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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I own 3 flats in Birmingham and live in London. I have entrusted

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I own 3 flats in Birmingham and live in London. I have entrusted a management agent to let and manage the properties, for which we have agreed their fee would be £50 per flat per month. They were taking £275/225pcm per month per flat and forwarding me £225/175.
About 2 years ago there was a problem with break-ins when the flats were vacant and I had to invest £5000 to rectify and install more secure doors, and the agent put in some money too, to be clawed back from the rent.
On 31/7/2015 I was advised, "(manager name) has advised that you are on our corporate monthly rent guarantee package so therefore your rental payment will be the same as it has always been."
I noticed last November that no money had been forthcoming and when I prompted them for accounts, the agent started paying me £125 per flat with no explanation.
I recently asked for tenancy agreements which were required for a mortgage application. They sent back 3 agreements, with various dates on which they have nominated their own company group name as the tenant for £125pm on all 3 tenancy agreements without my knowledge or consent. It appears that this arrangement is designed to obfuscate the true nature of the tenancies and thereby deprive me of around 50% of income for these properties.
I have spoken to tenants in 2 of the 3 flats and got confirmation of rent at £300 and £225 respectively. That means I am being deprived of £125 and £50 pcm in these two cases. The third flat might be vacant.
One of the two tenants is a long-term tenant. I have a tenancy agreement with this tenant dated June 2014 but there is a tenancy agreement that appears to supercede the original dated Feb 2015 with the new amount of £125pcm on it.
Is this a civil matter or is it - as I suspect - criminal fraud, and how do you suggest proceeding? Based on the fact that they have falsified a second tenancy agreement that overlaps with the original agreement for the same tenant, will this count as a criminal act?
My gut is telling me that if this is a criminal matter then I should report this to actionfraud.police.uk immediately, then issue a 7-day notice and move towards the Small Claims Court in the absence of an immediate settlement. This claim may include some or all of the £5000 above if I can show that they failed to notify me that the property was vacant to change the insurance status to unoccupied. Is there any merit if I were to argue that as a letting agent they should have been able to find tenants sooner than 3-6 months later and the act of leaving the flats unoccupied amounts to negligence? They may argue that this particular site is difficult to find tenants for, but I would say they have perfomed better in the past.
I have a fair understanding of the courts system so you don't need to go into huge amounts of detail other than describing the basis for claims, if I have not already described it adequately.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I guess my other question is - is there anything I've missed that would also have a basis to bolster my claim?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.This is a civil matter, its not criminal - the Police will view it as a civil dispute. You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I also asked above: Is there any merit if I were to argue that as a letting agent they should have been able to find tenants sooner than 3-6 months later and the act of leaving the flats unoccupied amounts to negligence? They may argue that this particular site is difficult to find tenants for, but I would say they have performed better in the past.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Yes. You could argue that they are in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 or the Sale and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, depending on when you instructed them. They failed to act with all reasonable skill and care.Does that clarify?ALex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Perfect, thank you. I think I have all I need to proceed now.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Great. If I could invite you to rate my answer before you go today please, otherwise the site doesnt credit me for the time spent with you. Thanks. Alex
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