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gabby71
06-04-2010, 21:34 PM
Hi

I have made an initial payment to a letting agent to cover finders fee, credit check etc...all has come back fine with that.
The problem I have is that i'm a bit worried about the condition the new property is in..
The are that I am moving to is very 'sought after' and houses are snapped up quickly, when I went for the first viewing of this property, there were tennants still living there and, to be honest, the house was filthy!, the letting agent advised that the house would be thoroughly cleaned by the tennants before they left, and if they did not do it properly then part of their bond would be witheld and professional cleaners brought in (which I would have been much happier with!!).
There is laminate flooring throughout - apart from the stairs, where the carpet was quite grubby.
I know that the tennants have now moved out, and I am due to move in on the 16th of this month, I asked the letting agent mid last week to arrange for a meeting at the property, with the landlord present, to inspect the property to check all is pristine, and also to see if he would help out in any way with the cost of re-decorating. I have had to chase for this, and so far, have not got an appointment - even thought i told the letting agent that I was off work today and tomorrow...
(I called to the property yesterday and looked through the windows - it had not been cleaned yet!!)
So, what I want to know is:
1) is the landlord 100% responsible for ensuring the property is spottlessly clean for my arrival
2) is he responsible for decorating before I move in - as the whole house needs painting (in my opinion) due to marks and discolouration of the walls
3) can I get the finders fee etc back from the letting agent if I am not completely happy with the condition of the house.
I am a working single mum - paying decent money for a decent home - I want it to be right!!!

Sorry to waffle on a bit - just want you to see the full picture :D

Lucy

mind the gap
06-04-2010, 22:06 PM
If you have anything in writing from the LL to say that the property will be pristine when you move in, then you can hold him to it. Otherwise, you may not be able to insist that he has professional cleaners in, although if he has any sense, he will do.

Your other option (apart from kicking up an almighty stink and threatening not to take the property - be careful - that could backfire on you!), is to move in but refuse to sign any inventory which tries to claim that the property is clean. Take lots of photos yourself on Day One and send copies of them to the LL via the agent with a declaration that they show the dirty state of the property on x date. Then if they still don't get professional cleaners in, you can either pay some yourself or do the cleaning yourself, but you will be under no obligation to do it at the other end of the tenancy when you move out. You only have to return the property in the same condition as it was when you moved in.

I suspect that if you back out now, you may lose your finder's fee. After all, they have found you a property, even if it is grubby. If you like the place and it's only the grime which puts you off, I would be getting the Marigolds out.

It may not come to this - the agent still has 10 days to get the cleaners organised - it has been a bank holiday, remember.

westminster
07-04-2010, 00:33 AM
So, what I want to know is:
1) is the landlord 100% responsible for ensuring the property is spottlessly clean for my arrival
2) is he responsible for decorating before I move in - as the whole house needs painting (in my opinion) due to marks and discolouration of the walls
If this is what you want then you must tell the agent that it's a condition of the letting, and get it in writing. If you don't, you have no comeback if you move in to find it's in exactly the same state in which you viewed it.


3) can I get the finders fee etc back from the letting agent if I am not completely happy with the condition of the house.
Very unlikely after you move in.

gabby71
07-04-2010, 09:55 AM
Hi

thanks for your replies - I have managed to get an appointment to go and look at the property this afternoon - if it is still dirty I will tell the letting agent that I want it put in writing that the house will be fully cleaned before I move in - as this is what they promised me verbally on the day I signed.
it just gives me a very bad feeling about how good (or bad) the landlord will be - the letting agent has apparently advised him of the condition of the property.

with reference to the decor - am i in a position to ask for help towards the cost of re-decorating? the whole house needs to be done!

thanks again!

mind the gap
07-04-2010, 10:01 AM
Hi

thanks for your replies - I have managed to get an appointment to go and look at the property this afternoon - if it is still dirty I will tell the letting agent that I want it put in writing that the house will be fully cleaned before I move in - as this is what they promised me verbally on the day I signed.
it just gives me a very bad feeling about how good (or bad) the landlord will be - the letting agent has apparently advised him of the condition of the property.

with reference to the decor - am i in a position to ask for help towards the cost of re-decorating? the whole house needs to be done!

thanks again!
If you have already signed the tenancy agreement without a written commitment from the LL/LA that the property will be cleaned, you may find him unwilling to give you one. Why should he? The obvious answer is that (a) he promised this orally and (b) it makes good business sense for him to keep you happy, but sadly these things do not always cut much ice with some LLs and some LAs.

