What To Do With A Terrible Letting Agent Who Laughs In Your Face

by Readers Question

10:31 AM, 26th September 2014
About 4 years ago

What To Do With A Terrible Letting Agent Who Laughs In Your Face

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What To Do With A Terrible Letting Agent Who Laughs In Your Face

I am a landlord of over 10 years now and I have to say I’m very rarely shocked, but I feel that this particular letting agent has over stepped the mark of what is acceptable behaviour and should be punished. What To Do With A Terrible Letting Agent Who Laughs In Your Face

The only problem is – I don’t know how to go about it and would appreciate other members views.

What would you do with a letting agent, who thinks that they are so big that they are untouchable?

About 3 or 4 months ago, 3 of my 1 bedroom self contained flats in Liverpool were issued with notices to quit by the tenants. A couple of them complained about the crappy service they received from my Letting Agent and at that time, I just put it down to grumblings from tenants who like to tell you the homes they are going to are always better etc..

I also was due to go into hospital for a major heart bypass operation and knew that I would be out of action for at least 3 months and so I asked my letting agent to start marketing some of my HMO’s in Liverpool and the Wirral also.

I then had extra keys made and arranged to drop them around at the letting agents. They must have had the keys for about a week before I went into hospital.

Everything was going to plan until my wife asked to see a copy of the tenancy agreements that they were going to use. As she didn’t have a clue what to look for and passed them over to me. I thought they would make interesting reading after the operation, (sad I know, but I love being a landlord).

When I eventually read them I nearly fell out of my hospital bed, with shock!

I don’t claim to know anything about the law, but I can smell trouble brewing and I immediately withdrew my permission to let my HMO’s through their business.

The reason for my actions was that it was plain to see that the tenancy agreements breached consumer protection legislation as they asked for tenants to sign pages to say that they had “Read and Understood” what they were signing, there were charges all over the place and the clauses were in fine print and could be construed as misleading.

I knew from articles on Property118.com and others that these clauses were specifically banned by the OFT.

In addition they had a clause in the agreement that charged tenants for the creation of a new AST, if the tenant ventured into the territory of a periodic tenancy. This sent alarm bells ringing in my head, because I had often wondered why tenants were leaving every 6 months and not just continuing their tenancies, like all my other tenants do?

When I ended their opportunity to rent, they obviously didn’t like it and a member of staff said that she would charge my wife £130 for each HMO they were no longer marketing. On the face of it I thought I had got away with a lucky escape and initially thought I might as well pay up. But then another member of staff spoke to my wife and said they normally charge £700 for each property, but as a gesture of goodwill they were prepared to reduce this amount to £300 each.

When she told me, I had to be held down as I was absolutely hopping mad. So I did what I normally do in such situations and did a bit of research. What I found out eventually put my mind at rest as I soon realised the letting agents didn’t have a leg to stand on as there were so many anomalies I doubt if I could have even brought a repossession case against a tenant through the courts with what they described as a tenancy agreement, it was a joke!

But I was still facing a bill of over £600 and so I put down in writing several of the breaches in consumer protection law that their tenancy agreement were causing and sent off the letter via my wife.

The letting agent eventually got in touch with my wife and said that they had decided not to issue any charges and that would be the end of any further problems…. or so I thought until yesterday.

You may recall at the beginning of this article, I said that I had some 1 bedroom flats in Liverpool that I was trying to let.

Well considering they are in an established area, we don’t ask for a security deposit, we do obviously insist on a suitable guarantor and we also accept LHA tenants, we expected that these properties would fly off the shelf. But they have been on the market for nearly 4 months and in all that time, we have only had 3 viewings and I’m not even sure about that.

So as I am still recovering, I had to make a promise to my wife to stay away from the business and so in an attempt not to break my word, we asked a friend who knows the flats to see what was wrong with the advertising.

Our friend got back in touch with us yesterday evening and told us what was the problem. I just couldn’t believe what the letting agent had done and neither will you, (I hope).

The letting agent, it would appear, out of sheer spite had placed maintenance pictures of our property when it had problems with black spot mould on the walls, a damaged kitchen and had specifically published maintenance department photographs sent to us privately, when previous tenants had made a complaint.

At that time we had arranged redecoration and to have fitted humidistat fans into the property at no small cost to ourselves, but at that time, I had refused their ridiculous quotation for them to do the works, which would have cost thousands across 4 flats.

