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View Full Version : Proposed tenancy of property needing many repairs etc.



pooks
27-01-2008, 23:01 PM
I am hoping for some advice please.

I have found a property I wish to rent. The letting agent has told me the property is a Repossession and has been brought by a Investment Company.

Having viewed the property it is exactly what we need. However, the previous owners have left it in a state. There is rubbish all over the garden, including bicycles, there are rabbit droppings mounted up against the house, there are plug sockets hanging from the walls, the banister for the stairs is wobbly (I have a 14 mth old), the carpet in the bedrooms doesnt fit properly, the decor is desperate and the whole house needs cleaning.

Now, the letting agent said this property is to be taken "as seen".

What I want to know is that normal? I am happy to clean the place up and give a lick of paint, but how far do I go? Is it my responsibilty to remove all this rubbish, replace carpets, paint top to bottom etc? Are there standards a rental property should meet for Heatlth & Safety etc?

I am new to all this and I am worried about the whole thing. We really want this house as it is ideal. We also have to pay a Bond which will be returned when I vactate the property should the landlord feel the property is left satisfactory. I will do this of course, but if he decided to keep some of it to re-paint or replace a carpet, I will be annoyed due to the fact of the state of the house Im about to take it in.

ANy advice would be so helpful. Thanking in advance.

justaboutsane
28-01-2008, 07:29 AM
There are certain standards but its up to you really. I took on a flat that needed alot of TLC, pigeon poop everywhere decor and carpets needed. I negotiated a lower rent to cover the cost of renovating the place (I got 6 weeks rent free) after I prepared a quote to do the work myself. HOWEVER... when it came to the LL sorting out structural issues they were a nightmare and I had to get Environmental health in.

From my experience I would say walk away cos even if you do get a better rent etc if they are unwilling to sort the house out now they will be unwilling to do the stuff they are supposed to do!

You could also send EHO round now tell them you were offered this place and see what they say as I don't feel it should be let in its current state.

jeffrey
28-01-2008, 10:17 AM
L is offering property "as seen". The only obligations binding L, irrespective of anything, are those in s.11 of LTA 1985. Otherwise, all problem aspects of the property will become your reposnsibility- so pitch your rent accordingly AND ensure that L gives consent to whatever you propose to do by way of rectification.

pooks
28-01-2008, 22:10 PM
Thank you for your replies.

The rent is very reasonable for the size and location of the property and I think due to the cosmetic surgery needed inside, this is reflected in the rent. A lick of paint top to bottom and a thorough clean and two small bedroom carpets are all that is really needed.

Woud you suggest taking photographs of the property before I move in as proof to what I will have done? Im asking because I have no idea what the L will class as standards for when I leave in order to reclaim the deposit money.

Surrey
28-01-2008, 22:14 PM
Photos are a good idea, though you can bet your boots he'd be pretty pissed off if you left it in the state you found it! :D

pooks
28-01-2008, 23:32 PM
I wouldnt dream of leaving it in the condition it is in, but I will not be happy if he wants painting and carpet cleaning done again when I leave considering I am having to do all this before I move in at MY cost!!

Ericthelobster
29-01-2008, 00:01 AM
A lick of paint top to bottom and a thorough clean and two small bedroom carpets are all that is really needed.OK, earlier you mentioned electrical sockets hanging off and wonky bannisters which makes it sound a somewhat different proposition.

Before you take this on, consider how long a tenancy agreement you will receive - is it going to be the standard 6 months? If so, it's entirely possible you could find your landlord doing the dirty on you and turfing you out as soon as that with absolutely no recourse, in favour of a new tenant who'll happily pay full whack for the newly done up property.

I'm not saying that will happen, but there have been many sob stories on this forum where exactly that has taken place.

pooks
29-01-2008, 20:42 PM
Thank you again for your replies.

I have been assured that it will be a Long Term Tennancy, so carrying out licks of paint etc doesn't worry me.

Ive been back today with the agent who said the management company will be in in the next few days to take photos etc and do the inventory lists etc. I too thought will also take my own photographs and ensure the landlord gets a copy of it too. I dont want any corners missed.

Thanks again for all your help.

heather5
29-01-2008, 21:42 PM
Sorry - as a tenant - my full pennies worth on the idea of an "assured longterm tenancy".

How long it your long-term tenancy?

Did you know that LLs can sell the property during your long-term tenancy agreement? At the end of the agreement you will be out.

