OpenRent Community

Can anyone offer advice?

Hi All,

Can anyone help me, I’m so exhausted arguing with the agency.

We moved in a property in December. Made clear we wanted long term.

Right from the outset it was not as shown (as sent a video). Didn’t show mould, condensation, hole under carpet on landing, broken Radiator, faulty thermostat, crack in rear door panel, peeling wallpaper etc etc…

Immediately we contacted the agency, some has been resolved like the radiator and thermostat. Nothing else.

We said okay as it’s long term and we got to stay here we will paint the whole house and replace the door panel.

We paid 6 months rent upfront as was not working and we didn’t have made clear to us it would be another 6 months needed again after. Our parents offered to help us, just asking the agency to get agreement monthly thereafter from the owners.

To then be told the owners want to move back or sell after this so won’t be any extensions.

After writing to the landlords and agency and pleading stating we asked long term and our circumstances with me being a full time carer for my mother and my partner disabled as well as relocating and kids at a new school will make it really hard to find a new place, so can there be some flexibility here, we even offered more rent.

Apparently no flexibility, we have to be out the date the tenancy ends and that’s the end of it.

Despite repeated requests, no gas or EICR has been supplied and they keep ignoring the matter.

We’ve been told we can’t leave early with a months notice or stay longer. I feel desperate because I’m sure we will end up homeless. We have young children and my partner is very ill.

The agency have lied to us multiple times and it transpires that the landlords actually told the agency of the plans before they rented to us but the agency never told us. We found this out in the agency’s final response.

Any advice?

Thanks

If you want to leave they will have to evict you through the courts
Just because the say you have to go you don’t have to. Wait for the legal process to go through.
Your contract becomes a periodic at the end of the six months.
If they have not served you the gas etc they cannot evict you on a section 21 they will have to go through a section 8, which will probably take at least 12-18 months
If you want to stay stay
Speak to shelter they will help you and call the council ref gas EPC etc

2 Likes

Thank you for the response. It’s just such a shame, I don’t understand why it’s all gone so wrong, we’re taking good care of the place have tried everything we can to make it work and just get absolutely rejected on anything we request and ignored on everything we ask. Mentally exhausting.

We wonder if considering all the above we can contest it in court or not.

Call shelter tomorrow and get free legal advice
If they can prove they lived there before your tenancy you may not be able to contest it

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/913289/Form_3_August_update.docx

The process has become complicated since the pandemic so you will have a lot of time before anything comes to fruition

1 Like

Thank you I certainly will do.

If it’s relevant I have an email from the agency saying the several tenants before me renting here never complained…

Again thank you!

It’s not relevant. It’s what is going on for you now that is the issue.
Take photos/videos of the mould, condensation, holes etc.
If you speak to them on the phone document the conversations and if possible clarify back to them in an email what was said.

1 Like

I have already done this. In fact I’ve had it put together by a freelancer who use to be a senior member of staff at this very big chain.

It outlines all communication from start with pictures from the emails etc, what codes of practice they have breached etc and they simply do not care.

It’s been referred to TPOS for their lack of just everything, but that will be separate to the main issue I have of being evicted.

Sorry I should of added in their final response they said that the landlord does not see these outstanding issues as necessary to repair and from the agency point they consider it fair wear and tear. (Was there already from the date we moved in).

There are several issues you raise:

  1. If the outstanding repair issues are purely cosmetic, then the landlord has no legal responsibility to deal with them. Did you view the property before renting it? If not, this was a big mistake and you would not have much redress against the agent. However, I think I would make a formal complaint to the agent about the misleading video and photos being a breach of consumer legislation

  2. Gas safety certificate and EICR. These matters can be reported to the local authority and the HSE and I would suggest you do this.

  3. The landlord/agent can request that you leave at the end of the fixed term, but they can’t insist. They would have to serve notice. They would have to give you the GSC before they can serve a valid s21 notice. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other documents they’ve forgotten to give you too that would affect this. If no GSC was in place before you moved in, the as the law stands at present, they would never be able to serve you a valid s21 notice. If I were you, I would wait until nearer the end of your fixed term and then tell them that you require notice. This will give you at least another 6 months and likely longer if they mess up the notice. I don’t think you should force them to take you to court as you will end up having to pay their legal costs and it will ruin your reputation as a tenant. The other thing I would say is that its unfortunate that the landlord has decided to sell when you were hoping for long term, but this may not have been known by either party when they first let the property. Many landlords have recently decided to exit the market due to a combination of covid and increased legislation.

2 Likes

Hello David and thank you, I will answer your points…

  1. We were told that only online viewings, as my dad was available to view, however it appears the agent misled us because in their responses they asked why no one viewed it. But it is stated by the property ombudsman that if it is a video viewing it must be a fair reflection.

  2. I may do this but would prefer not to cause anyone any trouble and resolve this in a way good for all parties.

  3. yes there was not a signed checklist on move in either. Only a copy of gas service record and no EICR as stated.

The landlord had informed the agents of their plans to either move back or sell the property from the outset of advertising the property (the agencies final response confirms this). However the agency never informed us before taking the property, nor when we said we would cover the costs of repair due to staying long term

Mould is not wear and tear or cosmetic, if it was already there when you moved in it is the Landlords responsibility. You are responsible for heating and ventilating the place but the landlord should be providing adequate heating and the means to be able to ventilate.
As others have said it will be a while before anyone can get you out.
If a gas inspection and valid certificate exist as long as they provide this prior to serving a Section 21 it would be valid.
If a Gas Certificate does not exist as A_A said, they may well never be able to get you out using this route.
If no Gas Certificate exists the landlord can be heavily fined or imprisoned.
Despite the fact that no one can sling you out immediately it must be very stressful with all this hanging over your head.

