This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Appalling treatment by the agent(8 Posts)
I rent a room in a 3-bed flat in suburban part of London. It's a nice room, though the flat itself could use some updates. The landlord apparently lives abroad so it's 'maintained' by an agent. I've heard nothing but bad things about the agent from the former housemates and the people that live downstairs.
My rent is all inclusive. When I moved in I was never provided with an inventory or shown where things are such as gas metre box etc. I've been here 10 months now and it's generally a great place to live. Last weekend, however, I had an issue where the gas hob wasn't switching on correctly and a bleeping noise was coming from the kitchen but I couldn't ID where. Main problem was the gas wasn't switching initially, but then kind of accumulated and leapt forward, which seemed dangerous. They ignored emails and calls until I insisted they come in today to check things. The gas was OK in the end as it was apparently because something had come off the hob and the beeping was the carbon monoxide detector low on battery.
I asked while he was here if they could send me evidence of last time the annual gas safety check took place. This seed to really annoy him and he said that obviously everything works perfectly and is safe. I said but it's a legal requirement and he was I was wrong. I asked whose responsibility it is then and he said it's not there's they just manage things related to the property as the landlord lives abroad (I have never been given any info about the landlord.) I said well what do you do if you're claiming nothing is your responsibility? He totally lost it at this point and started shouting at me. Stomped out of the house and slammed the door hard on me. I was left totally shaken and upset. I'm on my own at the moment, in my 20s, and his outburst left me in tears.
I know the easiest solution would be to move out but I'm not in financial situation (due to Covid) where I can at the moment. I feel like this behaviour was totally unprofessional though & is worthy of a complaint. I don't know if it's worth complaining to the agent since they all shit in the same pot.
I'm feeling furious and upset though. My upset aside, I'm really not comfortable with there never being any safety checks on the house. Earlier this year a pipe burst because it was so worn down. It flooded the flat downstairs. My housemate had to pay for an emergency plummer costing over 1k and the agency refused to refund it as its 'the land lords problem, not theirs.' I would understand that if we were allowed contact with the landlord, but we aren't so presumably it's the agency's job to maintain the property on behalf of the landlord.
Where is the best place to take this to?
Oh, to top all this off the wanker left the gas on (but not lit) when he stormed off.
I never understand how little people research something such as renting when they're taking it on as a big commitment! Don't bother Shelter as PP has suggested - they're busy helping people in much more dire situations. I'd suggest you google the government's guide to renting and take it from there. It'll be more comprehensive than the answers you will get here.
Is landlord part of ARLA?
Also check Citizens Advice website under their housing section. They have a long list of what are legal requirements.
Is it an HMO?
Your local council should have a private renting department that offer advice. If it is an HMO or otherwise licensed by the council they will have more standards for the landlord to adhere to.
I found the following info on the Gas Safety Register site at:
"Whether you’re renting from a private landlord, the council, a housing association or any other type of landlord, they should provide you with your own copy of this record within 28 days of the check being completed. New tenants just starting a tenancy should also be given a copy of the latest record.
If you don’t have a current copy of the Gas Safety Record (sometimes called a tenant Gas Safety Certificate), ask your landlord to provide this. If they’re unable to do so, you can report them to the HSE. Failure to follow gas safety requirements and uphold tenant gas rights is a criminal offence and the HSE can issue a formal caution and may prosecute your landlord."
There is also the direct link to a form on the HSE website to report and agent/landlord which can be reached on the above website link.
I have agents manage two of my properties. They have the power to get work done and retain some money to do this. If it's an extraordinary cost they do ask for authorisation from me.
Managers are the proxy for the landlord. They should provide you with all documents: certificates and where your deposit has been banked. What lease did you sign? It should have all responsibilities spelt out, yours and the landlords, plus contact details for the landlord or agents acting on their behalf.
Im not sure of your contractual position as you rent a room. Anyway, of course you should be provided with a gas safety, electric safety (as of July), EPC, deposit protected. See more details on
In practice though, if the Agent is dodgy and not a member of ARLA, there is little you can do (without huge stress and financial outlay). Gather your housemates together and move on..