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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69364
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I recently took on a tenancy through Your Move who fully

Customer Question

Hello, I recently took on a tenancy through Your Move who fully manage this property. On arrival the property was found to be uninhabitable and after much correspondence including the involvement of http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001xfs2 and interview on his show the agency undertook to fix the issues and sent written confirmation that there would be 10 days refund of rent to cover the period of work to bring it to an inhabitable state. Despite many requests this was never actioned and now the estate agency is claiming that the owner is not in agreement to the refund. I outlined the previous written pledge and sign off by the agent and said that I would pay August rent minus the outstanding amount. However, this morning I received a letter from their debt collection department for the amount. Earlier this year I suffered a brain injury and recruited a full removal and packing service to undertake the move so I could reduce stress, however, the company were unable to install my furniture at the time and the agency refused to cover any costs for their failings to have the property completed on move in date. Consigning I offered 3 months rent in advance as a goodwill gesture as the owners were hard up for money I was told, yet all promises to have the property in a clean, tidy state with all furniture removed and appliances fixed were not carried out as promised. Myself and two children were put up in a hotel and our belongings moved out so that the work could be completed. However, 3 months on an abandoned vehicle remains in the driveway despite promises it would be removed and the agency is unresponsive over the previous promise of a refund.
I would like to sue for compensation for the ongoing issue with the driveway being blocked, the stress and inconvenience caused over the past 3 months, the costs of removals which could not be carried out as a result of the agency's failings and the promised rent refund for the 10 day period so I avoid debt collection proceedings.
Can you help?
Many thanks, ***** *****
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

How can I help with this please?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hello, I recently took on a tenancy through Your Move who fully manage this property. On arrival the property was found to be uninhabitable and after much correspondence including the involvement of http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001xfs2 and interview on his show the agency undertook to fix the issues and sent written confirmation that there would be 10 days refund of rent to cover the period of work to bring it to an inhabitable state. Despite many requests this was never actioned and now the estate agency is claiming that the owner is not in agreement to the refund. I outlined the previous written pledge and sign off by the agent and said that I would pay August rent minus the outstanding amount. However, this morning I received a letter from their debt collection department for the amount. Earlier this year I suffered a brain injury and recruited a full removal and packing service to undertake the move so I could reduce stress, however, the company were unable to install my furniture at the time and the agency refused to cover any costs for their failings to have the property completed on move in date. Consigning I offered 3 months rent in advance as a goodwill gesture as the owners were hard up for money I was told, yet all promises to have the property in a clean, tidy state with all furniture removed and appliances fixed were not carried out as promised. Myself and two children were put up in a hotel and our belongings moved out so that the work could be completed. However, 3 months on an abandoned vehicle remains in the driveway despite promises it would be removed and the agency is unresponsive over the previous promise of a refund.I would like to sue for compensation for the ongoing issue with the driveway being blocked, the stress and inconvenience caused over the past 3 months, the costs of removals which could not be carried out as a result of the agency's failings and the promised rent refund for the 10 day period so I avoid debt collection proceedings.Can you help?Many thanks, ***** *****
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

Ok. So what is your question about this?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
How should I proceed if they continue with debt collection and should I take a small claims against them?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I have already paid. Will you be corresponding via email?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

so, in short, you haven't paid the full rent?

Because you say you were owed something?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
No, I was told by the Estate agent that my first 10 days rental would be refunded and that this had been signed off and would be applied within 14 days. When I did not receive this after 70 days I said I would deduct from August rent which I did. Now they are saying I am in debt for rental payments.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

Yes, as we said.

Do you have a written record of their offer?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
via email.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Date:23/06/2016 12:09 (GMT+00:00) I have made the adjustment on the system for the rent free period this will be processed in accounts and can take up to 14 working days to show back in your account.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I am sorry for the initial experience you encountered at the beginning of the tenancy. I believe the works have all been carried out now. I have contacted your Landlords about the last couple of outstanding issues, the car and rent free period.
However, after speaking with them at length, at this point they will not allow for the rent free period to go ahead. This is because of all the expense they have incurred. Whilst this is not your problem, I would just like to advise you that they are really not in a position to agree to this. As you can imagine there was a lot of contact with the Landlords to address the maintenance, hotel etc. This was all verbal to quicken the process as they are overseas and not computer literate. For this reason the instruction on the rent free period was verbal.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
The last message was sent On 4 Aug 2016, at 23:56
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

At the time of the first email had you moved in?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Contracts were signed and rental start date was 11 June. On viewing property once I got keys it was clear no work had been carried out. I was told all work would be completed by our arranged move in date on 16th June. I offered to delay my move in date a week to give them time. They refused. On arrival on 16th removal men could not access most of the house due to furniture not being removed. Oven did not work, sewage on bathroom due to leak and carpets had not been replaced. Cleaning had not been carried out, and much more.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

Ah OK.

That is different.

