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View Full Version : Please help - Is it time to involve a Solicitor?



Smallyeti
05-09-2007, 09:01 AM
Hi Everyone,

I'm really looking for some advice on whether it is time to ask a Solicitor to help get us out of a nightmare flat.

The very brief run down of a long-running story is that we effectively had a flat forced on us by a letting agent as they had promised us a house in a quiet residential area to start off with but then with a week to go, were told this was unavailable and all they had was this flat. We had to move and did not have enough time to find another property so we had to take it.

The flat and letting agents were both nightmares. The flat suffers from unreasonable noise from every angle and has had several problems, the lettings agents have let people into it without our knowledge or permission, let people work on the skylight looking into our bedroom when we were asleep (without letting us know it was going to happen :eek: ) and many, many other problems. I was advised on here that I may be able to break the contract via frustration.

I try to be a really good tenant and didn't want to be unreasonable or cause problems and both went in to see the letting agents, followed by a letter explaining all the problems. They stated that the landlord would let us go if he could rent out the property to someone else and we paid the fees. They have never addressed the problems we raised with them - we got a standard letter.

We recently moved pretty much everything out of the flat and they got a decorator in to do a "touch up" on some wall staining caused by the excessive rain. The decorator came in on the Monday last week and set up with dust, sheets, some painting and then left for well over a week. After which time we called the agency and asked what was happening. They had no knowledge of where the decorator had been but obviously chased this up as he was there yesterday.

I received a call last night from the agents stating that they had two visits and the decorator would tidy up the place. They also confirmed the decorator had their only set of keys - which would explain why there have been no visits over the last week - I suspect, although I have no proof, that they have been putting people off from seeing the property as until then there was a steady flow of viewings.

We went to the property last night and discovered the decorator has left the place in a real mess. He has taken light fittings apart and left the wiring on display in areas where there was no water staining at all. He has taken some panels covering storage areas, on the other side of the house to the water damage, off the areas they are covering and I am worried if these are damaged we will be liable. He has also been taking great chunks out of the wall and re-plastering but this seems to have done more damage than anything as the wall was fine before.

My husbands father is a professional painter and decorator and he estimated the repairs to the staining would take two days max - and he thinks he could have done it in less than a day. He has suggested there may be an insurance job going on here but again we have no proof.

We were under the assumtion that the decorator would be doing a minor paint touch up - not a major job. We are paying for the rent whilst he is doing this and all this work means that the flat cannot be shown and will not be taken.

I really need some help. I only got married three months ago and instead of being happy we are now constantly under stress. It's taken a toll on both of our health (for example I have suffered mild allopecia several years ago - this came back but has begun to clear having moved out because we are now able to sleep), we have started arguing because of the stress this week, which is very unlike us. I cannot tell you how desperate we are to get rid of this flat but the letting agent doesn't care and we don't know what to do. Should we get a Solicitor involved at this stage? We don't have tons of money but we wouldn't qualify for free help so I really need to know if honestly a Solicitor could help.

Sorry for the big long post - the thing has been going on for so long, with so much happening it is hard to condense it!!

Bel
05-09-2007, 09:22 AM
The treatment you have received from the agents, who are acting for the LL is terrible. At the very least they are breaching your quiet enjoyment, and you should be compensated.
The way they have operated could also be interpreted as a breach the Protection from Eviction Act 1977..a criminal offence; as this is harrassment causing you to want to leave the property; at the same time they are making it very hard for you to leave!!

You could try to say very assertively that unless they let you leave without further charge, you will be seeking legal advice with regard to the above, and see what happens. If no joy, then follow it up with a visit to a good solicitor who knows what they are talking about...such as Pain Smith advertised on this site, or our own Jeffrey Hurst on the forum.

P.Pilcher
05-09-2007, 09:24 AM
Ouch! what problems - a beautiful example of why the lettings agent industry needs some compulsorary regulation to sort organisations like this out. I am sure that the agents who read and post on this forum would be horrified! You are advised to have a word with Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau in the first instance to get some free advice as to your rights and what a cock up these "agents" would appear to have made. Your local authority environmental health department should also be approached. As a result of receiving advice from these bodies you decide that you need to instruct a solicitor, which does indeed sound likely, then make sure you use one who is familiar with landlord/tenant law. The trouble is that most solicitors are experts in family matters, conveyancing and criminal work but not so many get much work in the landlord tenant sector. The advertisers on this board are experts in this area and if you are lucky our legal topic expert, a practicing solicitor, Jeffrey may well add a reply to this thread and you could instruct him if you wish.

P.P.

Furat
05-09-2007, 10:32 AM
I hope you:

-humiliate them in court
-are awarded a huge wad of cash
-feel better about all this in time
-find a godo place to live with decent honest agents and LLs

good luck!!!

Smallyeti
05-09-2007, 10:48 AM
Thank you all so much. I think I may be emailing Jeffrey shortly as he was very helpful when this first started.

It is very horrible - the law seems to favour those least honest. Terrible tenants have the law on their side and in this situation I feel very hopeless because I am more aware of the laws in favour of the landlord.

Being someone who hates confrontation going to a Solicitor terrifies me but we cannot live with this anymore.

Smallyeti
05-09-2007, 13:43 PM
So annoyed with the agency:mad:

My husband went in to them at lunch and their opinion is that the landlord wants the work done, that they do not care that the decorator is replastering walls and taking apart light fittings.

I called them to see if I could get anywhere and I got a snotty woman who sounded really annoyed with me for calling because my husband had been in (even though they refused to talk to him except to say the above) and she told me if I had a problem to get a Solicitor!

I have called Jeffrey but I am furious because I bet they will get away with this! They obviously don't care if we get Solicitors involved and we don't have the money to fight them in court, which is what they deserve on the principal of the thing.

It is disgusting they can get away with this!

Bel
06-09-2007, 06:39 AM
If they (the decorators on behalf of the LL) are tresspassing without your consent; get the police involved. It wont cost you anything but there will be a heap of confrontation. Your local authority tenacy relations officer could help with a prosecution if they think LL is out of order.