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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 11442
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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My daughter went through a handover meeting with the letting

Customer Question

My daughter went through a handover meeting with the letting agency yesterday. The letting agent let herself into her flat prior to the agreed time of the meeting. My daughter still had some last minute things to do before the inventory run down. The letting agent was extremely rude and derogatory towards her, challenging her on the number of small items that she new she still had to be addressed, intimating that it could have an impact on the level money due back from her deposit. The flat had been owned previously by her gran and bought from the rest of the family by her aunt and uncle when her gran passed away and subsequently let to her and her son. You can appreciate therefore the emotional tie she had to the flat.
Given the family tie there has been no real formal exchange regarding circumstances. When issues have cropped up they have simply been dealt with. For example, a water leak from the flat above did cause damage to the decoration and this was put right. her aunt and uncle replaced the washing machine only a couple of months ago and had left it for me to fit. The company who delivered it though had scored the floor tiles. The letting agent blamed her for this and was asking her to sign off on the inventory form without allowing her to make comment regarding this which she refused to do. In addition some aspects of gardening still had to be completed. Weather had prevented this from happening. Notwithstanding, a prior discussion with her uncle beforehand had confirmed that the new tenants were not moving in until the first week in December, in which case, there was less pressure to have things addressed immediately and the work could be done post letting visit and prior to the new tenants moving in. I have not had a chance to speak to my brother in law yet, however it looks like this agreement has not been communicated to the letting agent.
At the end of the visit my daughter extemely upset and concerned that her deposit would not be returned.
I believe the letting agent in entering the flat prior to the agreed visiting time has acted unprofessionally in this instance.
In addition asking my daughter to sign the inventory form without the opportunity to comment, in my opinion, is a blatant ploy to manipulate circumstances to the benefit of the letting agent and in deed the landlord, particularly if the end goal is to retain or reduce the deposit that is due back to my daughter.
On the basis of the above and if the if the deposit is indeed withheld or reduced, what options would my daughter have to challenge matters?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 10 months ago.

The letting agent is not a law into itself. It acts on the instruction of the landlord. If the lease has not yet ended the letting agent or the landlord can't let themselves into the property. If the lease has ended they can. The strict letter of the law is that all necessary works should be done by the end of the lease. However the landlord can waive or relax anything he wants and can instruct the letting agent to ensure the deposit is returned in full. The letting agent won't benefit or not benefit from the deposit not being returned in full. The landlord might. It sounds to me that the letting agent may have acted incorrectly by going into the flat if the lease was not at an end. However, everything else just displays an ignorance of the informal agreement reached between family members who are respectively landlord and tenant and the agent should have been appraised of this. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.