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Conflicts Of Interest

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:( Hi, I am new to this forum, but I have been looking high and low for a place to get advice and experience from other renters like me, so I'm just going to plough on- but I'll spare you most of the gory details.

When I came to visit a two bed flat, in a new-build in the East Midlands, I was told by the sales rep that the MD of the estate agent was married to the landlord, so was a 'special concern' of hers. I had at the time a couple of weeks till the end of my current rental agreement at that time, and when I mentioned this, the sales rep said that to reserve the property (take it off the market) I would have to pay the six months in advance. I didn't, but I think the request is significant - but please tell me, somebody, if you think I'm just mad!

Well, as it turns out, the flat (ground-floor) is being affected by subsidence - a major crack having been spotted on the outside corner of the building where my flat is, and a leak under the ground of the bathroom (where pipes lie for the above flats) which, after lifting the plastic flooring, we have now found to have spread and developed over the whole of the bathroom floor. Before I discovered this, I was agonising over mould in the bathroom, which reappears every couple of weeks or so over the grouting, and other nooks, like wet moist molasses, and also up a cavity wall, behind which the same piping as before goes up.

That's some of the gory stuff done. I'll try to be concise about the rest!

Firstly, the 'married partner' of the landlord who works for the agency: she never refers to the spouse (& v.v); has a different surname/ different address; she is a company secreatry for the agency along with the landlord who is the director; her daughter ( or at least s.b. who has her surname) works as a receptionist and filters all incoming calls to the agency, and appears to have direct knowledge of properties.

2nd: for the address of the landlord for my contract, the agency's branch address is used/ and when an electrician's costs had to be invoiced to me, it was sent to me by a different company of the landlord, with a PO box address. My rent is sent by direct debit to this landlord's company, rather than the agency also.

(3rd: based on hunches also, the previous tenants left in a rush, there being a HUGE pile of mail when we moved in. We are still getting gas/ water demands six months on. Amongst other queries, one predominates - because the landlord said that she had changed the floor of the bathroom from carpet to plastic flooring because they had also had problems. So she must have known before we moved in about the leak, and mould - breach of health and safety?.)

As my only jury to date, could you tell me if I am MAD to think that the 'MD' of the agency and the landlord, are not married, and that it was a fudge to give us a sense of 'security', and a tax dodge mechanism to the agency, because they wouldn't have to put the agency's commision on the agent's tax books then. And was the contract unfair, having the agent's branch address under the landlord's name, thus not giving me any chance of redress if I had needed it.

I have scoured the internet, and it is clear that it is illegal not to declare a personal interest in property that you are selling, but there is absolutely nothing about landlord-agency collusion. Does anyone have any experience?!


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Advice on Shelter might be a good place to start

Giving the tenant certain information

All landlords have to give their tenants their name and a UK contact address. If the property is managed by a letting or property agent, they must also provide you with the landlord's full name and address.

Any requests should be made in writing, you should also keep a copy of the letter and send it by recorded delivery, if you want proof of postage. If you don't get a reply in writing within 21 days of them receiving your letter, the landlord is committing a criminal offence.

Your next step could be to report your landlord to your local council's tenancy relations officer (TRO). TROs can get involved in disputes between landlord and tenants and can even prosecute the person who does not provide this information. You should also be able to get your landlord's details from the Land Registry. You can do this online by filling in a form and paying a small fee.

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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