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nick..
26-08-2006, 09:32 AM
Hi,

Bit of background, have been renting for a few years whilst saving to buy a place, this has always been through one estate agents.

Last property, I had zero issues, never missed a payment, landlord sold up after 2 years of me being there to cash in any equity she had, when she came to visit, said she was really pleased how nice I'd kept it, how bad some tenants can be etc etc, how easy I'd made it for her to sell. The new owners wanted to deal directly with me to make themselves a few extra bob, in addition, they wanted me to tell their solicitor I was moving out as they hadn't been able to get a mortgage entitling me to stay !! Didn't fancy being put in a position where I could be booted out, relying on a verbal agreement with people I didnt know, but equally I was really happy to move anyway, it wasn't the greatest of places, noisy neighbours doing housework at 2am drove me insane, and am really happy in a much nicer place now, albeit more expensive. Sometimes you just need an insentive, as no-one wants the aggravation of moving

Anyway, have been in the new place 3 months, again haven't missed any rent or bills, place is still immaculate, just me living here. Agent came round yesterday to have a look, said it was spotless, landlord would be chuffed, and I was one of her best tenants. However, when pressed on when they'd be coming back, she said every 3 months.

Seems a bit excessive to me, seeing as there are no issues at all, it feels as though its encroaching a bit on my right to quiet enjoyment of the property as if its my own

Any thoughts? do I just have to sit back and take it? or can I request they visit every 6 or 12 months depending on successfull visits each time that highlight no problems?

Thanks.....

Worldlife
26-08-2006, 10:05 AM
I don't have a fixed schedule of formal inspections.

Is there mention in your tenancy agreement that quarterly inspections would be carried out and if so did you make any comment before signing the agreement?

Regardless of any conditions in the AST the landlord is entitled to carry out inspection provided you are given due notice. Did the agent give you written notice in advance of the date and time of the proposed inspection? If this was not done there was no right of entry and this would be regarded as intrusion. Did the agent carry out a full inventory check and condition check on this 'inspection'

If it was just a brief visit maybe you should regard it as an opportunity for you to let the agent and landlord know any problems that you are experiencing.

You will see from threads posted on this forum it only takes a short while for a satisfactory tenancy to suddenly deteriorate through circumstances beyond the control of the tenant (e.g serious illness, loss of job and depression etc).

If the tenancy was only for a six month period the landlord would be checking the situation in the third month to see whether or not the tenancy should be renewed or a section 21 notice should be served. A similar inspection would take place in the ninth month of your yearly tenancy.

I don't consider these additional visits, if properly arranged, in a twelve monthly tenancy to be unreasonable but others may disagree!!!

welshgold
26-08-2006, 10:40 AM
Personally if the rent is paid promptly, the property looks o.k from the outside and there are no complaints from neighbours i do not myself make inspections ( apart from sending corgi etc engineers yearly if applicable) i can think of one property with same tenant that i have not been in for over 12 years.I see no point in disturbing good tenants.

If there are problems i would try to deal with them straight away, not wait for a specific time frame on inspections.

nick..
26-08-2006, 10:57 AM
Seeing as you are a landlord Vic, your response doesn't surprise me, no doubt you'd have weekly visits if you could, but its more about respecting the privacy and rights of the tenant. Right now, I couldn't give a toss if I;m asked to move out at the end, despite the place being perfect for me, still in immaculate condition, and me paying the asking price (a shade under 900 quid for a flat), so satisfactory for boths sides IMO

There was no need to air anything with the Agent, as there are no problems, I could call if I had any issues. Funnily enough, thats exactly how she sold it to me, being for my benefit, despite me confirming the intention was the exact opposite during the visit, which was perfectly friendly and amicable BTW

This isn't in my interests, its in the landlords, and its all about piece of mind for them and to hell with the tenant

Yes, the visit was, and future ones will be, planned over the phone or email, but thats not really the point. It isnt the period of notice that annoys me, its the frequency of privacy invasion

Jennifer_M
26-08-2006, 12:58 PM
Seeing as you are a landlord Vic, your response doesn't surprise me, no doubt you'd have weekly visits if you could, but its more about respecting the privacy and rights of the tenant. Right now, I couldn't give a toss if I;m asked to move out at the end, despite the place being perfect for me, still in immaculate condition, and me paying the asking price (a shade under 900 quid for a flat), so satisfactory for boths sides IMO

