Estate agents trying to steamroll busy students?

by Readers Question

9:00 AM, 3rd December 2018
About 7 days ago

Estate agents trying to steamroll busy students?

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Estate agents trying to steamroll busy students?

My name’s Luke, I’m a student living in rented property in London and am currently experiencing significant problems with my LL, his estate agents AND his representatives.

On the 11th of August, me and my flatmates commenced our move into our new home, signed our contracts and moved in. The house was filthy, unprepared and had a multitude of problems. From an oven that has melted it’s plug and socket, old socks, leaves and dust under the beds, even poo stains in the toilet!

Whilst a nuisance it’s only a situation that required cleaning. I did this and emailed QP (LLs estate agents) to inform them off the problems, raise my concern with the state of the house, and state that the standard cleaning fee taking out of our deposit at the end of the year be waived, as why should we pay to clean when the property was not cleaned for us?

A few weeks pass and a sign appears outside our house “For Sale”, through an Estate Agent company. I, believing it to be for another house, think nothing of it and move on. The next day, 9pm, me and my partner are relaxing in bed, all my house mates have gone back home for a bit and the house is empty. I hear a set of keys to in the door, all of a sudden, 3 voices are heard walking into the house. I charge from my bed, expecting a break in, run downstairs and kick the door shut much to the complaint of whoever was behind it. After a stifled complaint, I open the door to reveal a man in a suit with two strangers. He informs me he’s with the estate agents and is here to do viewings.

I am obviously completely shocked, with no idea the house was for sale. Further information reveals that’s the fourth time he’s entered our property today. He very cheekily tries to complete the viewing, I tell him to leave, return his key to whoever he gave it to and I’ll deal with it in the morning.

Morning comes and I contact QP, who inform me that the estate agents are the landlords representatives in the selling of the “lease” of the house, including the contract of our tenancy. I am, quite fairly, enraged at the miscommunication and the idea that strangers are just being let into our house.

Eventually, I understand the situation and demand to be given 24 hours notice in future if they wish to continue viewings. As 2nd year Politics students, we are incredibly busy students. We all also work part time teaching English over Webcam in our rooms, meaning at times we cannot be disturbed. This begins a month of chaos.

Estate agent employees, would turn up daily without warning to carry out floorplans, and ‘attempt’ to take pictures. I refused the pictures, as I ‘believe’ is my right. It is we who have decorated the house and fully cleaned it. They now wish to come round and take pictures of our rooms now that we have filled them with our personal belongings, even though they have pictures from when we bought the tenancy agreement. The first time they turned up, I turned them away and rearranged for them to come the next day, which they did. They then try to come the day after this to do the floorplan again, I have to remind them they already did it yesterday.

They then tried to arrange a viewing for that week on the Wednesday. I got up early, tidied and cleaned the entire house for the viewing to be cancelled and us to not be informed. They then try to arrange one for another day, but don’t attempt to inform us till an hour before the 24hour mark, as no one picked up. They frantically peppered us with texts, calls and voicemails so we could confirm.

This continues as such for a while, I have countless more examples, but I think you may get the gist. The final straw came when they wanted to arrange a viewing and they rang each one of us, multiple times. One flatmate at a funeral, the other on a beach in Spain, and me and the other at work.

It seemed by this point they were taking advantage of us, I believed from the start that I had absolute no legal obligation for this to occur. So I started to fight back, I contacted our property managers at QP and informed them we will be hosting no more viewings. Citing our country with QP that states we are not liable for viewings until 2 months before the end of our tenancy and accusing them of infringing on our rights of “Quiet Enjoyment”.

Things go quiet for a few days until I’m contacted by our “new” property manager at QP, our case had been reassigned. This guy is adamant on being my friend and phoning me, despite my request that all forms of contact be in written form (for legal evidence). He explained that the contract with QP is not relevant to the Estate agents (LLs representatives) and the LL is allowed to have representatives view the property. I ask him if the strangers viewing the house are his representatives to which he replies “No”. He then makes veiled threats that the landlord ‘could’ attempt to find us in breach of contract. I find this unusual how the contract doesn’t affect the estate agent, but upon our involvement with them then the contract affects us. I ask him for time to discuss with my flatmates and come back to him.

In this time, I seek legal advice from a property lawyer who informs me that it is indeed a difficult situation but, ultimately, QP would have difficulties finding us in breach of contract as the estate agents have entered our property without our permission, and QP are infringing on our quiet enjoyment. I go back to the property manager and, believing his threats a bluff, I call him on it and say I wish him luck and if he wants to continue, to put everything in official documentation.

Things go quiet again until today, the property company have to schedule an emergency EPC? My knowledge of LL commitments are vague so I’m unsure to the legitimacy of this thought it does seem suspiciously timed. At the time of this EPC, the letting agent would like to come round to clear the air with us as well (enter suspicion).

The basic summary of this is that we are incredibly busy students and the letting agency are taking advantage of us with the viewings! We don’t have time to keep dealing with them, I’ve got mountains of work to do but they don’t seem to want to leave us alone and it’s driving me crazy! Is my argument valid, or am I fighting a losing battle?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Anything to point me in the right direction and alleviate my stress!

Kind regards
Luke



Comments

Michael Barnes

23:50 PM, 4th December 2018
About 5 days ago

Is the property let by the room or as a joint tenancy for all occupants?

If joint, then you are entitled to refuse entry to the property and to change locks.

If by the room, then the LL and his agents/representatives are entitled to enter the common parts but not your rooms without your permission. In this case you are not entitled to change the locks to the common parts, but you are entitled to change the locks on your rooms (I believe).

If you change any locks, then you must change them back before you vacate.

The LL has no duty to inform you that he is selling the property, but it would have been courteous to tell you and to have come to an arrangement that would allow viewings etc without inconveniencing or upsetting you.

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