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inbigtrouble
10-11-2005, 20:06 PM
Hello,
Iam a landlord, i have a property in london,i live outside london , i gave my property to a letting agency in june2005, i was anxious to let my property qucikly since i have remortgaged the property.This agency contacted me from the newspaper ad i put in. I was told that there is a tenant ready to move in and we got the ball rolling. We got the details of AST for six months by email. We got one month advance and one month security deposit by the letting agent also was firmly told by the letting agent that the tenant does not want any interaction with the landlord and the letting agent will manage the tenant. The agent gave us the assurity that they have the refrences of the tenant.
The first three months rent from june2005 to Aug 2005 were paid by the letting agent in my bank account. During these three months whenever we passed our house it seemed there in noone living in the house but we were not worried since we were paid our rent by letting agent.
In sept 2005 i got a phone call from our previous neighbours saying that Ballifs or police broke into the house. Next morning when i contacted my letting agent to ask if there were any problems ,also realized through my bank statements that i was not paid rent for that month, my letting agent told me that yes there are problems as the ppl who rented that property were growing weed (drugs) in the house. The police had already disconnected the gas and electric and consficated the keys for the house.
We obviously got very worried and started to phone the agency to tell us whats happening and when are we going to get our rent for sept 2005. But they never returned our phone calls i went there personally twice to there office and the reception told me that the agent handling my property is out of town for 6 weeks. after 6 weeks of waiting i went there by chance and got hold of the letting agent who also is the director of the letting agency.
He told me that this all happened while he was away and now he is going to sort out everything and will pay the rent. He paid me last months rent which was sept2005 there and he promised me to pay oct2005 rent next week.
After 2 weeks i phone the agency to find out if they have sent my rent. I was told by another director of the letting agency that there will be no money owing to me and come and collect the keys. I went there and collected my keys with one months rent still owing. When i saw the house which i was going to let to another agency i was shocked to see the state of the house as there were big holes in the ceilings in every room of the house in total 7 holes. Fitted wardrobes were removed and broken. There was soil and plant parts on the new carpets. hundereds of nails in the ceiling and walls all over the house. I took pictures of the house and went back to the agency. The person handling my property was out of the country again for 6 weeks and the other director told me that because it was a AST and not were not managing the property so they are not responsible for any damages and rent. She told me that i should get everything from the tenants who noone knows where he is? I got hold of the file of my property from their office and looked into it. Every paper looked forged there are only two references they are holding of the tenant which are merely 2 household bills. Dated march 2004 and forged in tenants name which a 12 yr old child can see that they are forged. Plz tell me where i stand as i am on the verge of loosing my house if i cant relet it to another agent in this condition and i havent recieved any payments for 3 months.My AST ends on 6th dec 2005.
LOOKING FORWARD TO ANY ADVICE.

mjpl
10-11-2005, 20:52 PM
There are too many questions and the story is a little convoluted.

I suggest you look at the terms of your agreement with the agent to identify if they have broken any of the terms. If so, take legal action against them, this will have more chance of success than pursuing the tenants.

In the meantime, please can you post again, BUT, break down your story into defined questions that the members can answer for you.

MrShed
10-11-2005, 20:54 PM
OK can you please sum up your problem in some short to the point bullet points. I've tried reading that and it just hurts my eyes.

inbigtrouble
10-11-2005, 21:12 PM
thanks for replying so promplty the main problems are

Q1. If the tenant does not pay the letting agency does the agency still liable to pay us the rent? (the tenant only wanted to contact the agency not us)

Q2. Who is liable for repairs of the house? as tenant ran away

Q3. Verbally the agent agreed to pay us the rent and fix the house as it was given to him initally but there is no written proof. (he didnt pay us the rent and he just cleaned the house didnt fix the structural damages)

dazalock
10-11-2005, 21:22 PM
So you have the keys back and have entered the property, there is no one there and no possessions left? Can we therefore assume that you have regained possession of your property, but this is in no way certain if the tenant comes back on the radar. I have little advice for you other than try and sue the agent through the courts if you feel they have failed in thier obligations.

I would like to make these observations however:

1. A empty property is better than a bad tenant, wait for one!

2. I NEVER respond to agents responding to my adverts.

3. If you use a agent, shop round for good rates and gain assurance from accreditation membership or references.

4. YOU stipulate that you WILL be involved with the tenant, numerous problems arise on these boards where the agent fails to contact the LL. If something goes wrong, the tenant will take YOU to court not the agent.

