

I haven't reported the neighbours issue until now, at which point I've already dealt with it. I've sat in the property for 3 years hearing 2 grown people scream (and I mean, really scream) at each other in a shocking way - over petty little things. With big bangs and thumps. Until I finally had enough and got the Police involved, and over the course of a year it stopped. I've made it really clear I'm not asking the landlord to do anything, but informed him because I think he should at least be aware even if just for future tenants.

The agents come across as bullies, and not very intelligent ones.

5OBalesofHay Thu 26-Jan-17 23:01:46

Sorry, didnt mean to offend you. I was just agreeing that agents are an issue.

RozzlePops Thu 26-Jan-17 23:06:21

So are these long standing issues that you have only this month put you your landlord in response to the rent increase?

phoenixrisingeversoslowly Thu 26-Jan-17 23:12:09

50 sorry if my reply was a little long there, I start typing and up writing essays! Not offended, just long-winded

Rozzle some things around the house are long-standing and I've only just listed all of them at once, one one letter. But I've specifically said that what I'd like to see is the electrics sorted out, and preferably 2 other important items fixed before I pay the rent increase - not all of it.

As a minimum, I basically don't want to be wondering whether I'm going to be electrocuted daily and feel it's reasonable to expect things like that to be looked at within a month of them reported.

The agency's response today was that they did an electrics check last September - seeming to suggest that therefore all the electrics in this house must be fine, despite me having reported there being a problem, 4 times this month in different ways so far.

user1471549018 Thu 26-Jan-17 23:29:37

Are you sure the light issue is electrics (if recently checked)? Could it just be the bulb? Also the blind and doorstop issue would only cost a few pounds to sort- is it really worth moving out (and the huge hassle and expense involved) because of small issues which all houses have? What do you expect your landlord to do about the neighbours?

I'm not saying you're wrong btw just that I'd rather replace a blind myself (and other small issues) than move house

PonderLand Thu 26-Jan-17 23:32:04

Is your letting agency called homesmart?

Sounds familiar.

Withholding the rent increase is only going to make your life harder. Though I do agree that you shouldn't have to pay more when you are getting less!
Start looking for a new place to live and do everything by the book in terms of your contractual agreement. Don't let them get your deposit as well shock

TreacleTreacleLittleStar Thu 26-Jan-17 23:37:31

Surely it's down to your Lettings Agency to fix repairs then bill your Landlord?? I've been privately renting for 17 years and every property I've had, it has worked like that?

TreacleTreacleLittleStar Thu 26-Jan-17 23:38:48

You need to speak to your local Housing Options team. They can liase with your Landlord/Lettings Agent regarding their legal responsibility to you. Particularly as you have a child x

phoenixrisingeversoslowly Fri 27-Jan-17 00:19:33

Thank you Treacle - well the landlord has always insisted I go direct to him for repairs, while the agency handles the contract/rent. But recently - including in this letter, they are really confusing matters, for example the landlord blaming the workmens' entry without permission on the agency and the agency seems to agree with that, and the agency now saying they will handle an electrician visiting next week. It is a bit confusing from my point of view but I don't really care who does repairs as long as they are actually done.

user the issue with the switch is that when you flick it to turn the light on, the light flashes then goes off. If you press your finger down on the switch a bit, it goes on, and sometimes by wiggling it just right you can get the light to stay on. But often it will strobe light flicker and/or go off again. So without technical skills I'd suggest the fault is the wiring behind the switch and someone I know who is a handyman said the same when he saw it. I can't have anyone other than the landlord's designated people fix it though so my friend can't do it.

Not expecting the landlord to do anything at all about the neighbours, I put in the letter that I was just keeping him informed, as it might also affect future tenants in the property (I mean, if I was renting a property and someone risked me losing my tenants because they were making their lives a misery, i would want to know, so that was my logic for doing so)

Points taken - so I withhold the rent, I just want things fixed, and no don't really want to move if I don't have to.

Ponder not homestart but I'm sure there is more than one dodgy agency out there..

wowfudge Fri 27-Jan-17 09:54:25

I think you are confusing some of the issues and making them sound bigger than they perhaps are. What damage did the boiler repair people cause.

I reiterate: do not withhold rent unless you are prepared to get evicted. Though withholding £10 is hardly likely to galvanise anyone into action.

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