Letting Agent behaving badly

by Readers Question

14:24 PM, 7th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Letting Agent behaving badly

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Letting Agent behaving badly

At present I live in a property and have had issue after issue with repairs. The biggest problem involved damp and mould to which I invited environmental health to view. They suggested many were living in worse conditions but my property was in fact poorly ventilated.

The letting agent was advised on recommendations to be made but these were not statutory. This issue effected my families health severely this winter.

I have recently found that the property was vacant for years and damp proofing had been done along with other major works. However things are practically falling apart such as door handles. locks, bolts loosening with use. This to me is related to the dormant period and now useage is highlighting smaller things. On top of this my letting agent is not very nice to me. Letting Agent behaving badly

Some issues are new and others have been previously communicated. It is effecting my ability to be confident as I am constantly dealing with issues. Is there anything I can do or someone who can help as my agent will not seem to take me seriously either and I anticipate blame coming in my direction is on the way, and a fight for my deposit of course!

Many thanks

Louise



Comments

Mark Alexander

14:35 PM, 7th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Louise

I'm sorry but from what you have said, I think you are the cause of the problems.

If the Council expert said the mould and damp problems were down to ventilation he's basically telling you that you need to keep your windows open more often. I suspect the issues are more likely to be caused by condensation which occurs when a property is not properly ventilated or given an opportunity to breath. Drying clothes on radiators, taking hot baths/showers, cooking and many other things create moisture which builds up into condensation.

With regards to loose door handles, your landlord/agent is perfectly entitled to expect you to get a screwdriver and tighten them up from time to time. I can quote you full case law that is well established if you wish but you can probably find it yourself with a Google search fort the phrase "tenant like manner".

The damages that you have explained may well be reasonably claimed against you and the case law very much favours your landlord/agent.

The action I recommend you to take is to read up more about condensation and ventilation and adapt your lifestyle accordingly. Grab a screwdriver and tighten up a few screws, decorate where any damage has been caused and apologise to your letting agency. If you do all of this they will be less likely to evict you and charge you for the damages that your lifestyle has caused.

I wish you well
.

15:01 PM, 7th May 2015
About 4 years ago

HI Louise,

To a degree i do agree with Mark, i too am a tenant and i contact my landlord for the big things like my shower going bang and the oven giving up the ghost, but the general wear and tear issues i deal with myself.
These sound like minor issues no more trouble than changing a light bulb.

However, if you genuinely feel that the Council have not inspected your property correctly, you can always instruct a local Damp specialist to attend the property and carry out an independent inspection, this will provide you with a report of the cause of the damp.
Many firms offer this service for free, it just a case of reading the T&Cs on the websites.
You have to remember as a tenant you have possession of the property, you are using it not the landlord, yes the landlord has a responsibility to maintain the building, but you as a tenant have responsibilities too
I’m sorry if this is not the answer you wanted to hear.

Julie

Gary Nock

18:54 PM, 7th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Louise if the LA say the property is poorly ventilated then there may be an issue with heating as well. Ambient background heating like central heating is better than short periods of direct heating such as an electric fire or even worse a calor gas heater. Calor gas produces loads of moisture and I will not allow them in my properties.

i have dealt with many cases like this and I know it's not what you want to hear but lifestyle as per Marks comments is the probable cause

Louise D'Andrea

19:33 PM, 7th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "07/05/2015 - 14:35":

Thanks Mark, I appreciate where you are coming from but in fact this was a slightly dumbed down version of events as the issues are weighty and needs more detail I gather now. However it is useful to hear how you see the situation from hearing the minimal. You do not need to tell me what the council meant as I am understood and I should have also concluded that he admitted that the house was also not insulated to government standard but that even disclosing such to the agent/landlord they are not statutory requirements. Water was also entering the property through the roof and loft and was extremely draughty.

When I mentioned loose door handles I should have also elaborated that in fact it was the rectangle part inside the handle that was responsible for the door turning that was an issue and my family at one point all got locked inside the bathroom and I had to use vanity tweezers to get out as phones were left outside. Afterwards I did my DIY bit and after 3-4 weeks the same thing happened this time leaving my 18 month old locked on the other side alone. It would seem the handle needs replacing. This was reported in December and still remains an issue. We now keep the bathroom door open.

The plot even thickens much further and I can assure the issues raised cannot easily be fixed by watching youtube or using DIY common sense. And the fact in the first 3 months of use the house had so many issues in fact shows a huge problem to me as a consumer. Let us think about when we buy a car or phone and bring the purchase home to only find fault after fault that should withstand daily use. We would exercise our rights to take a phone or problematic car back and either have a refund or replacement right? Well what if we purchase a faulty home?

I apologise my previous comments were so vague now, however I still have not even touched the tip of the issues I have faced as well as being subject to a dishonest tactic to get me to sign the contract in the first place that would have raised questions and made the issues I have faced more sense.

