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Landlord access to property

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385 views 1 replies latest reply: 16 June 2015
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Tenant

My daughter and her boyfriend moved into a property in June 2014.  The agreement is until 31 August 2015.The agreement is in both of their names. Three weeks ago, her boyfriend tragically died in the property.  My daughter notified the agent that she could no longer live there and would like to be freed from her tenancy.  She is 23 years old. The agent and landlord have agreed she be released provided they can find a tenant to move in. Fair enough. My wife and friends scrubbed the property until it was gleaming the following weekend and left it in a far better condition than when my daughter moved in.  We went to fetch the last item of furniture which was being kept in the landlords garage yesterday only to find the landlord there who informed us she had had cleaners in to clean the house, had redecorated 2 walls in the lounge and had clearly been going in and out the property as she liked.  My daughter on the advice of the agent has paid her rent for the first 2 weeks of June.  My questions are as follows:

1) Does the tenant have the right to be traipsing in and out of the property even though my daughter has technically moved out;

2) Does she continue paying the rent for the rest of June and ongoing as it apperas the landlord is in breach of contract;

3) Is the tenant trying to spend money on unnecessary cleaning and redecorating in an attempt to wiggle out of repaying my daughters deposit of £1200;

4) Is the agent answerable to anything legal in that they are aware the landlord has been in and out the property and have not notified my daughter of anything in writing.  The only discussion they have had with regard to accessing the property is to tell me they will be taking prospective tenants in to see the property in order to get my daughter out of her tenancy as soon as possible;

5) The landlord also informed us yesterday that all the grass in the back garden will need to be dug up and replanted as my daughters dog’s urine ahs poisened the soil.  Is there any truth in this?  As a dog owwner of 20 years, I have never had “poisoning” of the soil by any of my dogs urine.

Thanks for listening

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Administrator

Hi Graham

1) do you mean landlord? If so, no, the landlord needs to give your daughter 24 hours notice and obtain her consent before entering the property while the tenancy agreement is still in force.

2)I’m not a lawyer so I’m not sure about this but personally I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to stop paying rent as it puts you in breach of contract. It might be better to write to the landlord, point out that they are in breach of the tenancy by not giving notice and say that as they’re already treating the property as if the tenant had moved out they might want to refund the rent/surrender the tenancy as of now. If they refuse then you could speak to a solicitor about suing for trespass in order to recover the rent.

3) again, if you mean landlord then the landlord cannot take redecorating costs out of a deposit. The deposit is strictly for damage only. If the landlord has been in and out of the property before the final inventory is taken then they are going to have a hard time justifying keeping any of the deposit because any damage they claim they are entitled to be reimbursed for they could have done themselves.

With this – and the dog urine point – you need to find out which deposit protection scheme holds the deposit – there are three. Legally, the deposit must have been paid into one of these schemes (if not, you can claim 1 x 3 times the deposit via a small claims court). When the tenancy officially ends the landlord can suggest the deductions they want to make for damage (not for wear and tear or redecorating) and if the tenant doesn’t agree then the tenancy deposit scheme has a disputes service. It’s that service that would decide whether the cost for the dog urine or any other damage was reasonable. Remember that the landlord must prove a right to hold on to an amount from the deposit – they cannot just tell you they’re keeping it. This landlord can’t really prove anything now that they’ve been in the property and done stuff to it.

4) Agents – sadly, as far as I know, agents have no legal duty to tenants. And there’s no contractual obligation because the tenancy is between the landlord and tenant. However, you can complain about agents to their industry bodies and those bodies can take action for unprofessional behaviour. Have a look at the agent’s website and see which bodies it is a member of (Property Ombudsman etc) and then make a complaint.

Alex

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