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Quoth

Unresponsive Letting Agent

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Hi all,

We've been renting since November last year and we're now in our second 6 month AST.

At the time of renewal (early June) I sent through a letter listing a number of items of work that needed doing. After a week I hadn't received any response to my letter so tried phoning and emailing and eventually made contact (about 10 days after the letter). They claimed to have not received the letter although I sent it recorded delivery and I know it was received.

Subsequent to making contact we were visisted by two separate companies to make an assessment and provide quotes for the jobs needing doing. Later on a plumber was sent who sorted out a number of the taps we were having issues with (these issues dated back to the start of our tenancy).

Apart from the plumber visit we haven't heard anything more from them. I emailed them on 25 July to ask them what the state of play was but have had no response so far. Some of the issues need to be resolved before the winter (window seals for example) as we're expecting our second baby in November.

As far as I'm aware I've carried out my duties as a tenant by informing them of maintenance issues but what responsibilities do they have as letting agent/landlord? How can I force the issue? Can I force the issue? At the moment I'm just sending emails asking for updates which doesn't seem to be achieving much.

Regards,

Q

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I'd suggest you write to them again and say that if the jobs aren't done by a certain date (give it two weeks) then you will obtain quotes, get the work done and deduct the cost from the rent.

I think you need to get three quotes for each job, and then choose the cheapest one. Send the invoice to them and adjust your standing order accordingly. You'll probably find that simply saying you will do this will prompt some action as LAs usually want to use some dodgy cheap cowboys to do jobs. It might even pay to write to the landlord.

My last flat was agency managed and the day we moved in the bloody shower didn't work. I told the agency and they sent someone round. The guy said it was broken and a new one would be needed, but he's need the agency to confirm the costs before it got done. They took weeks and kept saying they were waiting for a quote (seriously, how long does it take to get a quote for a power shower?). In the end I wrote a letter to the LL and surprise surprise I got a phonecall 2 days later to say the job would be done at the weekend.

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Yes, it takes them weeks to even send someone over to look at your problems!

Mine took 3 engineer visits (10days) before they realise that an engineer who was checking on our boiler switch of the water supply from the boiler to the shower. We were without hot shower for that time, had to use the bath, what a waste of time, money and water. Not to mention the pain of trying to get the agent to respond at all. Is there a name and shame letting agents website etc?

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I'd suggest you write to them again and say that if the jobs aren't done by a certain date (give it two weeks) then you will obtain quotes, get the work done and deduct the cost from the rent.

Thanks for the reply JohnnB.

I'm sure that the AST specifically excludes this? I'll have to check though.

How does this fit it with tenancy law? If it was a valid exclusion the tenant would have no remedy to get repairs done, i.e. they would be totally at the mercy of the landlord/letting agent.

Regards,

Q

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Yes, it takes them weeks to even send someone over to look at your problems!

Mine took 3 engineer visits (10days) before they realise that an engineer who was checking on our boiler switch of the water supply from the boiler to the shower. We were without hot shower for that time, had to use the bath, what a waste of time, money and water. Not to mention the pain of trying to get the agent to respond at all. Is there a name and shame letting agents website etc?

I suppose if they are a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents you could make a complaint? I don't know whether this would have any impact.

Regards,

Q

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Thanks for the reply JohnnB.

I'm sure that the AST specifically excludes this? I'll have to check though.

How does this fit it with tenancy law? If it was a valid exclusion the tenant would have no remedy to get repairs done, i.e. they would be totally at the mercy of the landlord/letting agent.

Regards,

Q

Theoretically not paying the full rent is breach of contract, but the OFT (OFT 356 section 3.26 http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/reports/u...rms/oft356.pdf) argue that all tenant must have the right to "set off" the legal term for using rent for repairs and hence the courts will probably not find in the favour of a LL who argues that tenant set off is breach of contract if they had failed to meet their 1985 LTA S11 obilgations in a reasonable time frame. Sadly things will often go wrong but it should be put right quickly

The important rule with set off is to give adequate written notice, in the case of basic provisions for living (heating, showers etc.) this of course is short days, for other less urgent S11 matters you are talking about a month.

Read the OFT guide, it is a great document to know your rights, it is not a legal obligation but is a framework used by the courts

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