Decorating - I doubt very much that the LL is contracturally bound to pay for redecoration as you agreed to take the property on the basis of what it was like on viewing (apart fromt he cleaning issue). All you can do is ask nicely - but don't hold your breath. Under no circumstances should you just go ahead and redecorate (even at your own expense) without written consent from the LL.

gabby71
07-04-2010, 10:05 AM
Oh dear - that seems so unfair....

I guess I have been very fortunate in the past as my previous rentals have always been freshly decorated and clean when I moved in.

I can't afford to pay for a professional clean - and it does need a GOOD clean - even the cooker was filthy!!!

Just hope I get some joy this afternoon...

thanks

mind the gap
07-04-2010, 10:11 AM
Good luck - please post back and let us know how you get on.

If LL/LA are clueless/disorganised about whether they will be able to get cleaners in on time, it might be worth offering to find some yourself (your motivation to do so is clearly much greater than theirs!) on condition they pay the invoice. Have a short written statement to this effect ready for them to sign if they haven't booked any already. Just google 'cleaning company + [your nearest town]' and see what you can come up with.

gabby71
07-04-2010, 10:20 AM
Yes, I will post later to let you know how I got on - thanks for the tips!

UK SURVEYORS
07-04-2010, 17:28 PM
Hi Gabby,

Hang with me on this one as it will be a little long winded but well worth the read.

As a professional Building Surveyor I would advise you to get clear evidence of the condition of the areas that are of concern to you within the property before entering into the lease agreement.

When you have a copy of the lease for a new property you will see that there are a number of clauses that will need to be adhered to. Within the lease there will be clauses relating to the repairs works and redecoration of the property, these are very important as they can cost you money.

As tenant, usually you will be responsible for all of the internal and external decorations within a set out period of time and you may also find that you are responsible for all repair works; this obligation will be from the moment that you sign the lease.

In the case of a property that is in need of repair prior to you entering the lease you should be very careful. If you are concerned regarding the condition of the property it would be advisable to have a Full Condition Survey carried out first.

A lease will normally require you to maintain the property in a state of good repair. Occasionally the lease may state that you have to return the premises to the landlord at the end of the lease in better condition than they were at the beginning
The famous 'put and keep' clause, the lease should include a 'put and keep' clause regardless of the condition of the property. This will mean (subject to case law) the tenant will have liability for repairs and also to 'put and keep' the property in a state of reasonable repair.

Inventory and a Schedule of Condition
An inventory records the landlord’s contents in the property (furnished properties). A schedule of condition records the detailed state and cleanliness of the property.

These are the essential tools which define any loss or damage during a tenancy and provide records as evidence in the event of a dispute. Most disputes occur at the end of the tenancy. Cleanliness (in particular kitchens, ovens and bathrooms), loss, damage and the condition of the garden are typical causes.

If a dispute cannot be settled amicably and goes to arbitration (with The Dispute Service) or to the courts, the inventory and the schedule of condition are usually the key documents used as evidence. If a record is unclear or inadequate, an arbiter or judge is likely to rule in favour of the tenant.

Note:
Many landlords and letting agents are happy to rely on poor, sketchy inventories and/or schedule of condition to save money; this is a serious misjudgement that could cost you money.

UK Surveyors can produce for you an accurate, comprehensive inventory/schedule of condition at the start of each tenancy. This is updated at the end of each tenancy. It will include a meticulous record of every room (noting all defects, scuffs, marks and damage) and a summary of the garden’s condition, with photographs to support the commentary where necessary.

Fair wear and tear
The tenant is entitled to reasonable fair wear and tear whilst occupying a property (which would include minor scuffs, marks and the odd small paint chip but not multiple paint chips, burn marks or carpet stains).

We define fair wear and tear as: ‘Evidence of day-to-day use as would be expected to occur under normal circumstances during the occupancy of a property by the number of tenants agreed to by the landlord.’

