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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 13571
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I have 2 btl properties in London that have been managed by

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I have 2 btl properties in London that have been managed by a lettings agent for a number of years. I had trusted them and rent was always paid. In 2016 the lettings agent announced that one of these properties needed refurbishment and that at the same time they were going to create a 5th bedroom. They did not ask for my consent, nor apply for Planning Permission or Building Regs. Once this change was made, they started renting to a 3rd party who then let the property on a room to room basis but they did not tell me this. I only discovered the full story when I was unable to get a re-mortgage on the property. I am considering going to the Small Claims Court about this. What chances would I have with this?

Hello,

I am a solicitor.

Are you intending to claim money from the agents? If so, how much?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I am intending to claim money back as the work was substandard as the flat needs to be refurbished now. I do not know yet how much I can claim. Because the property was changed into room by room and no Building Regs, I have been stressed about not being able to get a re-mortgage.

Thank you.

It may be advisable to instruct a solicitor if your claim is more than £10,000 as claims over that amount are outside the scope of the small claims court.

All the best

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
1. No contract exists between the letting agent and myself.
I have told the agent that, due to his lack of care, for example he had not had an EICR carried out even though the contract for the property was August 2020, I have taken back the management.
2. I have also discovered, quite by chance from someone who saw it, that there had been some water damage on the ground floor in 2017 which he did not tell me about and just had flooring replaced after 2 days, so there is now damp and the flooring has to be replaced.
He has been letting it to a 3rd party, who does not live in the property himself, is letting on a room by room basis. I have not been given the names and contact details of any of the occupiers. I do not even know if the 3rd party or the occupiers have the right to rent.
1) the contract is technically between the so-called tenant (the 3rd party letting out rooms) can I terminate this agreement before August 2021? Am I in my rights to do this?
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I have used a letting agent for about 15 years and found that they had been cutting corners. For example doing building works, not approved by me, and no building regs being done. No electrical report done.
When asked for the contract between the letting agent and myself, they couldn’t produce it. So I have told the letting agent and the tenants that I will now fully manage my properties (gave them a Section 48) but they still insist on taking 10% letting fee if I continue with the tenants that are in the property.
As I didn’t agree to that, they pressurised the tenants to pay them instead of me and are keeping the rent for this ‘letting fee’.
I have lodged a formal complaint and will liaise with the Property Ombudsman.
I want the letting and managing fee back from the last year and this current one.
What do you advise me to do?’
Hello,
It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find continuing a new professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're OK with to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Nicola

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

You would be classed as a business as you have a BTL property - the agent is also a business so you have a "B2B" or business to business contract even if nothing is in writing. A contract can be implied by conduct as in your case. You would need to show that their conduct caused your loss - you need to quantify that loss so a surveyor should be appointed to confirm how much it would cost to put this right. Before you know how much to claim. There are many expert witness surveyors who could prepare a report for you.

Generally though, if the claim is worth above £10,000, as my colleague pointed out, you should really use a law firm as they will know which expert to use and to build your claim too - they could even offer a no win no fee agreement so you are not paying upfront and as the case progresses - there is no risk to you if you lose either. My view is you would win but subject to the surveyor's comments in their report. You do have up to 6 years to sue the agent for this, from the date of the breach of contract. Any of these firms should be able to assist :

  1. http://www.duncanlewis.co.uk
  2. http://www.wilsonbrowne.co.uk
  3. http://www.irwinmitchell.com
  4. http://www.samuels-solicitors.co.uk

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 13571
Experience: Senior Associate Solicitor
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