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Agent moved new tenant in early

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Author Topic: Agent moved new tenant in early  (Read 207 times)
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« on: October 18, 2019, 11:03:13 AM »

Hi,

I'm here asking for advice on behalf of my sister.

She moved out of her rented property last month even though the tenancy was due to end on the 27th of October. She let her letting agent know and explained that she was happy to continue paying the rent/bills until the end of the tenancy, however, if they could market the property and try to find a new tenant early that would be great.

At the end of last month, she paid her final month's rent as they were unable to find a new tenant, meaning she had paid until the end of her tenancy.

Yesterday morning she received an email from them complaining about the state she had left the property in, uncut lawn, not clean, garden furniture left outside, and that this was unacceptable as they had a tenant moving in the next day (today) - obviously as she had paid the full months rent she was preparing to hand the property back at the end of the tenancy, and until yesterday morning she had not heard otherwise. The agents claimed that they had repeatedly tried to call her (but not email?!), but weren't able to get through.

She agreed that this person could move in as long as they were 'reasonable' with the deposit deductions - there is no real damage just marks etc. which she had planned to repair. She also had professional cleaners booking for which she paid a non-refundable 100 deposit. Furthermore, she agreed to pay 250 for their cleaners to come in this morning - forfeiting her 100.

We are currently waiting for a list of deposit deductions before we give the new tenant permission to move in (although I suspect they have let him move in this morning).

I just wanted to check what our rights are - can we push for a full return of the deposit as everything they could possibly deduct for could have been fixed in the week she had booked off work?

It's a difficult one, because we don't want to prevent somebody else moving into their new home, but she can't afford to lose this significant sum of money.


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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2019, 11:54:54 AM »

It seems odd that they would be moving a new tenant in without doing an end of tenancy check out for the previous tenant. Does your sister still have the keys to the property?
Newbie
Posts: 4

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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2019, 08:26:29 PM »

Hey,

Yes it is incredibly odd, and likely illegal?

She still has keys and there was no check out process - they literally just moved somebody in when she was still under contract!
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2019, 11:17:04 PM »

It certainly does have a whiff of unlawful eviction about it. I'd like to think it's down to carelessness/miscommunication on the part of the agents, rather than anything malicious. That being the case, I'd also like to think they'd be keen to put a lid on it by returning the deposit without deductions.

If they do want to make deductions then I certainly reckon it's worth taking it to the dispute resolution service provided by whichever scheme the deposit is protected under. If the circumstances are as you describe then they're bound to favour the tenant.
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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2019, 10:35:23 AM »

It's hard to dance to an Agent's tune when you get a surprise call asking for odd things like this... but, as it was an email, the outgoing Tenant really had time to create a proper firm(er) response... not - "sure, go ahead if you're reasonable with Deposit deductions" - the outgoing Tenant needed to be firm either way - either - "no, I have possession until 27 October and no-one - not even you - can go into the property without my permission" - or "yes, sure, go ahead - but you forfeit any Deposit deductions, regardless" - their choice at that point. The incoming Tenants are already happy enough to move in, right?

She still has possession today, strictly speaking, even though someone else is in (we believe - is that easy to validate by popping around?)... there's not a leg to stand on regarding Deposit deductions because it's all up in the air who could've caused any issues - the outgoing Tenant, the Agents (who obviously have access and have used it) and the incoming Tenants, who appear to be happily there? I would firstly see what happens and then if deductions are requested that the ex-Tenant is not happy with, escalate... via a flat refusal to agree (because you weren't given time to rectify the issues highlighted before) or straight to ADR.
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