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Lost key dispute - please advise!

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369 views 1 replies latest reply: 19 October 2015
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Tenant

I am a tenant and lost the keys to my flat. The agent said the landlord was going to be out of hospital in 2 weeks and would replace the key herself then as it was a Banham key and must be done by the owner. It has now been 6 weeks (despite repeated emails and assurances) and still no key so we are still sharing 2 keys between 3 flatmates. They have charged us £75 for copies of keys but they were not the correct keys. Now we are sick of waiting so want to change locks but feel they should pay for at least some of these costs due to the delay etc

Do we have a case?

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Administrator

Hi Viv

The problem is that you lost the key, which is what puts you a bit at the landlord’s mercy. However, there does come a point where that fault runs out. £75 for key copies??? I would ask for a receipt for that, I don’t know anywhere that charges £75 for copies of a key. So the £75 keys won’t open the door?

If you make any structural changes to the building then you open yourself up to this being taken from your deposit – although if the job is done professionally and you have the same standard of locks installed there would probably be no real justification for that. It’s a bit of a grey area in terms of whether you have a ‘case.’ I’m not a lawyer but the difficulty is actually getting any money out of the landlord. If you withold rent to pay for that then you’re in breach of your tenancy can could be served notice to leave.

It’s probably worth contacting the landlord directly in writing, pointing out that the agents have charged you for these useless keys and that you just want to have a key each. Appeal to their better nature. Alternatively, you could write to the agent, point out that you’ve already paid for a set of keys that doesn’t work and give them a deadline within which to make this right. You could ask for the copy of the receipt for the £75 keys in the same letter to put pressure on them. You could also mention that you’ll be writing to the landlord about how long it’s taking to reinstate access for all of you to the property. You could even threaten to make a complaint to any of the professional bodies that the agent is a member of (ARLA for example) about how they’ve charged you £75 for keys that don’t work and then done nothing to correct this problem.

Hope that helps

Alex

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