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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69359
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I rented my property out using a local estate agency and paid

Customer Question

I rented my property out using a local estate agency and paid them to maintain the property on my behalf and during the tenancy the tenants complained in September of 2013 of condensation and mould. The problem got progessivley worse up to the point that the tenants could no longer use various rooms and I took the advice given to me at the time by the estate agents contractors and workman to fit in trickle vents, humidifiers etc all at a huge cost. The estate agency told me they felt the tenants were over reacting and that the problem was not that bad yet the problem got so bad that water was running down the windows. On the 23rd of December it was finally realised (after my parents demanded them to lift up the floor boards) to find broken pipes which were never detected and subsequently have caused huge cost to me and I now find out I have the wrong insurance to cover for this. Is there any legal action I can take as I feel the agent who was acting on my behalf has been negligent. Katherine
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

What loss have you suffered please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have lost all rental income in the property since October 2013 plus other costs for works carried out. To date I have paid : £2,924 for the works carried out so far and need to pay another £6,433 to get the property back into the state I rented it out at.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

How long does a reply to your question take? Just want to make sure I haven't missed anything.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I'm having a few connection problems at the moment. Please bear with me and I will answer your question fully as soon as possible.

Thank you for your patience.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Sorry for the delay.

The agent is in breach of the provisions of the Supply of Goods and Services Act and also in breach of contract if they would be paid to maintain the property on your behalf.

They have failed to carry out the job with reasonable care and skill. If your parents thought to lift the floorboards up, it is certainly not unreasonable to expect an agent.

If you lose rental because of this problem you may have a claim for lost rental. Any consequential loss is called pure economic loss and must be "within the contemplation of the parties".

That means that if there is any breach of contract or of the Act any consequential loss must be some something that the parties realised what would happen.

The loss must also be reasonably foreseeable. If an agent is letting a property and is being paid to manage and maintain it, and they do not do so or they do so negligently, I think it is quite reasonable to assume that if there is damage to the property and it could not be let out, the landlord would lose rent.

What it comes down therefore is to how much of this damage is caused by the delay. It cannot be all of the damage because all of the damage is not necessarily the result of the breach.

The repair would have been required anyway. The lifting of the floor would be required anyway. Depending on how long this has been going on, redecoration probably would not have been.

It is necessary therefore to get an estimate of how long this has been going on and what the cost of the repair would have been and how long it would have taken had the matter been dealt with within the first (say) month rather than being left for a considerable period of time.

Once you have that information you are in a position to put that to the agent although if the agent will not pay up, you are obviously faced with taking them to the Small Claims Court.

Here is the link to the Small Claims Court where you can issue proceedings relatively easily www.moneyclaim.gov.uk

You are going to need substantial evidence to support the amount of your claim.

Jo

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