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Question about possible law action against my letting agency

Hello,

I have a question about possible law action I could take against my letting agency/landlord after the situation they put me through. Let me describe the situation…

I was renting a studio flat in HMO, I was paying my rent on time for more than 2 years. One day the local council decided that they have to close the building down as it’s unsafe to occupy due to problems with fire alarm and I believe some other tenants.

My letting agent has knocked on my door and said I have to leave the building now and I should take only the most precures personal belongings like a tooth brush and I should leave and wait for an update. When I was taking some of my things out I saw police, fire department and people from council so I thought there is some problem and I should leave and come back later as advised.

I went to stay at my friends house and was hoping to get some replacement studio flat from my letting agency but they were saying that they can offer me only enstitute room and they were delaying and avoid contact with me finally after a week I managed to meet with them in their office and I spend few hours talking with them and asking if they can give me this room as I don’t have other place to go but at the end they didn’t provide me with the room as they said they don’t have anything and the moment and they will have rooms ready in 2 weeks and they asked me to leave.

This situation puts me through a lot of stress and it gets more stressful as the time passes. Most of my personal belongings are still in my old studio flat and I don’t even have access to it as the building is boarded up and all doors are closed. I am afraid someone could break in there and steal my things that I have been collecting for years. I was only given an email address from the letting agency saying I should write to them and they will arrange a meeting with me when I can collect the things but they haven’t responded yet.

I was so shocked they can kick someone out on the street especially when they pay rent every month. No notice was given to me and I was asked to leave straight away. Also no replacement recommendation was provided for me.

Is it possible I take some legal action against my letting agency and try to get some type of recompensation for this situation ? Could you point me in the right direction and tell me who I should contact about it ?

Many thanks.

Any action is likely to be against your landlord as you rent from them. Whether they are liable would depend on reasons it is now unsafe. If it was due to landlord not maintaining property then they are likely to be liable, however if due to behaviour of other tenants or reasons beyond landlords reasonable control then they don’t have to provide alternative accommodation, the local council does. I would suggest speaking to the council.

As above, you need help from the Council, Shelter or CAB. The agent can’t just throw you out of hour home with no alternative. You should have refused to leave until they offered you something else. You have the right to book into a hotel and get them to pay for it as long as you pay your rent. Get help today!

So, if the council shuts down a property it has to be seriously in disrepair and you would clearly have known about it.

They don’t shut a property just because of a faulty fire alarm nor for some other tenants problems/unsocial behaviour.

You have no course of action against the agent as he is not the owner. He probably tried to work with you on securing another property but he didn’t have one available. Sounds like he has done what he can.

You should be able to sue the property owner for any costs involved. If he is to offer you a replacement property he is obviously going to want rent off you and you’ll be housed in a similar property, i.e. you lived in an HMO and won’t be housed in a more expensive studio flat.

You have my sympathy.

Shelter/Crisis/ CAB are good options, but really this is a local council problem. I believe councils extensive powers when dealing with breaches with HMO licenses.
According to Shelter, this can even include temporarily taking possession of the property (so make your case to them).

Also, whilst those who say the contract is with the landlord are right, it’s slightly different for HMO’s if agent is a “managing agent” not just a “letting agent”. If they are involved in the running of the HMO, they are also legally responsible for breaches.