18:28 PM, 21st May 2013, About 8 years ago 28
I previously posted information about a problem Estate Agent who had let my property in Dover to a family on DSS with 7 children contrary to my instructions of no DSS tenants and no pets. I was very specific about my requirements due to a nightmare and costly experience with a previous tenant on DSS who trashed my property.
On discovering that my agents had disregarded my instructions, I wrote a complaint to them holding them responsible for any loss of rent or for the cost of any repairs and evicting the Tenants or re-letting the Property. This culminated in a “desist” letter from a solicitor and immediate termination of Estate Agent services. I had also contacted the Ombudsman and after six months of waiting I finally received their report.
The Estate Agents denied that they had been informed of no DSS tenants and claimed that the tenants had never been on benefits; also that they had informed me by telephone that the tenants had 7 children and that this had been acceptable. Work had been required on the property but they considered these to be maintenance issues and they muddied issues of documentation which had not been provided despite repeated requests. They claimed that the property had been well managed until my unacceptable complaint which led them to withdraw services.
The Ombudsman confirmed that there was evidence that the instruction had been given and I had reminded the Estate Agent by e-mail of instructions prior to the contract with tenants. There was information in the contract which indicated that the tenants were on benefits and the DSS status of the family was recently confirmed by Dover District Council. The contract clearly states that there are 7 children and apart from the agents assertion that I agreed to this by telephone, no details were provided about the telephone call. (This telephone call never happened!!)
The Ombudsman considered that the Estate Agent had not followed my instructions not to accept tenants in receipt of DSS benefits and had not informed me of all relevant information about the Tenants at the time of application. Also supported was my complaint that the agent had not provided me with a copy of the Tenancy Agreement.
My insurance also is nullified and a suggestion of negotiation with insurance was made.
As regards compensation, the Ombudsman considered that it is the tenant’s responsibility to keep the place in good order and to pay costs of court action re: eviction. Likewise, eviction/re-letting costs are down to the landlord. The Ombudsman agrees that there has been aggravation and distress because of the performance of the Estate Agent and awarded £300.
I have the choice of accepting the award and the case will be closed, taking legal action or asking for reconsideration based on new evidence.
So while the Estate Agent walks away duly criticised and chastised, I am once again faced with a family with 7 children on DSS.
As there are no large properties for rent in Dover and Housing will not rehouse until the bailiffs intervene, costly eviction proceedings are on the cards.
The house is neglected and the entire house (5 floors) will have to be re-carpeted and redecorated. This cost me £13,500 in 2011 and is likely to exceed this amount.
I am not sure whether there is any room for manoeuvre and will be grateful for any advice that can be provided.
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