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heather5

Lettings Agent Making Official Complaint About Me - What's Involved?

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Hi Guys

Any advice gratefully accepted.

Lettings Agent have said:

"We will be writing to you to confirm, that we have lodged this as an official complaint and it will now go through our Company Complaints Procedure."

What does this involve?

What can they do to you - does this involve going to court - fining you or asking you to leave?

Background:

Took out a one year lease - having asked if LL was a longterm landlord - and assured was.

Moved in - few weeks in - asked to reduce 1 year contract (never received signed by landlord) to 6 months - refused - saying sounded like they wanted to sell and I had spent money on checks and £500 moving costs.

Moved in and discovered no hot water for a bath (no shower) - and only 3 inch bath possible (complained nothing done) lost heating as well - during winter months - finally dealt with June. 1 week of men in and out. Other stuff not right - but still not sorted out.

With 4 months to run on agreement property valuers sent round to put on market - told would be sold to BTL - but also marketed generally. Marketing material does not state tenant in situ.

At the time I was told whilst at work - LL entered the premises without permission.

Since then - requests for viewings - always calling at work during work time. Because of past experience was assured by EA he was showing tenants - but then got calls from others I'd never met. Didn't know their names in advance.

Have never refused valuation, viewings. Have always left premises tidy and clean.

Got fed-up with calls at work - and no control over quiet enjoyment - so sent e-mail threatening that I would change locks if they didn't allow me 1 day a week no viewings and adhered to 24 hours notice + if LL entered property again unapproved.

What can they do to me for sending an e-mail saying they have been failing to regard my rights as a tenant?

What is this process they are talking about?

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you should seriously visit the landlordzone forums, they are most helpful on there. Looks like they are a bunch of cowboys tbh, in those circumstances you could have had the work done and docked it from the rental iirc. Certainly their internal complaints division can do sod all to you - except convince the landlord to evict you. Personally I would consult a lawyer and go for a harrassment case.

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Hi there,

I have been in this position many times. Although I am an excellant tenant and have never been evicted or been taken to court, I have had to sue (in the small claims court) every single one of my landlords to recover bond at the end.

I have also been harrassed by landlords and lettting agencies in every single flat I rented.

The situation is that you have the right to quiet enjoyment of the flat. However, the Landlord (and his myriad agencies) have the right to enter the flat with notice for repairs, emergencies and indpections.

There is no "official complaints proceedure". It doesn't exist and agents make this up as they go. They may have someting written down but it's not going to be fair or legal and they have no jurisdiction over you.

They can either take you to court or take you to court. Given the descripton you have given the court may well be sympathertic to YOU.

I have taken legal advice in exactly the situation you are in. I was advised to take notes and photos of the harrassment - i.e. the visits from agents and the LL. This is to show the "other side" that if you are taken to court you will have the evidence to defend yourself.

The only way that they can enforce access to the flat is through a court order. This takes time and money on their part. You get to defend it.

It would be very unusual for them to do this. In my case it never happened although they kept sending letter after letter threatening me. This is intimidation and part of the game for them. In one case the LL refused to give my bond back and tried to take off the legal bills he had encrowed trying to intimidate me. The small claims court awarded all the money to me. If I have to do this again I will ask for damages and so things more thoroughly.

What I suggest is that you send a registered letter to the landlord with a copy to the agent. Show them that you mean business and are savvy enough to defend yourself.

Say in the letter (and in dispassionate terms) that there appears to have been illegal access to the flat. Remember that your LL doesn't care about you or your peaceful enjoyment of it.

Also remember that if you say anything in this letter your LL may use it against you in court or to intimidate you. You will have to be devious.

Say that in order to maintain security that you may need to change the locks. Say that "someone" appears to have entered the flat and you don't know who. Ask the LL if he could arrange this for you.

