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ab1
10-12-2011, 12:18 PM
We were due to sign tenancy agreement on the 3rd December 2011, this was then renegotiated to the 10th December 2011. The agent informed us verbally on the 3rd in their own offices that the contract would be rewritten to start on the 10th, they again confirmed this by telephone on the 7th December and on this date we sent an electronic payment of deposit and rent to reach them prior to the 10th as they requested. On attending their offices on the 10th we duly signed and were told not to date the agreement. On leaving the offices we noticed that the agent had inserted the 3rd December as the start date and that the tenancy start date also stated the 3rd. This was immediately brought to the agents attention and her response was "tough you just signed it". As a result, we have only received the keys today and the inventory, the contract states that we agree to the inventory if we do not respond within 48 hours of date of contract. Contract is dated the 3rd so we are now unable to question the inventory. Also we are paying a weeks rent for a property we were not able to access as the agent would not provide keys prior to the 10th, also we will be liable for all bills during this period. Has the agent acted legally? We can prove the contract was signed today and not on the 3rd and that the keys were received on the 10th not the 3rd.

mariner
10-12-2011, 12:57 PM
Always date any signature with date of apppending sig. and check other rel dates before signing.
Someone in agency did not check the prepared rental agreement either, so you have 'lost' 1 week of fixed term and could be 1 week in rent arrrears as well as the Inventory problem.
However, it is held that a T does not start until T receives keys (and enters the property). Any ind witness to key handover? Bank statement showing deposit payment? Hard for agent to argue over T date if they have a rule stating deposit and 1st months rent must be received before keys given. Is Agency part of a larger chain with someone higher than branch manager to whom you can complain? Was the agent who said 'tough' the branch manager? Is your LL aware of the agent's attitude?
Check the inventory & return within reqd period. Include letter stating you only received keys in their office on the 10th. Keep a copy of both.

ab1
10-12-2011, 13:14 PM
Thanks for reply,we have bank statements to prove the deposit payment date, an email stating the appointment date for signing, we can prove we were in a different branch on the 3rd December to the one we signed in on the 10th, which is stated under the address of the witness. The keys, gas safety check certificate and inventory form was signed and dated as received on the 10th. The landlord wanted a start date of the 3rd December at the latest, we think he might have been cross at the agent for not being in a position to rent on this date and so insisted they cover the costs, which is why the agent deceived us over the contract start date. We can't prove that but we do know that the landlord wanted tenants in before the 3rd December at the latest, as the agent told us. When we agreed the change of date I asked the agent whether the landlord would be happy with that and her answer was, he will have to be. The employee concerned is an associate director of the company.

theartfullodger
10-12-2011, 13:56 PM
Disgraceful : you now know also not to trust anything & everything else agent does or says.

Shame Landlord ain't viewing this thread (he may be..)

Check with companies house (£1) all directors name & addresses

Snorkerz
10-12-2011, 14:40 PM
The tenancy can not begin until you move into the property, no matter what the paperwork says - until you move in it is just a contract.

Do you have anything to prove that you didn't move in until the 10th? I suspect you could put a bundle of evidence together including the email with the agent, utility statements showing when service commenced, the date of your electronic payment - they will all add up to a compelling argument that your tenancy began on the 10th.

So keep that lot in case you need to prove the tenancy began on the 10th.

Did the agents or landlord have to do any works in the property during the disputed week?

With regard to the inventory, I suspect the clause that says you agree if you don't respond would be covered by the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts regulations, and in your case it could not be enforced because, as per above, they are demanding you do so before it is possible to do so.

theartfullodger
10-12-2011, 14:51 PM
Think I'd write (yes, WRITE, email also but write..) to leccy, gas & water companies (if you've meters for any..) confirming your readings of the meters in all cases...

Wouldn't trust that lot further than I could throw them, and I've a bad back...

Cheers!

Artful

ab1
10-12-2011, 17:07 PM
Thank you for your replies. I agree Snorkerz, as the keys and other docs were signed as received on the 10th and the emails confirming sign up appointment for the 10th, it will be clear that is what we thought we were agreeing as the start date.

I will insist on every correspondence from them in writing from now on as they have proven themselves to be untrustworthy and as Artful said they cant be trusted further than they can be thrown. I have already written a complaint letter. I am so incensed at their behaviour and we really were treated with contempt by the agent, she was an absolute bully, very aggressive.

Snorkerz
10-12-2011, 18:13 PM
Once you have settled, it may be worth discussing this with your landlord. The landlord pays the agent, almost certainly a minimum of 10% of what you pay. If I was the landlord in that situation, I would want my (paid) agent to treat my most valuable source of income (you) with nothing but respect.

bhaal
10-12-2011, 20:04 PM
Sounds as if the agent has very possibly committed a crime under the Forgery Act 1913:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1913/27/contents/enacted

Report the matter to the police and bring all the evidence with you. That should stop them from trying this with anyone else.

mariner
11-12-2011, 00:08 AM
Why would Police be interested in alleged minor fraud? Too busy illegally evicting their own Ts or doing subs Community service.
Trading Standards poss, if they have had similar complaints. Date will be explained as 'typo' and agent will deny saying 'tough'. Poss LL misguidedly put pressure on agency for finding a T for the 3rd and then accepting Ts request for delay until 10th.