I’m looking for advice on dealing with some issues with our letting agent, ‘Homes4u Manchester’.
Myself and two friends are letting a property under a joint ‘assured shorthold tenancy agreement’. The agreement was entered in to on the 12th September 2014 for a fixed term of 12 months. The problems that we have with the agency are numerous, in-fact too numerous to break them all down here but essentially they are centred around their failure to carry out repairs, charging unspecified fees, failure to provide gas safety certificate and entry to the property for viewings and repairs.
The issue that I seek advice for today is that of access to the property.
Since November 2014, (only 3 months into the 12 month fixed term) Homes4u has carried out 10 group viewings of the property, the frequency of these are ramping up and currently we are having one or two viewings a week.
Our contract states the following:
“15) When this contract ends
1. You agree to allow us to show future tenants around the Property in the last 28 days of the tenancy, except where the Property in occupied by students, in which case we will conduct viewings starting from the first day of November and continuing until a new tenancy is secured on the Property. We will give you 24 hours’ notice if we want to do this.”
It should be noted that one of the three tenants is a student, myself and the third tenant are working professionals. No part of the contract states that this is a student let, nor were we informed so by Homes4U at any point. Also as stated we are in a joint agreement, not separate agreements as you’d expect in a shared student let.
Up until now we have not expressed a wish to vacate the property next September, it was my understanding upon entering the agreement that after the fixed term ended we would then enter into a rolling periodic agreement.We feel that we are not being allowed ‘Peaceful Enjoyment of the Property’ and at times the behaviour of Homes’4U is bordering on harassment.
Upon challenging Homes4U they stated that is a student let and there is nothing we can do about it. We then stated that we may be interested in renewing the fixed term next year but they then asked for a sum in excess of £300 to secure this. Of course I am not paying and committing to this 7 months before my current agreement ends.
Our agreement also states that we are entitled to 24 hours’ notice, on three occasions now, we have been given significantly less than this. We refused these viewings on that basis (but all the others were allowed). After challenging this they now consistently give us 25 hours’ notice.
On the last viewing I has on a nightshift the previous night and again with 25 hours’ notice they sent a text telling us another viewing had been arranged, I immediately called to say it was inconvenient and I’d be in bed but they refused saying they’d let themselves in and that I was being unreasonable, citing that I already cancelled 3 other viewings; Bearing in mind they had not given us sufficient notice.
There has also been one occasion where we were not present during a viewing, Homes4U let themselves in and failed to lock the front door when leaving, and of course they denied this.
We have also been pushing hard for the repairs to be carried out and reported them to the local council. Since then we have had several visits a week from contractors ‘looking’ at issues with no authorisation or work order to carry out proper repairs. Jointly we have now taken around 2 weeks off work waiting on contractors, around half this time they have failed to show up. As a side note Homes4U passed my contact detailed to several contractors without my permission, for a time I was getting several call a day requesting access to the property when I was at work.
I am now at the stage where I feel having strangers wander round my bedroom without me being present twice a week is completely unacceptable. We have tried to resolve this with Homes4U for several weeks now but they have no interest in even entertaining the conversation. We are now looking to exit the agreement on the basis that Homes4U have breached the contract not only on the viewing issues but also the repairs etc. We submitted a notice to quit last week on those grounds but Homes4U replied stating that there is no clause in the contract that allowed us to vacate before the end of the fixed term.
Any advice on dealing with this situation would be much appreciated.