Being sued by tenant that hadn’t even moved in?Make Text Bigger
Grateful for some advice on a situation that has occurred. I use a managing agent to manage a property about an hour from me. Its a studio flat. The previous tenant was evicted due to rent arrears. Luckily I had RGI and eventually they paid out and managed the legal aspect.
I had to attend court to get possession. This was in Feb 2015 and since September 2015 the property has been on the market with the same agent. They then found a tenant and did the referencing. I asked for a guarantor on top of the passed reference, as the tenant lived with his parents and his financial situation did not sit comfortably with me, despite passing referencing. He produced a guarantor (his mother) and so I agreed to allow the agency to take him on as a Tenant and move him in (quickly within 4 days as he was in a rush).
Again I was not happy about this “rush to move in” again it sent alarm bells ringing in me, but still I agreed, subsequent to the agents reassurance that they felt sure about this tenant. Anyway so the tenant agreed to meet the letting agents local representative to be moved in. This is where the problems started.
The Monday after the move in I received an email from the agent for the following:
I arranged to meet your colleague, Letting agent representative, at the above property on Friday 5 November 2015 at 7.30pm to collect the keys and conduct check-in of the property. Letting agent representative was running late and did not meet me until 9pm, by which time it was too late to move in.
When I arrived at the property on the following day, I found it to have a single bed, some chests of drawers and boxes of items that did not belong to me in it. I understood that the flat would be unfurnished (apart from oven, fridge and washing machine). Upon further inspection, I discovered the following:
1. The repairs to the wet wall in the bathroom (caused by the shower screen being ill-fitting and not fit for purpose (and leaking water down the side of the bath when someone takes a shower) had not been carried out as promised by letting agent representative when she originally showed me the property.
2. The whole property had not been professionally cleaned, as letting agent representative was awaiting confirmation from yourself for this.
3. The front door frame appeared to have been forced, creating a crack in the door frame thus rendering the lock not secure.
4. The front door was, in fact, not a regulation fire door.
5. The electricity meter was showing £37 in debt and because of this there can be no confirmation that the services are all connected. (Clause 4.1.3)
On the basis of all of the above, I will not be taking up tenancy of the property. I now have the very serious problem of incurring extra rental costs because I am now in temporary accommodation. I have sought legal advice and require my one month’s advance rent and deposit paid back to me immediately as the landlord has not performed his part of the agreement and therefore ALL contracts that have been signed to do with this property should be considered null and void. I request your immediate assurance by return email that:
a) The deposit and one month’s advance rent held by Letting agent are returned to me immediately
b) Because of the above, the tenancy will not commence as the landlord/agent have not complied with the Tenancy Agreement.
I am extremely disappointed that Letting Agent has not put the property into the agreed condition and indeed a tenantable condition. I confirm I have already taken solicitor’s advice.
ADDITIONALLY: There was no evidence of a current Gas Safety Cert’ and cannot be one as the hob is in breach of current Gas Safety Regulations and should be considered IMMEDIATELY DANGEROUS being installed without the MANDATORY safety clearances from combustable materials. There was not a copy of a current Energy Performance Certificate and no Schedule of Condition has been agreed prior to taking tenancy of the property.
PLEASE NOTE THAT I HAVE NOT TAKEN ON THE PROPERTY AS REFERRED TO IN CLAUSE 2.7.1 OF THE TENANCY AGREEMENT AND RETAIN ALL RIGHTS TO CANCEL THE AGREEMENT UNDER THE DISTANCE SELLING REGULATIONS AND IN ADDITION THE PROVISION OF THE SERVICE HAS NOT COMMENCED AS REFERRED TO IN CLAUSE 8.4 AND THE GUARANTOR IS NOT THEREBY BOUND BY THE AGREEMENT.
I would appreciate an urgent response to this email by 13.00hrs today to the above email address.
This was the first I had heard of any of this and therefore I wasn’t happy at my agent, but they said they had been trying to contact me regarding cleaning and they could get the works done etc. I would have been happy to get these works done, but did not know about them when the agency agreed them verbally with the tenant. Also I explained there was a valid gas safe certificate issued only a few months back.
Further developments occurred subsequent to this whereby my agent suggested I release the tenant from the tenancy, but I have categorically said no to this as I believe that I will get the works done while the tenant is in occupation. This is where it got even uglier and basically the tenant’s guarantor said if I did not release him and the tenant from the tenancy he would report me to environmental health and HSE as he had a duty to do so.
As a result EH visited my flat. At the flat the EH officer found a yellow gas sticker ‘DO NOT USE’ on the hob. This was put on by the tenants guarantor who is a gas safe engineer. Also there was no working gas or electricity, as well as other faults of no smoke alarm, cracked door frame, blocked kitchen sink, water leak to shower screen, no cooking facilities.’
They served me an improvement notice which says there was no gas or electricity at the property. The reason for this lack of power was that there was a negative credit balance on the property (which was not dealt with by the agent) electricity meter.
I tried to explain to them the flat electricity credit meter needed topping up to get the gas and electricity working again and I was happy to pay the cost of getting this done and accepted the other works and would do them. However this was the first I was hearing about all of this. Also I explained to them that this complaint was made due to me not releasing the tenant from the agreement.
The RGI insurance for this tenant has not paid out due to not being at the property. The tenant has not paid rent for the last 2 months having paid the first month and also the 6 weeks deposit.
Ive since got a contractor to carry out most of the works (including new gas hob and certificate) all of which I am more than happy to carry out. However it seems the tenant changed his mind about moving in and moved back home and is now trying to use these issues as a way of nullifying the agreement.
Sorry for the long post but can someone advise me on what else they think I should do?
Thanks for any input
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