No tenant referencing, no consent and no friend?

by Readers Question

10:45 AM, 21st May 2019
About A year ago

No tenant referencing, no consent and no friend?

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No tenant referencing, no consent and no friend?

I decided to rent my property, as I was moving to India for an year to take care of my ill parents. I’ve handed over my property keys to the letting agent who I know and said that he has recently started his own letting agency, we’ve agreed on a fully managed service.

Things I came to know later, the agent who took the keys from me doesn’t own a letting agency, but using his friend’s agency.

The house is let without my consent and I’m told that the tenant is a friend of the so called letting agent, main point to be noted here there was no referencing done for the tenant.

I’ve asked for a contract and I’m told that they don’t do an agency and landlord contract. After the first month the tenant has said that he can’t pay the rent till 20th of every month, the agent has agreed and not let me know. I keep sending him emails and messages for the rent for which he hardly responds.

Into 5 months now the tenant has stopped paying rent and by the time the S8 is served, we have 3 months of rent in arrears and by the time of possession order we are 5 months in arrears.

Current situation: The tenant has passed his 14 days period and we are waiting for him to vacate the property, will be going to bailiffs in a day or two.

Questions:
1. Can I sue the agent who took the keys from me saying he has his own company. (Fraud/ criminal case)
2. Can I sue the agency for not referencing the tenant.
3. Can I claim damages from the agency for all the emotional and financial stress/ distress he has caused my family (including my parents).

Sunny


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Comments

Neil Patterson

10:48 AM, 21st May 2019
About A year ago

Oh dear, this sounds tricky with no paperwork.

Was there even a deposit?

I would start with checking if the agency belongs to a redress scheme and make a formal complaint.

KingSunny

10:56 AM, 21st May 2019
About A year ago

Hi Neil,
Thanks for your reply, there is a DPS in place and a contract for AST which were all done correctly. I know this guy who works for an agency and told me that he has his own agency, is he allowed to take away the key from me saying that he owns a company as I was leaving to India, I thought we can get the paperwork done after going to India, but the truth is doesn't own this agency.

Graham Bowcock

13:37 PM, 21st May 2019
About A year ago

This sounds like a serious case of misrepresentation and you need to deal with it urgently to get to the bottom of things. If the person you dealt with held themselves out as the owner of the agency I think you should raise it with that agency so that they know what their "friend" has been doing.

It begs lost of questions about the money aspect - who collected the rent and deposit? Who's bank did the money go into? Who raises invoices to you? Do invoices have VAT on? There may be a whole raft of fraud here.

It is always unwise to start a management contract without signing Terms of Business. No agency worth using would ever not provide TOB.

In the circumstances I think I would either self manage or appoint a proper agent to do the job. I hope you have a postal address for the fake agent; personally I'd write in the most robust terms (or better still get your lawyer to do it) setting out your position, removing any responsibility and confirming you will hold them responsible for your losses.

In response to your questions, you have referred to "the agency", but before you can take any action against them you will need to know if they were involved. Are they perhaps an innocent party, or did they collude with the "friend" in their dealings with you? If they knew what was going on then by all means have a go at them too.

Rob Crawford

15:53 PM, 21st May 2019
About A year ago

Was he an employee of the agency? You need to establish who the agent delivering the service is. Do you have a copy of the AST? The AST may give an indication. I bet the person you dealt with is of middle east or far east origin where the "introducer" middle man culture is rife!

Chris @ Possession Friend

17:07 PM, 21st May 2019
About A year ago

Sunny, answer to Q 1, 2 & 3 =
Yes.


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