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Notice given to letting agent & tenant, tenant not leaving. Agent not helping!!

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Author Topic: Notice given to letting agent & tenant, tenant not leaving. Agent not helping!!  (Read 114 times)
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Posts: 1

I like property

« on: May 18, 2021, 08:53:37 PM »

Hi

My family have had a property let out through a letting agent for a number of years (15+). Unfortunately, this was initially handled by a family member who allowed it to go on in in the background with very little contact with the agent - she always paid the rent, and there were very few issues with the property or its tenants so we had little involvement.

In the last year we have had a number of issues with the agent; from her trying to charge us for works on the property not agreed by us, to her letting the property to a tenant on benefits, with 2 young children and no job - when the agreement (albeit informal) was that she can only let to tenants in work with solid references. We also found out from the tenant that the agent charged her a higher rent for the first 3-4 months of her staying there.

The agent did not inform us prior to giving the property to this tenant, we were under the impression that the previous tenant was still living there! We only found out when we had to go and fix something in the property.

Given the multiple failings as an agent, we decided that we wanted to take the property back. We requested a copy of the current AST and this had an end date of 1 January 2021.

In September 2020, we therefore advised the agent in writing that we intended to take the property back when the current tenancy was up in January. We followed this up again in November (giving 2 clear calendar months notice) only to be told at that stage that we have to give 6-months notice due to the pandemic (she failed to tell us this in September although the rule was brought in in August).

Fine. So in November 2020 we made clear that we would be taking the property back from the agent and the tenant on 1 June 20201. The agent confirmed by email that notice had been given to and acknowledged by the tenant.

Now, 3 weeks before 1 June, we asked how/when we could collect the keys. The agent responded to say the tenant has not found anywhere else to live and will therefore not be vacating the property on 1 June. She said the only way we can get her to leave is to evict her.

So, I would appreciate some guidance on the following:

1) where do we stand as we have no formal agreement with the agent?
2) as the agent did not inform us that the tenant would be unable to vacate by the date given, we made arrangements for the property to have some (well needed!) work done (handy man, painter, decorator etc) - can we claim any loss of costs from the agent?
3) the agent states that at no point did they guarantee that the tenant would move out by this date - does out request for this date not mean she should have let us know if this was not going to happen?

I am aware that we cannot force the tenant out (and we would not want to!). But if she chooses to continue paying rent, could she just stay there indefinitely? And are we stuck with the agent until such time that the tenant decides to leave?

I know we would need to go through the courts to get a possession order, but as I said above, as the tenant has two young children, and having read other threads, I think I know the chances of getting her out are slim!

We just want the property back from the tenant and the agent and would appreciate some guidance on the best course of action to take!

Thanks so much for reading!

 
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2021, 12:11:45 PM »

1) If you have no formal agreement with the Agent - terminate your relationship with them, expecting no fuss, pushback or penalty. If the Agent thinks they have some right to something, they'll tell you soon enough. Usually you would have signed some terms of business that outlines what happens with termination of services. However... you cannot depend on the informality of this relationship to expect the Agent to do exactly what you expect (in the letting to certain Tenants) and then forget about it when it benefits you. That's called having your cake and eating it.

2) What costs? You don't pay trades before they do the work... just reschedule. What's the difference between a Painter and a Decorator? It doesn't feel like you have a very good grasp of this.

3) The Agent wouldn't ever be able to guarantee a Tenant will move out by a certain date, they're correct. Any Agent who did guarantee something like that would be a fool. You couldn't guarantee something like that if you were managing the property yourself... it's impossible... the only time you know you have possession back is when that actually happens. Think about what you're expecting here and you'll see the Agent is correct... they cannot go into the property on physically evict a Tenant on your behalf. You can't do that. The Tenant may have been served all the correct notices at the correct time... it doesn't mean they leave. You may not understand this, but after the notice has expired it just means you expected the property to be empty... but all too often it isn't... now you have the option of going through the Courts to evict the Tenant. Or... you wait, patiently, until they leave.

If I was you... I'd probably remove the Agent from the equation as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Then you can experience for yourself exactly what is going on with the Tenant. You might enjoy it. You might wish for the good old days in no time at all. But at the moment it seems part of your problem is messy communication (as well as unrealistic expectations). If the Tenant chooses to continue paying rent can they stay there indefinitely? No, but you need to follow the process... you can't really just cross your fingers and hope for the best... you have to take action.
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