Just to be clear then the reduction in rent was not a condition upon you moving in?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
No it was offered as the result of us moving in and the house not fit for occupancy until 22nd June
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

Yes, but was it before or after you moved in?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
After we moved in. We moved in on the 16th. The offer was made on 23rd June
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Is a landlord (legally) bound by his agent's agreement in writing to the tenant if they fully manage the property?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

It depends really.

If it was offered to you as a condition upon moving in then it must be honoured as it is part of the agreement.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

If it was just an offer made in the interests of good business then they can retreat from that.

It is not good business of them but they could.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

It is quite unlikely they would sue anyway.

It will be a fairly low sum of money.

Nobody can guarantee that but that is unlikely.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

Failing the contract point you would have to argue that it was due on the basis of the condiion of the property but it is fair to say that it is not likely you would get a full rent reduction on this basis. They are rare overall.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
No but they can refer me to a debt collection agency which will cause me further stress, money etc. Did the agency or landlord not break the contract by not having the house in a fit condition? surely the contract should cover this responsibility which is why they agreed to refund the 10 days?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

Yes, they could.

Debt collection agencies can be instructed for any reason.

All they can do is write and phone though.

You could argue that it was due on the basis of the condiion of the property but it is fair to say that it is not likely you would get a full rent reduction on this basis. They are rare overall.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

The reason they have retracted from it is that they have realised they were not liable for a full 10 days reduction.

Whether or not that gets over the hurdle is another matter.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
even though they gave their confirmation in writing - with a time period - for refund and I have no contact with the landlord, and that this cost me financially and medically, and that all property upkeep was promised for 6 weeks before my agreed move in date and the agent failed to manage this, the law is on their side?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

It depends really.

If it was offered to you as a condition upon moving in then it must be honoured as it is part of the agreement.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

If it was just an offer made in the interests of good business then they can retreat from that.

But then you could drop down upon the disrepair point although it is not likely you would get a full reduction.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
It wasn't a goodwill offer but in writing as follows: Change of date on the Tenancy Agreement – With reference to the change of date on the tenancy agreement, I can confirm that a ‘Rent Free Period’ has been raised. This will refund the rent from the date of occupation to the date agreed the rent would restart. Michelle did inform you via email that this has to be signed off, authorised and raised for reimbursement to yourself. The date will not change on the agreement, however you will receive the equivalent rent to reflect the new date agreed.What about Consumer rights and agency professional incompetence?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
professional negligence.https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/319820/Lettings_guidance_CMA31.PDFGiving misleading information to consumers3.16 It is a breach of the CPRs for businesses to give misleading information to consumers, for example by making false or deceptive advertisements or statements, where this causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to take a different transactional decision. This is known as a misleading action (regulation 5).3.18 Misleading information may be given verbally, in writing or visually. In the context of lettings,3.22 In the context of lettings, examples of a misleading omission7.5 You should check in particular Any work the landlord has agreed to carry out, or is required due to housing legislation, is done. The property is ready on the date agreed with the tenant.7.9 You should make sure that if you take an inventory of the property, it is carried out and recorded accurately. Providing the tenant with an incorrect inventory could be a misleading action. One way to mitigate this would be to give the tenant sufficient opportunity to review the inventory, challenge any points of disagreement, and agree a final version. The tenant should be given a copy, together with other important information such as the gas and electricity meter readings, and contact details for the landlord and their agent.65
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

CRA doesnt apply. This is not a consumer product.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

It is difficult to ascertain the basis for this offer. That doesn't read above as though you had moved in.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
We moved in and then were moved out for a night, the toilet was fixed and we were supposed to be in a hotel for a further 2 nights while other things were done but the landlord said he didn't want to pay for anymore nights and as the sewage leak was dealt with we could move back in. All our belongings were moved out 2 days later for carpets to be removed and new ones fitted and then the premises was cleaned. The check in was carried out on 21st which is why that was considered our new move in date. The contract would not be changed to that date but a refund for that period was pledged.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
The night we moved out was 17th
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

That would tend to suggest it was part of the contract then.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
if i decide to open a small claim for compensation would it be against the landlord or the agent? OR,
Do I wait until they prosecute or at the end of 12 months withheld it from my deposit repayment and refuse to give me a positive reference based on rent debt?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
withold
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

You could sue for this exact sum when they deduct it from your deposit.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
But I do not have a case for compensation?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

Not in addition to the agreed 10 days.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Even though the promise on viewing was for the property to be fit for habitation?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

That is what the 10 days reduction is for.

That is always supposing it gets over that hurdle.

You can't claim compensation twice.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
the advice is to wait out the next 9 months which may mean dealing with debt collectors, and tenants rights pre signing the contract are obsolete? Or do i cover myself for future repercussions by filing a compensation claim now?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 months ago.

On what basis?

The only claim is one they are threatening?

You have not paid?

I'm happy to continue with this but please rate my answer.

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