If you have the promise of - then don't go there.

I'm slightly suspicious - if it is an investment company - and they have bought a repossession - most do so for an investment in the property price rising and as a long-term investment in the property itself. In those cases - they are often very happy to bend over backwards with the prospective tenants - give or take a few things - a spar bath is never going to be an option!

If you are about to take on a property by an investment company unwilling to pay even basic cosmetic stuff (i.e. bannisters) to ensure a tenant - then I would question the prospective LL.

This could be the tip of the iceberg.

Depends also on the agreement you have.

These days - where I am - Bucks - it is so highly regulated amongst all agencies that they all act the same and it is very very very rare that you'd get a property "as seen", unless they brought in a professional "clerk" - these things now exist - and they take photos.

No matter what - you must take photos - and make sure it's in good light. I'm a seasoned mover - but I was asked to inspect on moving in a property with a carpet I found suspect - pictures showed it to be okay - I've now taken photos within two weeks of move in when it's daylight proper - and there are stains all over the place!!!!!

I contacted the LA with my recent photos and dates - and they said they are null and void - because I accepted the photos in bad light.

Will be interesting to see if I have to replace a bad carpet on moving - won't surprise me.

There seem to be some really reasonable LLs on this site - and they offer advice with is second to none - but there are LLs out there who'll screw you no matter how much you've done to improve their property.

If you really are hell-bent - then protect yourself - and get the contract in advance of signing - I demand that always!!!! before I even sign an aspect of paper.

But some LAs think they are god and you are desperate - so will depend on the market you are in and area you are renting in.

Tell us - and the LLs on this site will help you - they are from far and wide!

pooks
29-01-2008, 21:53 PM
Thanks Heather5 for your information.

I am totally new to all this renting lark, as I currently rent from my uncle and its all too easy!

I will definately read and understand the contract/inventroy lists and anything else they give me before I put my name on that dotted line! I am so paranoid about stuff like this.

We really like this property and has the potential to be a wonderful family home and I would be upset to lose it at this stage. Its all due to go ahead this Friday, so we shall see.

Thanks again.

heather5
29-01-2008, 22:16 PM
Tell us now - so we can help - what are the terms of your agreement?

pooks
29-01-2008, 22:36 PM
I dont know as yet as it will all be drawn out for us on Friday, the day of signing. WHat sort of terms should I be expecting? Like I said I am new to all this.

Ericthelobster
29-01-2008, 22:56 PM
I dont know as yet as it will all be drawn out for us on Friday, the day of signing. WHat sort of terms should I be expecting? Like I said I am new to all this.Ok, I'm sure Heather5 will agree - major alarm bells now ringing I'm afraid (and I'm a landlord!). You shouldn't have a tenancy agreement stuffed under your nose to sign there and then - any agent worth his salt would know full well that you should be given time to read the agreement through and take appropriate legal advice if necessary before signing. At least overnight.

Also, it's hardly likely that the agent is going to write out a brand new contract just for you - they will have a draft version which they will edit, and there's no reason why you couldn't see that right now... or is there?

And why aren't they telling you how long the agreement will be? If you are going to be sinking time and money into this property, you should be insisting on a minimum term of whatever you see fit (ie, the shortest time you wouldn't feel hard done by if you were given your marching orders.) Frankly I'd be amazed if they offer you more than a year.

Find out all the information you need and get a copy of the agreement ASAP (then come back here for advice if need be); DON'T get pressurised into signing it at the last minute, and be prepared to walk away if they won't play ball.

pooks
29-01-2008, 23:16 PM
I too now am becoming concerned.

I am sure the agent said today that I will be signing the Tennancy on Friday morning. I was presuming there will be a contract for me to read and sign too and maybe an inventory list or something. Oh dear I am starting to worry.

So what should I be asking at this point, so close to signing?

- minimum length of a year maybe, Im sure she said it will be the "standard" 6 month to start, then providing we are good tennants it will be extended etc.

I dont know what is normal and what isnt.

HELP I AM NOW WORRIED

Ericthelobster
29-01-2008, 23:24 PM
Im sure she said it will be the "standard" 6 month to start, then providing we are good tennants it will be extended etc.

I dont know what is normal and what isnt.Well, that's totally normal... exactly what the vast majority of landlords say and do - but the point is that in your situation, if you spend a lot of time and effort doing up this place, you are 100% vulnerable to the landlord turning round after 4 months and saying, 'sorry, change of plan, here's your two months' notice to quit' and there won't be a darned thing you can do about it. And certainly no onus on the landlord to reimburse you for money you've spent.