5. Its not your home, its a business asset.

6.. If things are so tight that you cant weather storms like this, Im afraid you need out of this business.

dazalock
10-11-2005, 21:26 PM
We crossed posts



thanks for replying so promplty the main problems are

Q1. If the tenant does not pay the letting agency does the agency still liable to pay us the rent? (the tenant only wanted to contact the agency not us)

The tenant is liable

Q2. Who is liable for repairs of the house? as tenant ran away

The tenant is liable

Q3. Verbally the agent agreed to pay us the rent and fix the house as it was given to him initally but there is no written proof. (he didnt pay us the rent and he just cleaned the house didnt fix the structural damages)

Whats the question, the tenant is liable for all these failings, the agent is liable for anything in your terms of contract with him, which will probably not include any tenant failings. This is what your deposit if for

MrShed
10-11-2005, 21:27 PM
thanks for replying so promplty the main problems are

Q1. If the tenant does not pay the letting agency does the agency still liable to pay us the rent? (the tenant only wanted to contact the agency not us)

No. Unless you have rent guarantee insurance, which I doubt, as if you did you would know about it.

Q2. Who is liable for repairs of the house? as tenant ran away

You.

Q3. Verbally the agent agreed to pay us the rent and fix the house as it was given to him initally but there is no written proof. (he didnt pay us the rent and he just cleaned the house didnt fix the structural damages)


These are the answers to your questions....sorry they are not better news. But as dazalock has outlined, there are extra issues than the questions you have raised, but he seems to have dealt with them :D

inbigtrouble
10-11-2005, 21:30 PM
Dear dazalock it think that i havent explained things well.

The tenants were drug dealers who were growing drugs (weed) in the whole house. Nobody at anytime was living there. We were told by our agent that the tenant does not want any interaction or communication with the landlord. Hence the agent will be managing the place on the tenants behalf as they are getting paid by the tentants as well.
The police raided the house because the neighbours reported suspicous activities. The tenants ran away. The agents regained access in the property and never informed anything to us.

inbigtrouble
10-11-2005, 21:33 PM
I was told by the agent to use the deposit for the one month rent not paid as he will arrange to pay us the other months rent later and we dont have to worry about the deposit because he is going to fix the house.he has defaulted on both promises.

dazalock
10-11-2005, 21:34 PM
Sorry, but I stand by my comments, you are the LL and ultimately responsible. Regardless of the activities of the tenants, which you could use for grounds of repossession, you need to control your agents activities, he works for you remember, and if he doesnt fullfill his obligations, you can sack him, compain to a regulating body or sue him if you feel he has broken a term in his terms of business.

MrShed
10-11-2005, 21:37 PM
You obviously do have an agreement with your agent then. However, it would need to be a specific verbal contract, like "I will pay you the rent by such and such etc". You cannot sue for a broken promise, only for a broken contract, whether this is verbal or written. If you DID have a verbal contract, which without knowing exactly what was said it is difficult to ascertain, you could sue him. HOWEVER, being in the right is a big step from PROVING you are in the right, and it would be very difficult to prove in court, especially as both promises are generally over and above what agents do. You will certainly have a difficult time proving about the repairs, as yes agents will do the repairs for you, but you will be charged for them....you would struggle to prove he said he would pay for them, as you havent even told us he said that :D

inbigtrouble
10-11-2005, 21:39 PM
One more thing i wanted to tell you is that i have gained the file from the agents of my property. In that file the refrences are fake. The have 2 different names on one of the household bills. the names are actually stamped on the bills. There is no other reference on the file. Dosent that make the agent liable for not doing proper reference checks. They charged us £800 for this service. So can we atleast expose them to watch dog and newspaper.
I am also considering the fact that the agent might be involved in that drug gang by looking at the references.

MrShed
10-11-2005, 21:42 PM
Three points:

- I would be very careful about anything you say with regards a specific agent....not saying you are yet, but libel and slander lead to big bucks claims!

- I think you are taking the problem with the agents rather personally, as shown by your hypothesising, almost certainly with no basis, as to their involvment in illegal activities. We often see accusations flying around about agents activities during agent complaints, and they nearly always come down to one of two things: the landlord not understanding fully their position, or the agents being ignorant and hence negligent.

- If the agent did not carry out the credit checks properly, then they would, I believe, be liable. If it is stated in the contract (yours with them), in writing, that they will carry out credit checks, and only a tenant passing these will be allowed to rent.

Jennifer_M
10-11-2005, 21:46 PM
I was told by the agent to use the deposit for the one month rent not paid as he will arrange to pay us the other months rent later and we dont have to worry about the deposit because he is going to fix the house.he has defaulted on both promises.

Why would an agent pay out of his own pocket any rent due and pay for repairs ?

inbigtrouble
10-11-2005, 21:52 PM
Thankyou very much all of you who have taken time to atleast give me some points to think about. It was great help. I think mr shed is right in saying that i have taken it personally . I shouldnt say that he is involved in also. This is my first property as a landlord and they were my first tenants so i virtually have no experience maybe thats y i am thinking a bit negative.
I think i can only try to chase the agent and get what ever i can from him and get a new agent and tenant.