There was no need to air anything with the Agent, as there are no problems, I could call if I had any issues. Funnily enough, thats exactly how she sold it to me, being for my benefit, despite me confirming the intention was the exact opposite during the visit, which was perfectly friendly and amicable BTW

This isn't in my interests, its in the landlords, and its all about piece of mind for them and to hell with the tenant

Yes, the visit was, and future ones will be, planned over the phone or email, but thats not really the point. It isnt the period of notice that annoys me, its the frequency of privacy invasion

No need to be slightly abusive towards a forum member who's answered your question fair and square !

As was said a quaterly visit is standard with most agents/landlords. And before you tell me I'm biaised or something, I'm no landlord and I've been a tenant who had quaterly visits in a property that was well looked after.
Again as was said, feel free to refuse the visits but be prepared to be evicted at the end of the fixed term and forget about references.

Ruth Less
26-08-2006, 15:05 PM
nick.. I sympathise, these visits are a pain but they are fairly routine. Since I started renting this time I've been in two properties with two different agents and both have done quarterly inspections. These just consist of the agent having a quick chat and a brief look round. As you say it isn't really for me to report issues as I report them when they come up and if they are urgent I'd expect them to have been fixed before the next inspection anyway.

At the next visit, once they have seen the good condition, you could try asking for less frequent inspections, they may have to ask to landlord to agree, but it could well be they refuse.

My take is it's a pain I put up with. I suppose it does give you some good background towards getting your deposit back and good references. If it's a small agency it allows you to build up some rapport with the agent which could be useful if any issues arise in the future. My last agent took my side against my landlord on two occasions.

nick..
26-08-2006, 15:35 PM
No need to be slightly abusive towards a forum member who's answered your question fair and square !

As was said a quaterly visit is standard with most agents/landlords. And before you tell me I'm biaised or something, I'm no landlord and I've been a tenant who had quaterly visits in a property that was well looked after.
Again as was said, feel free to refuse the visits but be prepared to be evicted at the end of the fixed term and forget about references.

Abusive? come on, don't be so sensitive. Maybe I should've put a winking smiley face in, but seeing as these visits are 100% to placate the landlord, I would expect no other response.

In reality, it is unnecessary (if no problems are reported), and is another thing to make the tenant feel like a second class citizen. I pay over a thousand pounds in rent and bills to live there, and look after it like it is my own, it's hard enough to make rental accomodation feel like your 'home', even without the finger or suspicion being pointed at you every 3 months

Its wrong to have things slanted towards the landlord, in a market saturated with fortunate amateur entrepreneur by-to-letters, you'd think Agents would see they also need to see it from the tenants side of things, and treat them as customers

Too many people see it as a money making venture, forgetting there is a person on the other end who is just as entitled to a place to call home as they are

If you dont like our terms, tough, find somewhere else to live

Nick

-edit- surely the comment about references is wrong? mine are provided by my Estate Agent, and the worst they could say is "refused quarterly inspections, allowed annual/bi-annual, never missed a payment, nothing missing/damaged when left"

I'll take that, thanks

MrShed
26-08-2006, 16:23 PM
Legally, the landlord cannot force you to permit access for inspections. But, I must say that I think your attitude is fairly poor. Why be SO against a landlord checking out his 6 figure investment? To ensure it is still in good nick? A tenant is only as good as his current tenancy, prior history does not neccessarily mean you will look after this place. Not saying you won't, but you need to bear in mind landlords have a massive amount of money invested into your home, it really is not too much of an inconvenience to you to allow them in every few months. Don't get me wrong, I understand your view, but you are completely negating the view of the landlord.

And no I am not a landlord :p

nick..
26-08-2006, 17:10 PM
He has five weeks of my rent up front to cover any damage, and is able to view the property once or twice a year to check for things like damp that are out of my control and would have serious consequences.