If you're agreeing to all this work, then there needs to be some payback to you - eg make them agree now to a 12-month fixed term (if that's what your saying is the minimum)

pooks
29-01-2008, 23:36 PM
To be honest Im not happy with the Agent. Everything I have asked she just says no to without asking LL. I asked if he would consider a reduction in rent for the work we have to do....she said NO. I asked for maybe a couple of weeks free rent to cover the cost of work ......she said NO. I even asked if LL would be willing to meet a half way on costs......again she says NO.

I am presuming that the LL has given strict instructions of what they will and wont do at this stage. The agent has barely talked about contracts/agreements/lengths etc, just that we;re aiming for 1st Feb, which is this Friday.

I said to her too that I was worried about doing this work and getting kicked out after 6 months and she just shook her head saying that wont happen.

If I call her tomorrow, what should I be demanding/insisting on before Friday?

I do know for a fact from another agent that there are people queuing up for this property who Im sure will be happy to do this without a quibble.

Thanking in advance.

Ericthelobster
29-01-2008, 23:45 PM
If I call her tomorrow, what should I be demanding/insisting on before Friday?Well, you might want to wait and see what others suggest here rather than just taking the advice of one stranger, but from what you've said... personally if I were you I'm not sure I'd bother even making the call.

Am off to my bed now... good luck!

pooks
29-01-2008, 23:48 PM
OK thank you anyway for your advice. I am just grateful for any advice as Ive heard of so many horror stories and I dont want to become victim.

billmccallum
30-01-2008, 15:03 PM
I would suggest getting a builder/electrician/joiner to inspect the property and provide quotes to bring it up to standard, you can then use this as leverage when discussing rental options.

I would look for the free weeks as noted in the above posts, rather than a nominal reduction in rent, this shows a clear trail for the value of the work you do have done.

bagpuss
31-01-2008, 10:24 AM
I'm a LL too and I wouldn't accept this deal either if I were a tenant - too many promises that aren't worth the paper they aren't written on!

Personally, I think the agent is being totally unreasonable in not taking your concerns seriously. I don't like this take it or leave it attitude. I would never rent a property in the state you describe.

Also, I've heard horror stories about investment companies selling on properties and leaving the tenants with new LL's who aren't willing to honour the promises made by the first company.

The property may appear ideal if everything goes right but how ideal will it be if it all goes wrong?

My advice - be very very careful

justaboutsane
31-01-2008, 17:38 PM
Sorry have only just seen the developments on this thread. If you take a look back at some of my posts and the hassles I had with the Landlord after sorting out my flat! I was soo annoyed with the fact that he would not replace a seriously dangerous window. As said I negotiated 6 weeks rent free based on the quotes I got for doing the place up and also a 12 month agreement. Had the landlord been decent I may have stayed for longer. AS it happened my life moved in a different direction and I walked at the end of my 12 months. Unfortunately my LL asked my intentions with 2 weeks left on the contract otherwise the first he would have known about my exit would have been the keys through his door! Not something I would recommend but I felt no need to be courteous to the man.

I hope you have found a new place to live... this one rings too many alarms xx

pooks
31-01-2008, 20:18 PM
I asked for a copy of the contract in advance which I have had a solicitor friend check over. Its all pretty standard stuff to be honest.

I have also asked the Agent to ask for a 12 month contract instead of the proposed 6. I feel, as someone earlier mentioned, that if I am to sink £1000 of my own money cleaning and decorating the place I at least want to get some monies worth out fof it. Im still waiting in hope.

We are due to sign on Saturday morning. We desperately want this house, and if we dont take it someone else will snap it up.

My agent keeps assuring me that the LL is respectable and wouldnt do this that or orther, but Im sure shes just keen to get another letting off her hands and will say pretty much anything.

One of the big plus points of this house is the fact the LL will take a dog. Everywhere else Ive looked are not interested in pets at all.

I will keep you informed of any further developments and I am sure I will be back for more advice.

pooks
31-01-2008, 23:28 PM
I am driving myself mad with this. I am really starting to get cold feet. As much as I really really want this house I am so not happy having to get proffessional cleaners in and decorate it top to bottom, not to mention getting rid of the previous owners rubbish.