Do you have a cellphone that you no longer use? We had an old one and I said to the agent that ALL calls most go to the cellphone. I said that all access had to be approved first. I took the old cellphone to work but left it off. Listened to it at night only and every couple of nights if I was ill or busy. I allowed access to the flat for one afternoon a week only.

I refused to take any calls from them to my landline etc and hung up. For the "stranger calls" I reminded them that under the data protection act my details were confidential. Ask them where they got my details from. Ask them to write to me with their requests so I could trace the data protection problem.

Remember that there people don't care about you and would sell their own Mother if given a chance.

Just a few ideas - let me know your thoughts

Edited by Flopsy

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Hi there,

I have been in this position many times. Although I am an excellent tenant and have never been evicted or been taken to court, I have had to sue (in the small claims court) every single one of my landlords to recover bond at the end.

I have also been harassed by landlords and letting agencies in every single flat I rented.

The situation is that you have the right to quiet enjoyment of the flat. However, the Landlord (and his myriad agencies) have the right to enter the flat with (and sometimes without) notice for repairs, emergencies and inspections.

There is no "official complaints procedure". It doesn't exist and agents make this up as they go. They may have something written down but it's not going to be fair or legal and they have no jurisdiction over you.

They can either take you to court or take you to court. Given the description you have given the court may well be sympathetic to YOU.

I have taken legal advice in exactly the situation you are in. I was advised to take notes and photos of the harassment - i.e. the visits from agents and the LL. This is to show the "other side" that if you are taken to court you will have the evidence to defend yourself.

The only way that they can enforce access to the flat is through a court order. This takes time and money on their part. You get to defend it.

It would be very unusual for them to do this. It is easier to serve you notice under the terms of your agreement.

In my case it never happened although they kept sending letter after letter threatening me. This is intimidation and part of the game for them. In one case the LL refused to give my bond back and tried to take off the legal bills he had run up trying to intimidate me. The small claims court awarded all the money to me. If I have to do this again I will ask for damages and do things more thoroughly.

What I suggest is that you send a registered letter to the landlord with a copy to the agent. Show them that you mean business and are savvy enough to defend yourself.

Say in the letter (and in dispassionate terms!) that there appears to have been illegal access to the flat. Remember that your LL doesn't care about you or your peaceful enjoyment of it.

Also remember that if you say anything in this letter your LL may use it against you in court or to intimidate you. You will have to be devious.

Say that in order to maintain security that you may need to change the locks. Say that "someone" appears to have entered the flat and you don't know who. Ask the LL if he could arrange this for you.

Do you have a cellphone that you no longer use? We had an old one and I said to the agent that ALL calls most go to the cellphone. I said that all access had to be approved first. I took the old cellphone to work but left it off. Listened to it at night only and every couple of nights if I was ill or busy. I allowed access to the flat for one afternoon a week only.

I refused to take any calls from them to my land-line etc and hung up. For the "stranger calls" I reminded them that under the data protection act my details were confidential. Ask them where they got my details from. Ask them to write to me with their requests so I could trace the data protection problem.

Remember that these people don't care about you and would sell their own Mother if given a chance.

Just a few ideas - let me know your thoughts

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Surely they mean that they are taking your complaint seriously, i.e. the official complaint process is not against you, but is looking into your complaints with the aim of maybe resolving them to your satisfaction.

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Surely they mean that they are taking your complaint seriously, i.e. the official complaint process is not against you, but is looking into your complaints with the aim of maybe resolving them to your satisfaction.

I agree. It sounds like you have been treated appallingly, and they have trampled over your rights to quiet enjoyment, and that having complained, they are following their own complaints procedure. There is no such thing as an official complaint otherwise, how are they going to complain about you? Who are they going to complain to? Your Mum?

Don't be so afraid of them, you clearly are terrified and are allowing them to shortchange you badly in terms of your rights. It is unacceptable, and you are being bullied appallingly.

You should not put up with things like lack of water. Write to them and tell them they have 7 days to make arrangements to fix it, and if they do not make arrangements within this time, you will engage someone yourself and withhold money from the rent to cover it.