Where children and pets are permitted, additional wear and tear should be expected. The tenant is paying rent for normal usage of the property. However, the property must be left as clean, and the garden left as tidy, as they were at the start of the tenancy.

I hope that will be of some use.

DJR

trill
07-04-2010, 18:05 PM
As tenant, usually you will be responsible for all of the internal and external decorations within a set out period of time and you may also find that you are responsible for all repair works; this obligation will be from the moment that you sign the lease.

In the case of a property that is in need of repair prior to you entering the lease you should be very careful. If you are concerned regarding the condition of the property it would be advisable to have a Full Condition Survey carried out first.

A lease will normally require you to maintain the property in a state of good repair. Occasionally the lease may state that you have to return the premises to the landlord at the end of the lease in better condition than they were at the beginning
The famous 'put and keep' clause, the lease should include a 'put and keep' clause regardless of the condition of the property. This will mean (subject to case law) the tenant will have liability for repairs and also to 'put and keep' the property in a state of reasonable repair.



What? Are you saying the LL does not have to maintain their property? Just pass responsibility onto some unsuspecting new T by inserting some dubious clause? Your statement seems to suggest that T is responsible for betterment of accommodation.

As far as I'm aware, in a nutshell, LL has to maintain fixtures and fittings, T repairs decoration or accidental damage.

"External decoration." Are you having a laugh?

As far as inventory goes, T should get a full and complete inventory when they move in, preferably with photos. T makes any amendments and returns to LL/LA within 7 days of tenancy start date. At end of tenancy, final inventory compared. T allowed fair wear and tear.

Has anyone on forum heard of 'put and keep' clause?

matthew_henson
07-04-2010, 18:25 PM
Hi Gabby,

As tenant, usually you will be responsible for all of the internal and external decorations within a set out period of time and you may also find that you are responsible for all repair works; this obligation will be from the moment that you sign the lease.

A lease will normally require you to maintain the property in a state of good repair. Occasionally the lease may state that you have to return the premises to the landlord at the end of the lease in better condition than they were at the beginning
The famous 'put and keep' clause, the lease should include a 'put and keep' clause regardless of the condition of the property. This will mean (subject to case law) the tenant will have liability for repairs and also to 'put and keep' the property in a state of reasonable repair.

DJR

Sorry your advice is incorrect, we are talking about AST's here not commercial property leases, all the OFT "rules" apply on unfair terms and conditions.

A residential tenant using the property as there primary residence is only responsible for damage above fair wear and tear, never improvements and never external decoration which is subjectively considered to be covered by S11 of 1985 LTA. The same act also cover most other repairs to do with structure, sanitation and heating appliances. A "put and keep" clause is not required for these areas and an LL is not obligued to keep a property in the same state during the term of the tenancy unless agreed otherwise

trill
07-04-2010, 18:48 PM
Sorry your advice is incorrect, we are talking about AST's here not commercial property leases, all the OFT "rules" apply on unfair terms and conditions.

Phew! Thought I'd woken up in a parallel universe for a moment.


A residential tenant using the property as there primary residence is only responsible for damage above fair wear and tear, never improvements and never external decoration which is subjectively considered to be covered by S11 of 1985 LTA. The same act also cover most other repairs to do with structure, sanitation and heating appliances. A "put and keep" clause is not required for these areas and an LL is not obligued to keep a property in the same state during the term of the tenancy unless agreed otherwise

Nicely put.

gabby71
07-04-2010, 19:27 PM
UPDATE....

Well, as I guessed - the house was still filthy, there are a few things that alarmed me - such as the state of the UPVC windows - the hinges on most of them are completely rusted almost to the state of disintegration, one of the windows is 'blown', every single door in the house needs re-apinting, along with every wall, ceiling and all skirting/door frames.
The landlord apparently couldn't make it to the viewwing so it was just myself and the letting agent - when I showed my converns all she said was 'well this is what you get with a rental property'!!!! - so not true - I have been renting for over 12 years now - both in the UK and more recently for 4 years is Cyprus, and every property I have moved into has been in excellent condition.
I asked the letting agent to call the landlord so I could chat with him and she refused....
There is also some furniture in the proeprty that I do not want as I have my own (I asked for unfurnished but with white goods if possible), when I asked today about the removal of the Items, she advised me that the property was to be let furnished - when I advised that they marketed it as unfurnished, she said that had been a mistake on their part!!!!
She said she would go back to the office and call the landlord to discuss help with re-decorating and also speak with him about the concerns I have, I asked her to call me asap to discuss, and, predictably have heard nothing since!!!
She did mumble something about me pulling out if I was not happy - but then I guess I will lose the £200 I have already paid for their admin fees.

