Sorry if this is in the wrong section, it doesn’t really fit into any one category. I will try to keep to basic facts, but can give more detail if needed.
I viewed the property while the previous tenant was still living there.
I signed a tenancy agreement on 7 August, and paid the security deposit and a months rent up front.
I entered the property and found it was not “immaculate” as described, it was filthy and there were numerous issues with the state of repair. Please see photos.
I emailed the agent regarding the above.
Then here’s the twist:
I became very ill on 9th August and was hospitalised on 10th August.
On 10th August the agent emailed me stating that the landlord was willing to replace the carpet and meet to discuss the other issues (I take this as agreement that the condition was unacceptable).
I telephoned the agent to let them know I was in hospital and unable to complete the move. At the time there was no way of knowing if I would be out in a few days – I have had the same condition before and I was in hospital for 6 weeks. The exact details of the conversation are fuzzy as I was high as a kite on morphine, but they did advise me to return the keys.
The keys were returned on 11th August and I noticed the property was re-advertised on the same day.
A day or two I later noticed the property was listed as “no longer on the market”. The dates are vague at this point as I obviously had other things on my mind. I emailed the agent asking them to clarify the situation, and they did not respond.
A few days, possibly a week later the property was re-advertised by a different letting agent. The description mentioned that the property had been “refreshed”, had a new carpet and the photos showed that the landlord had indeed made some improvements. The price had also been increased.
At this point I telephoned the agent and the owner of the business answered the phone. He stated that he didn’t deal with lettings and I’d have to call back when the lettings person was in the office. I pressed the matter, stating that I only needed a little information and that I would be on the operating table when the lettings person was available. (He was quite happy to deal with lettings when I first called to enquire about the property.) He refused to assist and that was the last contact we had.
When I was finally discharged from hospital I sent the agent a letter of complaint which they received on September 1.
In it I pointed out their obligations as set out in The Property Ombudsmans Code of Practice, including various breaches of that Code. I also asked them to supply me with the contact details of the landlord, and to return my deposit and first months rent. I also stated that the landlords actual losses were not clear-cut due to the property being taken off the market, improvements made, increased price etc – and in this case I’d like any deductions to be arbitrated by a third party – I don’t think it’s fair that the “wronged” party should be judge and jury (I didn’t use those words! I worded it as professionally as possible).
They have not responded to this letter, despite the TPOS Code stating that they should acknowledge the complaint within 3 days.
I have sent a follow-up letter requesting an response within 7 days, which they signed for on September 11.
I don’t think it’s acceptable for the agent or landlord to keep about £1000 of my money without discussion or arbitration, even though I did technically break the tenancy agreement.
I don’t even know if it’s the agent or the landlord playing this game – the only contact details I have for the landlord are c/o the agent.