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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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This is regarding the relationship and law where we ( the tenant

Customer Question

This is regarding the relationship and law where we ( the tenant ) hold a Shorthold Tenancy agreement and the Landlord manages the property rather than the agent.
The agent is interfering in the relationship between us and the Landlord and although agreements have been reached about alterations to our property between us , the agent who should have no involvement is causing considerable problems and advising the inexperienced landlord not to stand by his commitment to us.
Is there anything we can do ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Could you tell me what involvement the agent has or had please? Were they just instructed to source a tenant (you)?

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

yes they were just instructed to find a tennant

Joshua :

Thanks.

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

The landlord agreed before , during and after the start of the agreement to make certain changes to the property

Joshua :

Could you very briefly tell me what agreement(s) you have reached with the landlord regarding alterations?

Joshua :

Thanks. Did the landlord agree to make these alterations before you agreed the tenancy and if so did he do so in writing?

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

yes, he agreed to put up curtain rails which were not present and repair or replace the bath

Joshua :

Thanks. Did the landlord agree to make these alterations before you agreed the tenancy and if so did he do so in writing?


JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

it was a verbal agreement

Joshua :

Does the landlord accept he made the agreement and would he acknowledge the agreement by email for example do you think?

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

he keeps agreeing to fix/make changes , then he appears to go back to the agent who advises him not to do it

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

he may do that

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

he is now saying he can't afford to do it - thus accepting he had originally agreed to

Joshua :

Thanks. the relationship between the landlord and the agent is between them. The agent (where he is formally instructed by or represents that he is acting for the landlord) is able to make decisions on the landlords behalf and his words and actions bind the landlord as if he said or did those things himself. Equally the agent is liable to the landlord if he commits the landlord to something he was not authorised to do. This is known as the agent and principal relationship and is the basis of agency law.

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

The agent has no rights over us though ? he keeps wanting to come round to us on behalf of the landlord ?

Joshua :

From your perspective the relationship or lack thereof between the landlord and the agent is limited in the legal sense to understanding whether the agent is or is not acting on the landlord's behalf if you have any dealings with the agent directly - i.e. you would need to know is dealing with the agent directly with the use acting for the landlords so that you can rely on anything he says or confirms. Beyond that there is little you can do directly with regards ***** ***** agent.

Joshua :

fundamentally, your issues one of evidencing the landlord agreed to the repairs/alterations he is now attempting to avoid.

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

the agent has confirmed in writing that the landlord is managing the property

Joshua :

Ideally, this confirmation would have been obtained in writing but that it wasn't does not mean that you have no hope.

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

isn't a verbal agreement a "contract" ?

Joshua :

Ideally, you would be able to obtain confirmation from the landlordeither directly or indirectly that he made the agreements you refer to property or taking out the tenancy. One of the simplest ways to obtain such confirmation is to email the landlord mentioning specifically the agreements that were made between you before entering the tenancy agreement and expressing your concern that the landlord has not honouring that agreement. If he replies in a manner which accepts what you say - i.e. doesn't deny what you say is true, then you have written implicit evidence of agreement on the part of the landlord

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

can I come back to you shortly

Joshua :

you are quite correct that a verbal agreement is just as valid as a written one. The difficulty with a verbal agreement is that one or both of the parties can deny what was claimed hence the value of written agreement as this documents what was or was not agreed. A verbal agreement is fine in this case providing the landlord accepts that he made the agreement.

Joshua :

Yes of course.

Joshua :

if you are able to show on the balance of probability that the landlord did agree to carry out the repairs or improvements you refer to then it's a binding agreement and the landlord is in breach of contract if he fails to do so. As a result, you can either require to do so necessary in court, all, perhaps more simply, carry out the work yourself by retaining a contractor to do so and look to the landlord for the costs. The only difficulty arises, as above, if the landlord denies that he agreed to carry out the works and you cannot evidence that he did so hence the suggestion impossible to obtain written confirmation from them on the point directly or indirectly, by email or otherwise.

Joshua :

You can obtain such confirmation, you have the basis of a strong claim against the landlord.

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

ok thanks

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

the other issue we have is noise from upstairs flat

Joshua :

A pleasure. Certainly - how can I help?

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

we are being disturbed by one resident in flat above us

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

it is often late i.e. after 11 pm

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

the greement for the flat is quiet between 10pm and 8 am

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

agreement

Joshua :

Is that flat also owned by the landlord? Are the disturbances his going about his normal business - e.g. moving around - or things like loud music etc?

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

no he is the owner

Joshua :

Thanks. Are the disturbances his going about his normal business - e.g. moving around - or things like loud music etc?

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

banging doors, running up stairs, his kids playing football !

JACUSTOMER-4trvpnwl- :

the first 2 things can be late at night

Joshua :

Thanks. There is an issue which you must consider which is that the House of Lords decided in 1999 in the case of London Borough of Southwark v Mills and Baxter v London Borough of Camden that a neighbour cannot be liable to a tenant who is disturbed by the ordinary and reasonable activities of a neighbouring tenant because of inadequate sound insulation between the properties. However there is a balance between what the neighbour may attempt to argue is normal use of the property and purposes other than normal residential use.

Joshua :

If you can show that the activities are not associated with normal use then there are a number of approaches you can consider as follows.

Joshua :

Under sections 79-81 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 local authorities have a duty to deal with any noise which they consider to be a statutory nuisance. A local authority may try to resolve a neighbour noise problem informally. If this fails and they are satisfied that the noise amounts to a statutory nuisance they must serve an abatement notice. This may require the noise to be stopped altogether, reduced or limited to certain times of the day. A notice must be served on the person responsible for the noise and they have the right to appeal within 21 days of it being served. If a person on whom an abatement notice has been served fails, without reasonable cause, to comply, he or she will have committed an offence. For offences relating to domestic premises and private vehicles, the magistrates’ court may impose a fine of £5,000 with a further fine of up to £500 for each day the offence continues after conviction.

Joshua :

You can consider taking your own action outside of the Local Authority by applying for an injunction against the neighbour if you can demonstrate that you are experiencing a statutory nuisance - noise, interference with your enjoyment of your property. This is quite seperate from the council's powers and a judge can serve an order on your neighbour forbidding certain uses of his property. You would need evidence of the nuisance you are suffering to have grounds for an application for an injunction. You can apply for an injunction on form N16A

Joshua :

http://hmctscourtfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=402

Joshua :

There is an application fee of £280 to apply for an injunction (recoverable potentially if successful). You will need to present evidence of the noise - recordings (the council has sound measuring equipment they can lend) and logs are usually sufficient along with yout own statement.

Joshua :

If the other party defends your application, you will need to be mindful of potential legal costs. If you are unsuccessful, you may be ordered to pay or contribute to their costs.

Joshua :

For this reason it is often worth looking at other options such as the council before applying yourself but there is no need other than being mindful of cost to do so.

Joshua :

Abatement notices do not incur a fee to you as it is a duty imposed on the local authority, though under the stretched financial conditions councils find themselves, it can sometimes be more of a battle to encourage a council to act than in years gone by.

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Joshua :

Has the above answered your questions satisfactorily?

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Joshua :

Has the above answered your questions satisfactorily?

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