Greetings all. Having been a 'spectator' for some time, decided to register as I could really do with lending an ear from one or two of the more experienced LLs out there.
Basically, I used a LA since getting married 3 years ago. Wife didn't want to live in my house due to location, so we rented somewhere closer to her work. Got my place all done up and quickly found tenants via the LA on 6 month short-term assured basis. They ended up staying for over 3 years and it was only because they started falling behind on rent I served them Sect 21 - and they finally left 2 months after the expiry date.
Anyway, when I got the keys back I was horrified at the state they'd left the place in - as well as the number of items they'd left behind. I'd rented it out mainly furnished (BIG mistake) and found that they'd either taken / sold / broken most of the items such as dining table and chairs being sawn up and used to kit out my shed as some kind of impromptu 'workshop'.
My grievance however, is with the LA because I was looking back through my records only to find out I'd not had an interim inspection report for over a year. When I queried this, they told me to "check my spam folder" as they'd changed their email distribution system and this was happening in some cases. Now I carefully check my spam folder and cannot recall seeing anything to do with inspections. More worryingly, they'd wallpapered my entire house from top to bottom (including the bathroom!) and pulled out all the media cabling from the walls, as well as a whole host of unauthorised alterations to the property (including changing locks).
Now given that tenants dont generally redecorate a place (that doesn't need decorating) when they've been served Notice - these things must have been done some time ago. If I've been paying them for full managment of the property then clearly I've not been receiving the service I've been paying for, given that the first time I noticed all the problems was when I finally got my keys back.
The tenants have agreed to release their entire deposit to me, which will probably not even cover half the damage they have caused or replace the items they have taken or damaged. But where do I stand with the LA? I know I'm partly responsible for not chasing up the inspection reports (if they've actually been done) - but surely the severity of damage / alteration of the property should have been flagged up to me as soon as it was noticed? My family and friends keep on at me to take the LA to court for not providing me with a service I paid for - but as I understand they just act on my behalf and from my limited experience cannot begin to understand how I would even go about raising this as they are an independent agent too.
Apologies for the long-winded explanation - but any advice would be most welcome. Thanks for reading.