Such a mess!!!!

Will update you as soon as I hear more.

mind the gap
07-04-2010, 19:31 PM
UPDATE....

Well, as I guessed - the house was still filthy, there are a few things that alarmed me - such as the state of the UPVC windows - the hinges on most of them are completely rusted almost to the state of disintegration, one of the windows is 'blown', every single door in the house needs re-apinting, along with every wall, ceiling and all skirting/door frames.
The landlord apparently couldn't make it to the viewwing so it was just myself and the letting agent - when I showed my converns all she said was 'well this is what you get with a rental property'!!!! - so not true - I have been renting for over 12 years now - both in the UK and more recently for 4 years is Cyprus, and every property I have moved into has been in excellent condition.
I asked the letting agent to call the landlord so I could chat with him and she refused....
There is also some furniture in the proeprty that I do not want as I have my own (I asked for unfurnished but with white goods if possible), when I asked today about the removal of the Items, she advised me that the property was to be let furnished - when I advised that they marketed it as unfurnished, she said that had been a mistake on their part!!!!
She said she would go back to the office and call the landlord to discuss help with re-decorating and also speak with him about the concerns I have, I asked her to call me asap to discuss, and, predictably have heard nothing since!!!
She did mumble something about me pulling out if I was not happy - but then I guess I will lose the £200 I have already paid for their admin fees.

Such a mess!!!!

Will update you as soon as I hear more.

Oh dear - it's not looking great. How much do you want it? I would be walking away, to be honest - but not without my £200.

If you would prefer to pull out, you would have a good case for your admin fee being refunded if they advertised it as unfurnished and have now decided it is furnished. That is a significant error on their part.

Perhaps the LA can find you a better property from their list? Having said that, the agent sounds as sloppy as the LL, doesn't she? For someone who makes her living out of managing rental properties, her comment about them is a bit rich, isn't it?:eek;

gabby71
07-04-2010, 19:45 PM
Hiya

To be honest I would rather walk away from it now - and yes, the attitude of the agent, along with the landlords readiness for the property to be let in that condition - has put me off completely and I feel I would have no faith in either party should I take the property on.
I have decided to wait until I hear from her (I will probably have to chase her tomorrow!!!), see what she has to say, but will probably make an appointment to see the branch manager to discuss everything with him - try to get my £200 back and hope for the best!

thanks for the help guys :)

westminster
07-04-2010, 20:17 PM
try to get my £200 back and hope for the best!
No need to hope. Either you signed something to the effect that if you pulled out you forfeit the £200 or you didn't. Pretty straightforward.

trill
07-04-2010, 20:37 PM
What a shame!

I've been in a similar situation and I've turned down rubbish accommodation even though desperate to get out of a horrendously noisy flat. My way of thinking was that I did not want to move into another disastrous tenancy and be tied down for a minimum of six months. It's taken months of searching, but I'm finally moving out of this flat next week. Hurrah!

Some of us have higher expectations than others!

If the place you're looking at is not going to be cleaned to your standards and the LL is not willing to repaint (as someone else will take it in that condition), then would you be happy living with it? I think it's safe to assume that you would have to live with the rubbish windows as they are.

As the property is not as described on cleanliness/furnishing status, you should be able to argue your point if you want to withdraw. I also wouldn't let them come up with the argument that they've held the property for you for x amount of time and therefore you should be charged re-letting fees as they've changed the conditions as they go along.

I hope you haven't signed a tenancy agreement as yet.

PS. I'm talking from a T point of view. Don't have a clue as to legal issues. I know nuffink!

mind the gap
07-04-2010, 22:38 PM
No need to hope. Either you signed something to the effect that if you pulled out you forfeit the £200 or you didn't. Pretty straightforward.

I agree, but surely if the property was advertised as unfurnished but turns out to be furnished and LL refuses to remove the furniture, what right of redress does T have?