2 Likes

If you were not served an EPC certificate it may be worth checking there is one for your property on the EPC register. It should be greater than E rated. It is illegal to rent without an EPC ( actually estate agents should not be advertising properties without these documents being present and valid)
By law you should have been served in ADVANCE of your tenancy starting:-
Gas certificate
Energy Performance Certificate
Electrical Inspection Condition Report
How to rent guide (the respective version valid when you moved in)
Your deposit should have been deposited within 30 days of receipt and you should have been served the terms and conditions, certificate and prescribed information within this time
This should have been done by the agents
Without this a s21 is not valid

The smoke heat and carbon monoxide alarms should have been tested the day you moved in in your presence
The water in all taps and shower heads should have been run through for 5-10 minutes if the property was stagnant

You can also report your agent to the redress scheme they are registered with regarding false advertising etc etc

2 Likes

Yes this is very stressful hanging over our heads, and to be honest just to ask for flexibility and a bit of communication isn’t too much in my opinion.

So I contacted the the person on the Gas Service sheet left here and there is a gas certificate he has forwarded, even though it was never supplied by the agent or landlord.

The only thing missing is EICR, I contacted the council and there advise us to continue to chase the agency for it, although I’ve explained to them I’ve already tried multiple times.

Everything else apart from being shown working smoke alarms and EICR and signed move in sheet was done.

I really do appreciate all the advice sincerely. I guess there is literally nothing left to do but wait at this point.

I’m really conflicted because as much as I don’t want to, when rent becomes due at the end of June again, I’m tempted to withhold it until something is agreed (not spend it just keep it separate).

I know that it shouldn’t be done, and it’s not the best form of action, but I’ve tried as hard as I can to work with both the agency and landlord and explain all to the landlord and provide contact information and I’ve got nothing despite trying so hard.

The fact that even non payment of rent would take six months to evict us. Leave me thinking this may be the only card to play to get anywhere.

It’s something I’d rather avoid though and try and resolve with them, but they are being unreasonable

PS I know two wrongs don’t make it right, and I want to really avoid it. I genuinely don’t need more stress but I’m running out of ways of being reasonable.

The landlord is allowed to serve many of the documents late as long as its before a s21, so its possible that if they do serve one, it will be valid.

Its does seem as though the agent behaved quite badly throughout and I do think that a formal complaint to them and if not resolved to whichever redress scheme they belong to would be in order. Other than that, I think you probably just have to accept it and move at some point.

2 Likes

You are correct and moving on is what I do want, just in a reasonable way, that surely makes much more sense than giving me zero flexibility and time and dragging out a S21.

I’m quite sure in 2/3 months id get somewhere but not in the constraints they are giving me.

Thanks again for the solid advice

1 Like

After the initial first 6 months your tenancy will become a periodic tenancy and will run from month to month. You don’t have to sign anything for your tenancy to continue and you don’t have to agree to 6 months. You then pay your rent monthly and will have to give a month’s notice ending on the last day of your tenancy period. E.g. if your tenancy began on the 13th of the month your notice should be at least a month and end on the 12th of that month. I would advise you not to withhold your rent. Your next landlord will (most likely) ask your landlord for a reference and if you’ve not paid your rent on time this will certainly go against you, especially as you’re not employed.

Your landlord will get possession of the property at some point. They have to give you 6 months’ notice at the moment. The courts will be blocked up, and when evictions are able to go ahead again and there will be a big rush for properties. In light of this I would advice you to start looking for a property asap. Your landlord might agree to you giving less than the required notice as they want you out.

Black mould can be removed - there are plenty of products available. HG mould remover is particularly good. I’ve just removed some black mould that I thought would be impossible to get rid of - it took a few attempts but it’s all gone now.

I’m sorry you’re in this situation and I hope you find a more suitable property - view it first though.

2 Likes

I appreciate the response.

This is my main issue though. I want to start looking for a property ASAP, but I cannot.

I have been advised the landlord will not allow us to end early, nor stay past when the tenancy ends.

The agency have advised us the landlord intends to give notice as soon as six months has passed.

Believe me when I say we’ve really tried everything to allow some flexibility. Today I even offered to compensate the landlord to allow us to leave early!

This is causing nothing but constant sleepless nights and stress. It’s so unpleasant.

The landlord can’t prevent you staying past the end of the fixed term other than trying to evict you, which would take about 18 months at the moment. Once the tenancy is periodic you can serve notice at any time and leave on your own terms.

3 Likes

Hi Dylan.

As someone else has suggested I would have a speak with Shelter as from personal experience, albeit 10 years ago they were incredibly helpful.

You don’t mention this in your post but with you lacking both EIPC and Gas certificates I’m curious if you’ve ever received confirmation that your bond has been placed in a DPS scheme. I ask because the agent is throwing red flags about like it’s a semaphore class. As this is a legal requirement if you have no confirmation of your bond being in a scheme you definitely need to take some legal advice.

As covered in previous replies if you do not leave on the last day of the tenancy the landlord would have to serve you an eviction, these are taking months and months.

I would also suggest speaking to your local councils environmental health department surrounding the mould problem, I assume you have evidence (photos) that this has been an ongoing issue prior to you moving in as you stated. These people sometimes come out and inspect the property and enforce repairs, but also can block revenge evictions if you are being asked to move so the landlord doesn’t have to do repairs. I’m sorry I’m not more help. Good luck!

2 Likes