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Hi Guys

Thank you so very much for your replies - and well thought out arguments - and your fighting spirit - perhaps something I am lacking but with such support am encouraged to develop.

It is turning into a nightmare - with constant calls at work, lights left on after last viewings - sometimes I don't get home until late - so they've been on for hours. I'm staying late at work so they can do their viewings - or else changing my schedules to make sure I'm not there.

Despite asking for 24-hours notice - am being asked for requests to show "now".

The threat of taking me to their Complaints procedure - which they said would be followed-up by a letter immediately sent has not materialised - although I got a note from the Post Office saying that they were trying to deliver a registered letter that had not got any stamps on - so I have to collect - may not be from them though I've checked with Family and Friends - and they all say not them.

Am now detailing everything as suggested. I don't own a camera - but have borrowed one from a friend who has a spare one, and will do photo evidence too.

Thanks for the suggestion of Landlordzone - will post there too.

Regarding the water and heating fiasco - eventually the LL did invest in changing the boiler etc, but only because at the time the govt were introducing HIPs for all properties being sold - no, I got no compensation - but I didn't know that this was possible and so didn't ask.

Think it gave the game away when the heating/water was sorted out - that they were intending to sell, again because it was the HIPs crisis and before the govt withdrew it from being enfroced on all properties.

Thanks again for all your help, advice and support - particularly Flopsy!

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Thanks Heather,

I learned through bitter experience and was not this stroppy when I started out....

Why not leave the letter at the PO and then it will be returned to sender.

A resource I found really good was through my local council (Westminster). They have a tenants/landlord helpline with great people.

Good luck! Please let us know how you get on.

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Hi Guys

Thanks flopsy for your latest advice - and I've done just that - went to the post-office - who confirmed no stamp on the letter and there was nothing giving away who it had been sent by - but the kind post-office man - shook the envelope and revealed the name of the EA/Lettings agent. He said I was totally within my rights to refuse it and confirmed what you said - it will go back to sender and they will have to pay the stamp and handling charge.

Call from EA late this afternoon at work - we have viewings tomorrow - I said no-one has notified me - he said I had been notified - I asked when - and by whom because I had not been notified - he said in any case doesn't matter now because the house is under-offer - says the new owner wants to view the property tomorrow at 3pm - so have allowed it as it was only just within 24-hours - but the attitude was one of "your are a liar" - as suggested by Flospy - I've been making a record of viewings/notification - so know I wasn't notified.

Did remind the guy that I wasn't due out until middle of January and that the prospective owner was aware of this - hessitation - and then yes, "of course".

Since it was only the Senior EA I had been talking to and e-mailing on my moving out date - my gut feeling is - this guy didn't know - but is going to play it anyways.

Think I am beginning to understand what Flopsy was saying last post - I'm not a nasty person - but am now being forced to be with this an other experiences.

EA did say - be grateful - we don't have to do any more viewings after Saturday. Duh, like you should be doing viewings anyways during my tenancy.

I do think this is absurd - that you move in to rent somewhere - but at any stage the owner can sell - you are not recompensed for your time or inconvenince - and taking out a long-lease is not protection.

I always thought that LL's liked people who wanted long-leases.

This is the last straw - I'm now going to put everything in storage and just rent rooms in shared houses (difficult at my age) or to rent a bed-sit on a monthly basis.

Also now you've fired me up to write to my MP - and put it to them about all of this stuff - and the constant changing hands of rental property within fixed term contracts. Plus - I'm now sure that the Lettings Agent will target my deposit.

Thanks for all the support you guys - you've spurred me to fight this out!

See how it goes?

Thanks again! With your help I've retained my sanity and stopped the "Why me" thing. Colleagues at work only have good stories to tell and are miffed I can't - for awhile I wondered if it was "me" - but thanks to you realise it isn't personal!

Love to you all.

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