MrShed
10-11-2005, 21:57 PM
Dont get me wrong, I dont blame you for taking it personally...it is hard not to. But hence the benefit of this forum....more rational points from people not emotionally involved :D

I think you are right....get a new agent and new tenant, and just put it down to a bad experience, write off the losses. When looking for a new agent, do not go with anyone who contacts you....a good agent does not need to cold call for customers. Try and get one that is a member of a professional body, such as ARLA or NAEA, in order to have at least some form of recourse if the worst should happen.

Or of course you could take the plunge and manage it yourself :D

inbigtrouble
10-11-2005, 21:59 PM
to jenifer M,
I know that is what many ppl have asked me but as i told u in my first post he has paid me one months rent out of personal account after the police raid and has promised me to give me rest of the rent and fix the house. But the only problem is that i cant get hold of him as his staff said that he has gone away for 6 weeks.

inbigtrouble
10-11-2005, 22:02 PM
What if i give it to the council. The rent is a bit lower than the market but i think is the safest option. or is it?

MrShed
10-11-2005, 22:05 PM
What do you mean "give it to the council"???

inbigtrouble
10-11-2005, 22:07 PM
I meant letting it to a Local Housing/Council Authorities. They do a five year contract with the landlord. :D

MrShed
10-11-2005, 22:10 PM
Oh did not know you could do that! lol

Well, I personally disagree. Although I am sure people will disagree with me, and I certainly do not wish to stereotype all local authority tenants, they are in my opinion generally not a demographic you would put high on your list of wanted tenants. I believe the safest way actually is to do a bit of research, swot up on the law, and take the plunge and manage it yourself. Saves you some money, gains you some experience, and allows you to be totally hands on.

dazalock
10-11-2005, 22:10 PM
Go to a reputable agent first and ask for a valuation. They are not all bad, dont lose heart, but if you goto a housing association expect to get very low income and forget about the house for 3 years, it may bring a tear to your eye!

inbigtrouble
10-11-2005, 22:17 PM
As i live in norfolk and my property is in east london i cant do it myself. and i am not very good at DIY. :D
I will be very happy if i rent my property for 5yrs if i will get the assurity of getting rent every month by direct debit :D

RichieP
11-11-2005, 14:10 PM
It depends which local authority you go with. My flat's in Wandsworth. They helpfully find you tenants but they don't pay market rent or manage the flat for you. Do you think I'm going to accept less than it's worth and take the risk of them giving me their difficult tenants? No ta!
However, Southwark pay market rent and manage the property.

Tax Accountant
11-11-2005, 15:22 PM
As i live in norfolk and my property is in east london i cant do it myself. and i am not very good at DIY. :D
I will be very happy if i rent my property for 5yrs if i will get the assurity of getting rent every month by direct debit :D

(1) Which Housing association are you thinking of letting your property to ?

(2) I live well away from London, am not good at DIY, do not have the time to sort out ongoing maintenance problems. I heve specifically bought ex-local authority flats (and 1 house) in London and let them all to a Housing Association since last 3 years. There are advantages and dis-advantages.

Advantages:
(1) Get reasonably good rent. I consider these to be market value rent.
(2) No void periods in between tenancies
(3) No agents commission to pay
(4) Possible renewal of contract for a further 3 or 5 years
(5) Rent by Bank credit into my bank account like clockwork so I know that all loan repayments will be paid on time.
(6) HA is willing to arrange all repair work done. They will contact the workmen and the tenants and all I have to do is to pay the contractor's bill plus HA's 10% handling fee based on cost of each job. I do not have the worry of finding the workmen, liasing with the tenant and getting the work done.

Dis-advantages:

(1) I am still responsible for all repairs and maintenance. I pay approx £17pm to their nominated contractor for all gas maintenance and safety certificates work. I consider this good value for money. However, all other work, eg plumbing, electrical etc is notified to me if I want to do it myself or to authorise then to get it done through their regular contractors. these bills could be expensive (£100 to £200), but remember we are talking about London and also remember that you do not pay any commission to agents. the money saved on commissions is more than the cost of repair bills required to a property.

(2) Rent reviews are included in the contract but may not be much, if anything at all. However, may be this is due to the present rental market.

Overall conclusion:

I would have no hesitation to give to a Housing association so long as you are happy with the initial rent offered to you.

It is better to own a freehold house than a leasehold flat, especially an ex-local authority flat. These flats have some major works bills for the owners for work done by the freeholders, usually local councils.

I hope this helps.

Ramnik