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BokinUK
06-12-2005, 09:32 AM
I’ve just rented a flat which is ‘managed’ by the landlady / owner and would appreciate some pointers on how to handle situation and make sure I cover myself legally.

An agency handled the viewing of the property and contract signing. They then gave me the keys and a letter stating they did not manage the property (I’d enjoyed dealing with them, they were very good). The letter has the landlady’s postal address and mobile number.

I’ve signed the contract, don’t have a copy of it (yet), as landlady wasn’t present at signing. She’s also ducked out of meeting me at the flat (twice) for an inventory / introduction. She won’t give he her email address and I HATE talking to her on the phone – she’s rush rush rush gotto go dhaarling – and this flusters me. At present we’re sms’ing each other. There are huge discrepancies as to what the agency said and she says - i.e. Agency: This is a fully furnished flat, all electrical appliances are insured. Landlady: (washing machine not working) The flat was rented as unfurnished, the agents are SO stupid (yet the machine was replaced). I don’t have her banking details so I sms’d her requesting them. She replies stating the agents should have provided them.

This is all very silly. I’ve been renting for quite a while and have an excellent reference from my previous landlord. Bar this erratic and slippery Landlady, I’m very happy with this place and want to stay.

My questions are: Who do I approach for a copy of the contract: Agents or Landlady? How do I protect myself with regards the lack of an inventory and no physical examination of the state of the property by both myself and the landlady together? As to no banking details: I will write to her via snailmail formally requesting them. (she’s referred me back to the agents for this and a number of other things, and quite frankly, they’ve done their job, and have no further responsibility managing this property). Should I cut through all of this hoo ha and just get someone to represent me – an attorney? (I can afford it and would be HAPPY to pay).

MrShed
06-12-2005, 09:37 AM
OK my thoughts:

- I wouldnt worry too much about pushing for the inventory, the inventory is there purely to protect the landlord. If she doesnt get round to it then she can make no deductions from your deposit.

- If appliances are supplied then the landlord is obliged to ensure they are in working condition, furnished or otherwise - there is no legal difference between furnished and unfurnished.

- With regards a copy of the AST, I would approach both - if the agents were the ones who dealt with the signing, they should have supplied you with a copy there and then.

- You have nothing to sue her for so how would retaining legal advisors help??

Ericthelobster
06-12-2005, 09:56 AM
I wouldnt worry too much about pushing for the inventory, the inventory is there purely to protect the landlord. If she doesnt get round to it then she can make no deductions from your deposit.Agreed, but if she's daft enough not to know this, as seems to be the case, you can bet your life that ultimately she will still make deductions from the deposit, which will put the onus on Mr Bonking to have to recover it, with all the associated legal hassle that will involves. So in practice, I'd say that an accurate inventory is actually for the benefit of both LL and tenant.

This LL is clearly meant to be managing the property, but I who is responsible for preparing and checking the inventory? I would have thought that would be part and parcel of the process of finding and providing a tenant; ie the agent's responsibilty. No doubt it will be clarified in the agent's T&C which the LL will have, though.

MrShed
06-12-2005, 10:02 AM
Eric:

- You are of course correct with what you say about the deposit, however, it isnt much hassle when its a complete no brainer as to who would win the claim at the end of the day - the landlord would have no leg to stand on, all the poster would have to do is turn up. And, without sounding as if I am unethical, I personally would be quite happy if a landlord did not do a inventory, as I could get away with any accidental damage I did during my tenancy.

- I personally would not agree with you with regards the agent being responsible for the inventory - what is the point in the agent doing the initial "check in" inventory, if they will not be the ones doing the "check out" check? And regardless this is way beyond the scope of "finding" a tenant. However, as you rightly say, this will all depend on individual contracts.

Ericthelobster
06-12-2005, 10:07 AM
I personally would not agree with you with regards the agent being responsible for the inventory - what is the point in the agent doing the initial "check in" inventory, if they will not be the ones doing the "check out" check? And regardless this is way beyond the scope of "finding" a tenant. However, as you rightly say, this will all depend on individual contracts.Just my personal experience from using an agent to find my first-ever tenant - I self-managed the tenancy, but the agent did the check-in inventory and passed the paperwork on to me for the check-out a couple of years later; wasn't a problem. I've never used an agent since; that was just one experience.

BokinUK
06-12-2005, 10:27 AM
Thks MrShed, your first two points bring some clarity to the situation.

> With regards a copy of the AST
I did a google on the AST and I found this - www.letlink.co.uk/Facts/Lfacts19.htm
“The Original would generally be issued to the tenant and the Counterpart would be either retained by the agent or issued to the landlord. All parties should sign the agreement …” As the Landlady wasn’t present when I signed, I assume the agent has sent her original to sign. Should I write to the agents requesting the original?

> You have nothing to sue her for …
No (lol), but there are some things I’d like to do to her … I think I used the wrong terminology. I’m wading through the unknown here, maybe for my level of ‘problems’ this forum is the ideal place and I should handle this myself.

Any thoughts on the lack of banking details?

BokinUK
06-12-2005, 10:30 AM
Ericthelobster thanks for your input - I need to think about what you've said. By the way, it's BokinUK (Bok in UK) not bonking :D

MrShed
06-12-2005, 10:32 AM
- Bank details: sorry you mean her bank details? Cant see where youve talked about them. What was the agreed method of payment?

- My comment about the legal thing was more because at least so far the landlord is only really harming herself :p

- AST: The agent should have signed the AST, as they are an agent for the landlord they can sign on her behalf, and should have done were they to be conducting the signing. In fact, it is almost useless to have you sign it, let them take it away and sign at a later date and then return a copy to you, as in this time they could very easily change some of the terms.

BokinUK
06-12-2005, 10:45 AM
... the landlord is only really harming herself. As long as I'm covered. :cool:


... The agent should have signed the AST ... I'll write to them and request the original.


Bank details: sorry you mean her bank details?... I don’t have her banking details so I sms’d her requesting them. She replies stating the agents should have provided them.

MrShed
06-12-2005, 10:49 AM
But if the agent hasnt supplied them, what on earth is the problem in her just giving you them??? Presumably the agreement is to pay by standing order? This woman really should have gotten her property managed!

BokinUK
06-12-2005, 11:00 AM
This woman really should have gotten her property managed! Ha ha :p - it's been a strange experience. She flattened me when I asked for her email address "I don't usually give it out" she says ... :confused: ... not even for business? Well why have one?

The agents did tell me a standing order was required. I'll write to her requesting the account details.

MrShed
06-12-2005, 11:05 AM
To be honest, she doesnt sound like a bad sort, she just seems to be well out of her depth! Explain to her that until you get the bank details you wont be able to pay her rent, that will make her move her arse!

PaulF
06-12-2005, 11:16 AM
- AST: The agent should have signed the AST, as they are an agent for the landlord they can sign on her behalf, and should have done were they to be conducting the signing. In fact, it is almost useless to have you sign it, let them take it away and sign at a later date and then return a copy to you, as in this time they could very easily change some of the terms.
This is utterly wrong and should be ignored! Agents CANNOT just sign on landlord's behalf without an express authority; i.e. it cannot be an implied authority granted to the agent!

MrShed
06-12-2005, 11:17 AM
Would such an express authority not be in the terms of business in the contract? I have a long history of renting from letting agents, and not once have I ever met the landlord, and certainly not during signing the AST.