Even if I am only there for 12 months it will cost as mentioned above £1500 to carry out this work so really doesnt make the rent that much of a bargain. I am really starting to talk myself out of this.

The main reason for wanting this house is the area. Its a great area, close to family etc. I think this is what is pushing me to take it.

Having read all the advice given on here, I am getting the feeling that I should walk away. I am in no hurry to move as I currently rent form my Uncle at a reduced rate, but we;ve outgrown the flat now we have a child. Its time to move on but maybe we're going to quickly. We did see two or thee other properties that we;re immaculate inside, but I just didn't get the "feeling" I got when I walked into the one in question.

Ok ok, if I decide to back out of this, how does it work? I paid a £100 holding fee which I am sure to lose and signed the neccessary paperwork giving the letting agent permission to do our credit checks......thats it. Can I just walk away?

Bel
01-02-2008, 00:39 AM
As long as you havent signed the AST you can walk away no problem.

If you are torn then offer what you think its worth for you to proceed taking the £1500 into account; they either say Yes or No. You have nothing to loose (apart from your health when the stairs collapse!)

justaboutsane
01-02-2008, 07:16 AM
From my past experience I would walk away and forget the £100 .. its peanuts in comparison to the months of stress you could get if you sign on the dotted line! If you are in no hurry keep looking something will come up xxx

bagpuss
01-02-2008, 12:58 PM
I don't understand why a reputable company would want to let out one of their properties in the condition you describe. Most good LL's take a pride in their properties.

I agree it's a hoary old saying but no less true for that -
Act in haste, repent at leisure.

pooks
03-02-2008, 23:48 PM
Well its all signed! The LL agreed to a minimum 12 month lease rather than the usual 6 months, to pay the costs of painting....and he's sending Management company in this week to fix plug sockets/bannisters etc................so it all worked out well after all and I am over the moon!

I would like to thank you all for your advice, without which some of the above wouldnt have been rectified.

Many thanks again.

pete's properties
04-02-2008, 08:54 AM
I think the electrical stuff and safety re. bannister has to be done by law to be fit to let.

But I may be wrong! But either way watch your costs on these two items as you may be doing work he is obliged to do :)

Surrey
04-02-2008, 17:02 PM
While you're at it, make sure you get a valid gas safety certificate. This means that the gas equipment (cooker, boiler, gas fire, whatever you've got that runs on gas) has been checked. The certificate runs out after a year, so if there isn't a valid one at the moment, insist that the check be done FORTHWITH, as without it the landlord is, I think, committing an offence and of course, you want to be sure that the equipment is safe.

pooks
04-02-2008, 19:47 PM
I have all the safety certificates regarding all gas appliances, boiler and all electircs, it is all fine. The managemnet company have been in today and replaced the broken wall sockets and The banister has been repaired. So all is well. I met the Management COmpany Manager today who seemed like a really reasonable bloke, some good to have on my side for future complaints etc, hehe.

Surrey
04-02-2008, 21:47 PM
I have all the safety certificates regarding all gas appliances, boiler and all electircs, it is all fine. The managemnet company have been in today and replaced the broken wall sockets and The banister has been repaired. So all is well. I met the Management COmpany Manager today who seemed like a really reasonable bloke, some good to have on my side for future complaints etc, hehe.

NEVER assume that a managing agent is on YOUR side as a tenant. He is legally obliged to act in the LANDLORD's best interests, which at some stage or another may directly contradict yours. After all, it's the landlord who's paying him and he is the LANDLORD's agent.

Tenants MUST remember this simple rule for their own safety. The agent HAS to be on the Landlord's side 100% of the time.

pete's properties
05-02-2008, 08:39 AM
While you're at it, make sure you get a valid gas safety certificate. This means that the gas equipment (cooker, boiler, gas fire, whatever you've got that runs on gas) has been checked. The certificate runs out after a year, so if there isn't a valid one at the moment, insist that the check be done FORTHWITH, as without it the landlord is, I think, committing an offence and of course, you want to be sure that the equipment is safe.

yep I think they are breaking the law without one. I had to get one. Quite right too!

pooks
26-02-2008, 23:52 PM
Thanks again for all your replies. Just an update.

Yes we have gas certificates etc. The electrician has been in and checked all the elctrics too and put me some fancy light fittings up all over. The bannister has been fixed also! So far so good. LL was willing to help!

We painted it top to bottom and looks great and we are loving it here!

Thanks again for all your advice.