There is no inconveniece with meeting them for inspections generally, it is a matter of principle. Buying a property to let it out is fraught with potential pitfalls, guarding against them should not infringe on the tenants right to live in peace and quiet. If its apparent you have someone who is legit and not likely to piss over the carpets and set fire to curtains, I think you should extend the same respect back

Twice a year is plenty, but I guess I'll have to sit back and be dictated to, I'm only living there after all

pippay
27-08-2006, 03:32 AM
I actually agree with the OP - to a degree ...

If it is a new tenancy I can certainly understand the LL wanting to keep an eye on his investment in the first few months but as a tenant I would expect the frequency of inspections to reduce the longer the tenancy existed, especially f the rent was being paid on time and the first 1 or 2 inspections gave no cause for concern.

Yes, LL's are investing a lot of money of the property but letting it out to tenants, knowing all the inherent risks is, presumably, a choice they have made purely for financial reasons and some LL - and Agents - need to acknowledge that whilst it is the their property it is also the tenants HOME and as such be afforded a degree of privacy as the law dictates.

I doubt very much if any property owner would be too pleased if their mortgage lender visited every 3 months to make sure their investment was being looked after ... same difference !!

I think it calls for a certain amount of discretion and reasonableness on the part of both sides.

Perhaps, Nick, after the next one is carried out, you should say to them that as they've found no problems with these inspections they could be reduced to say once or twice a year. My LL does his inspection when he comes round once a year with the Corgi guy. Although a new tenant, with only a 6 month tenancy, has just had a 3 month inspection carried out by the agent presumably to ascertain whether both parties want to continue after the expiry of the fixed term, although it's written into his lease that 3 monthly inspections will be the norm.

Worldlife
27-08-2006, 06:16 AM
<snip>Is there mention in your tenancy agreement that quarterly inspections would be carried out and if so did you make any comment before signing the agreement?

Regardless of any conditions in the AST the landlord is entitled to carry out inspection provided you are given due notice. Did the agent give you written notice in advance of the date and time of the proposed inspection? If this was not done there was no right of entry and this would be regarded as intrusion. Did the agent carry out a full inventory check and condition check on this 'inspection' ?<snip>


It would be helpful if the original poster would answer the above questions to determine the degree of intrusion that took place or might take place in the future.

If the terms of the AST and statutory requirements for entry were not complied with then that could be mentioned in a request to the landlord/agent to change the frequency of inspections.

nick..
27-08-2006, 07:19 AM
Hi,

Thanks everyone for the input.

As I stated previously, the visit was arranged long in advance, and all future ones will be, thats really not an issue, the EA's are very professional and are very easy to deal with. Posting the question here is really a matter of getting it off my chest and finding out whether it is reasonable, without souring the relationship with the EA and the landlord, which remains excellent.

The AST makes no mention of frequency of visits, only the usual legal aspects of allowing access after 24 hours written notice, in reality a call a week in advance is what it will come down to, and I'm fine with that. They were also happy to delay for a week due to my work availability

I think Pippay explained my feelings better than I can word them, and I think I should mention to the EA next time she visits that as things are going well, can we reduce the frequency of visits. I was just slightly shocked to be told "...things are going really well - see you in three months, you untrustworthy scumbag !! " (note : recall of verbal exchange may not be accurate)

I'm aware of legal entitlements for the landlord demanding an inspection, and also mine in refusing. If i the relationship ever deteriorated down to that, I'd look to leave at the first available oppurtunity, my issue is with both parties being reasonable without having to resort to legal requirements, and therefore should probably be addressed to the EA and the LL. If someone is, and has in the past, proving to be a good tenant who always pays on time and looks after your property, I think you should afford them the respect they deserve

Ta
Nick

nick..
27-08-2006, 07:34 AM
Why be SO against a landlord checking out his 6 figure investment?

Its the banks 6 figure investment, for at least 25 years.
I'm not against them inspecting, and in reality would allow the quarterly visits, but IMO its unreasonable, and shows a lack of respect. When taking up the maintenance agreement with the EA, the LL will be told, "don't worry, we vet all tenants, and we'll be in there every 3 months checking they're not digging holes and cooking in the floor"

The LL is hardly going to object, is he? Its in his interest to have as many visits as possible. Is it reasonable after successfull inspections and prompt rent payments though? I dont think so

The EA is contractually obliged to the LL to carry out these inspections as they promised to keep the scum in check, I think this is unfair in instances of obviously reliable tenants, why sour the relationship? the person who moves in after I leave through anger could be a real a$%£hole, or a family of 6 whose kids draw on the walls and carpet, playing music and annoying the neighbours, rather than repairing their TV as I have !!

