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Letting agent telling fibs

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Author Topic: Letting agent telling fibs  (Read 368 times)
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« on: September 23, 2020, 08:01:08 PM »

Hi, I've been through lots of posts to see if I could find an answer to my query but have been unable to find one so thought I'd post :-)

My partner and I have been in our rental property for well over four years. Each time we negotiate a long fixed term because we really love this house. A few things have happened recently which have really worried me and I'm now questioning my faith in the letting agent and landlord.

The letting agent emailed us completely out of the blue, quoting our tenancy agreement at us in relation to our obligation to have the chimney swept. The property has a log burner installed which was listed as a feature in the advertisement and is detailed in the AST. Imo the letting agent came on a bit heavy handed in the email, telling us to get it sorted and submit the invoice as evidence. This got my back up a bit so I questioned it with them.

I asked that they provide me with evidence that the chimney was swept/inspected prior to us moving in as this was not detailed in the inventory. I also questioned who was paying for it as the term in the AST does not specifically specify whereas other clauses in the AST specifically say when it is the tenants responsibility to incur the cost. I also questioned, why we had never been prompted to do this before as we have been in the property for so long and in a similar way to gas safety checks etc. I pointed out that we would never deny access and are happy to arrange the appointment.

The response I got was:

The landlord confirms the chimney was swept in between tenancies. The landlord points out that we chose to use the log burner and it is required for safety as well as cleaning. They say that because we chose to use the burner, it is our responsibility and otherwise it would be fine as a cosmetic feature. If we refuse to pay for the service, the landlord will pay and deduct from our deposit at the end of the tenancy.

I offered to go halves for the service both now and going forward however the letting agent replied telling me he didn't know why I was still emailing him about it as the LL has agreed to pay and told me not to respond on the matter again (I think I upset him by my questioning).

Fast forward and I made the appt with the chimney sweep whom the letting agent had appointed for the job. Chimney sweep turns up and within minutes was really concerned and told me, he couldn't sweep the chimney because there is no lining in the flue and that we are lucky to be alive as he found a large hole at the back of the burner. I asked him his opinion in relation to the sweep in between tenancies and he told me that it may well have been but nobody with a qualification would put their name to paper on it as it was so unsafe and it was clear (to him) that it had been so for quite some time. The burner was condemned and he said it either needed replacing or ripping out completely.

The sweep told me to leave it with him as he would need to raise a complaint however, he has since been back in touch to say that the only response he has had from the letting agent is that it's sorted and now he can't get in touch with them.

Sorry it's a bit long winded but any advice would be appreciated. Do I go down the complaint route with the letting agent and can I insist for the evidence I previously requested in relation the the chimney sweep in-between tenancies?

Thank you in advance  :)
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2020, 12:43:56 PM »

It may well be your responsibility to have the chimney swept while using it,but it is certainly the landlord's duty to ensure that there is no risk of poisoning from the fixtures he provided you with.With winter coming,your first priority is to get the chimney safe to use again if you intend continuing with the wood burner.It is possible that a previous chimney sweep failed to notice or report it,but now the landlord knows he must rectify it.Have you tried and failed to speak to the agent ?
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