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment as it is helpful to hear all sides.

Louise D'Andrea

19:45 PM, 7th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Julie Ford" at "07/05/2015 - 15:01":

Hi Julie,

I appreciate also that you took the time to comment but please see that having one big problem and consistent array of little issues are not something you can compare. Would I rather have irregular large issues erupt every now and then as opposed to small issues every week? My last property I lived 7 years and had very few regular issues and when they did come they were big, but my landlord responded. My current landlord does not.

Please see my response to Mark as perhaps you replacing a complete door handle due to ill fitting is as easy as changing a light bulb to you but in fact require a level of skill from my experience and I have renovated a dance studio previous. Fact is if I move into a property I expect it to be in a condition fit for purpose and not falling to pieces at every touch. If there was a standard in the building to maintain I would seek to be in line with what was provided. However even though the decor was aesthetically pleasing, the details are poor and if since I arrived had nothing but problems I would say that my role was not to come and make this house fit for use. It should be supplied to me that way and I expect that much. However, if I was talking of council accommodation which I have also lived, I would then take full responsibility to turn nothing into something.

Thanks for your comments as gives food for thought

Louise D'Andrea

19:54 PM, 7th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "07/05/2015 - 18:54":

Hi Gary,

Thanks again for taking the time to comment. I can actually say the heating system is perfectly fine. The level of moisture in the house seems to retain at large levels. I do know there is a point in the roof that was leaking which was making the house wet in rain season. The main issues were present on wet and snow days. With better weather all is well. It is the wet days that causes problems. I know from neighbours extensive work was performed on the property that including damp proofing walls. Perhaps this has been a worse issue in the past. I have done some research and know that if you just simply damp proof over mouldy interior walls issues regarding inhabitant health will persist. The house got extremely wet and it was not like the others suggest down to just lifestyle, however I had to be even more cautious. Fact is I am very clued i how to prevent damp and condensation. Other properties I have lived required basic provisions. However this winter this particular property required careful considerations that could be seen as extreme measures. Nobody leaves their windows open in -2 conditions and I had to regular. I am also a believer in feng shui and opening fresh air to circulate is important to cleansing energy. It was a ritual every morning, but not as a must and need to prevent pools of water growing at windows.

Thanks again.

Mark Alexander

20:17 PM, 7th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Louise D'Andrea" at "07/05/2015 - 19:54":

Hi Louise

Sadly there are a few bad landlords like this. They annoy me because they tarnish the rest of us.

Have you spoken to Citizens Advice?

If not, when you do I suggest you produce detailed evidence and quotes for rectification.

Are your confident the letting agent is passing on your messages to your landlord? Have you tried to contact your landlord directly? If you don't know who your landlord is its easy to find out and only costs £3 via HM land Registry.
.

Louise D'Andrea

20:58 PM, 7th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "07/05/2015 - 20:17":

Hi again Mark,

I have not spoken to Citizens Advice as usually they tell me what I already know or can find on Google which is why I sought your site. Thanks for creating and managing extremely well by the way. I had expected if my issue submitted to wait weeks which would have been too late to inform. However if my agent responded to my communication as swiftly as you merely run your site whilst your business also I would not be in my situation.

I am not sure if agent is actually leasing with landlord or not as he has lied before. My evidence has been in the making all day today and I have compiled all I need to support my claims. Thanks as I notice my landlords address in the contract is lame as agent. I will seek information from HM land Registry and send him a copy of my escalated complaint. I'd rather be transparent and honest to all involved as I would have hoped be given in respect to me.

Many Thanks

Mark Alexander

21:08 PM, 7th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Louise D'Andrea" at "07/05/2015 - 20:58":

Hi Louise

Just bear in mind the landlord may be oblivious to the problems, therefore, copying him into a letter which is highly critical of the agent may help in more ways than one. I just hope you don't get evicted for it, that's the hallmark of bad agents/landlords who often end up working together.
.

Dr Rosalind Beck

15:23 PM, 8th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Mmm. I think whatever happens now, the landlord-tenant relationship is going to be spoiled and it sounds like this is only the start of your tenancy. I would say diplomacy is key and I wouldn't even use the word 'complaint.' It can be very easy to cause offence when you write to people (for example, I'm sure I'm causing offence now!). In the long run if you cause offence to your landlord and/or agent, they won't do you any favours.
Another point: I don't know why you would think you should take a greater responsibility to fix things if you rented a council house, compared to a private house. Why?
I also wonder what you mean by the situation having affected your family's health. You would have to be more specific about that. Do you have evidence from the doctor?
Finally, if you are so dissatisfied with your accommodation and landlord/agent, I think you should not renew your tenancy at the end of the period you have signed for and choose your next accommodation more carefully.


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