Nick

MrShed
27-08-2006, 08:19 AM
Its the banks 6 figure investment, for at least 25 years.

An interesting thought, yet completely wrong. Even if you could argue a mortgage was the banks investment, which it clearly isn't(the bank's 'investment' is in the mortgagee paying the money back, not in the property), a lot of landlords own property outright.

I think this is unfair in instances of obviously reliable tenants, why sour the relationship?

There is no such thing as an "obviously reliable tenant".

nick..
27-08-2006, 08:48 AM
There is no such thing as an "obviously reliable tenant".

Yep, far better off to assume everyones trying to screw you over. That makes for pleasant living conditions all round

MrShed
27-08-2006, 09:25 AM
Unfortunately, as landlords are in a BUSINESS, and this is often their LIVELIHOOD, they must assume the worst case scenario.

pippay
27-08-2006, 09:36 AM
But surely, Mr Shed, if the LL can see that the property is being looked after, after a couple of 3 monthly visits, then it deserves a certain amount of latitude in frequency of visits, to harmonise what is effectively a business arrangement.

This must be the only business ever, where the parties automatically don't trust each other and it is assumed that each will turn the other one over ..

MrShed
27-08-2006, 10:12 AM
Pippay, that's because a lot of the time unfortunately, they do. And, there is a lot of money/people's lives at stake. The business doesn't lend itself to trusting.

pippay
27-08-2006, 10:26 AM
I totally understand the reasoning Mr Shed - it's historic on both sides - I just feel it's a shame that the Tenants and LL's from Hell, have made it so bad for the genuine ones ..

MrShed
27-08-2006, 10:36 AM
It really is, as a good tenant/landlord relationship can work really well. Unfortunately, both sides have become so wary and distrusting of the other, with good reasons from both sides, that everyone has to cover their backs in every way possible.

justaboutsane
28-08-2006, 15:48 PM
Sorry to revive and oldr thread.. I have been away! .. My Uncle rented a property when he and his family moved and looked for a place to buy, I think they stayed about 3 years and the LL inspected it every three months without fail, there were NEVER any issues but my aunt always worried, the place was kept well as in the case of the OP. However the LL always found something to moan about! Even when he offered the place to them to buy he still continued his 3 month visit AND he inspected the place before they exchanged contracts.

I personally do not feel the need for quarterly checks. We ask any workmen that call in to let us know how the property looks and if there is a rent problem then we may visit to discuss the situation face to face. We just play it by ear and see how it goes!!

Ericthelobster
29-08-2006, 10:30 AM
I think the OP is missing the key point that it is the agent is carrying out the checks, not the LL. The agent is justifying the fees he earns from the LL, by reporting back to the LL each quarter that all is well; and no doubt this will be a part of the contract between the agent and LL and it would be difficult for the agent to go to the LL now and ask for the inspections to be dropped or reduced in number. I would suggest you write a very friendly and very polite letter to the LL asking (not demanding!) whether he would consider a reduction in the frequency of inspections, and if you can't contact the LL direct, ask the agent to forward it.

My own view as a LL (who doesn't use an agent) is that I do include in the AST a clause about reserving the right to carry out inspections, but in reality I rarely do so... I do make a point of visiting about 1 month after the tenancy has started, to check the tenant's OK and happy (and that so is my property!), as explained to the tenant in advance of signing; other than that I usually find I have to go round at some point during the year eg to let in the CORGI man or to do some minor bit of maintenance that the tenant's asked for, and that's sufficient and takes the place of a formal inspection.

Only if I had concerns about the tenant for some reason would I be insisting on a regimented schedule of inspections, and certainly wouldn't be doing so in the present case.

nick..
29-08-2006, 10:44 AM
Perfectly reasonable expectations Eric, and shows the common sense that can be afforded a good tenant to ensure god a good relationship on both sides

I think you've hit the nail on the head by claiming the EA is contracted to the LL as part of the original agreement they come to, so I'll need to write the LL a letter at some point

Thanks
Nick