In addition to their many crimes against their employer (me), they have published internal shots of a maisonette we own and claimed they were internal shots of the flats. Anyone viewing will think the flats have an internal staircase.

So later today, I intend to have a go at their company director, who needs sending to prison. But in the meantime, I would like to know from other members, what you would do in this situation, apart from sacking them as your agent?

I’m a big fellah and I don’t start crying easily, but can I sue for damages, name and shame them, break their windows or what?

I’ve lost nearly 4 months of potential rent, I’m having to pay council tax on 3 unoccupied flats and all this time, the letting agents have been telling lies and laughing behind my back. My only mistake was to trust that they would act in a professional manner, which they haven’t and hope that they would get these flats re-rented fast.

I think that deserves a good kicking, but I want to damage their reputation or business like they have tried to damage mine.

In the meantime, I still have these images to deal with that are plastered all over the place, gumtree, rightmove etc.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Regards

Gary Dully



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:37 AM, 26th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Gary

First off save the evidence. Go onto the websites and find your advert. Then right click your mouse anywhere on the page and then save as.

To name and shame see >>> http://www.allagents.co.uk/

Contact Rightmove etc. and make an official complaint, send them your evidence and a link to this discussion thread.

Do not threaten them or damage their property, you will land yourself in trouble with the Police.

If you want to consider suing for damages see >>> http://www.property118.com/member/?id=1945
.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

10:50 AM, 26th September 2014
About 4 years ago

I can well understand your anger...... but your first priority is to put your own financial house in order.... get new photos of the flats which are empty get them marketed and get some money coming in. The shite agent can wait a while.

taking positive action to improve things will help you rationalise your actions with regards to mismanagement later on.

good luck

Ian Cognito

11:20 AM, 26th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "26/09/2014 - 10:37":

I absolutely agree about saving the evidence which includes keeping a diary of events with dates, times and names. If unsure about exact date/time of past conversations or names of people spoken to, then don't guess, but make a note to that effect. This will ensure that your evidence cannot be disproved.

With regard to saving web-pages, as far as I am aware, Mark's "right click method" saves only the link (the size of the download is only about 50KB) in which case it will not work once the page has been removed or updated.

Therefore, also do a "print-screen" and copy this directly onto a word document for saving. Emailing this to yourself as an attachment will help to confirm the date.

Good luck Gary.

Mark Alexander

13:18 PM, 26th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Cognito" at "26/09/2014 - 11:20":

My method saves all the code making up the page, try it
.

Ian Cognito

16:03 PM, 26th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "26/09/2014 - 13:18":

Hi Mark. Yes it does work, even when a page has changed or been updated!

I asked my techie brother how a page full of graphics could be saved in a 50KB file. He said that the actual page is saved on the computer in a much larger file "beneath" the 50KB file.

He did also say that some websites prevent use of the "save as" function in which case a "print screen" might be the only option.

Mark Smith (Barrister-At-Law)

9:13 AM, 27th September 2014
About 4 years ago

You have a very strong case for breach of contract; this is not mere incompetence, but deliberate sabotage.
It is borderline fraud by abuse of position too, for which a private criminal prosecution could follow.

Please contact me via my profile for free advice. This may be best achieved via http://www.litigationwarranty.co.uk

Industry Observer

11:00 AM, 27th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Sue and when you get an Order they don't pay go for a winding up order instead

Mark Alexander

11:17 AM, 27th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "27/09/2014 - 11:00":

Winding up order does not protect them against criminal proceedings. Their personal assets are on the line, regardless of any limited liability status of the company - see >>> https://www.cotswoldbarristers.co.uk/private-criminal-prosecutions/

Where appropriate, private prosecutions are a far more effective remedy than civil litigation, not least of which being cost issues.
.

Industry Observer

10:02 AM, 28th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Must be a different name thought it was a winding up order. Someone told me about it many years ago he'd used it after not getting a Money Order paid by a major company.

Whatever it is frightens the pants off the recipient as it stops them trading until the debt is paid - he got his money within about a week of threatening to use it. I'll see if I can find out what it was called.

Mark Alexander

10:36 AM, 28th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "28/09/2014 - 10:02":

Statutory demand perhaps?

If so, yes this can be a very useful tool for a business which is still trading but ONLY IF there is an indisputable debt such as an unpaid judgement.
.

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