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Lying Estate Agents and a Landlord using our flat as a storage unit!

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321 views 1 replies latest reply: 09 February 2016
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Tenant

OK so I’m just looking for some reassurance here that I’m well within my rights to be as fuming as I am. My flatmate and I viewed a property and at the appointment were told by the Estate Agent “the sofa and beds are included, and I think the table”. We put down a holding deposit and got the flat, but were then told it was actually fully furnished – which we accepted. Our confirmation letter stated the following: “AS AGREED THIS OFFER HAS BEEN ACCEPTED SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS: Furnished; Three Bedside Tables, One Sofa, One Table and Four Chairs, Two Double Beds, Two Double Mattresses, White Goods, TV Table/Unit, Chest of Drawers, Bar Counter and Two Stools.” Accept this is not an official inventory however in our contract it states that we would receive this within 7 days of the check-in appointment on our move date.

 

Fast forward to move date, we arrive at the property with all our stuff, only to find that all the cupboards and drawers are filled with crockery, kitchenware, cutlery, glassware – literally there is no room to put anything. The items are of absolutely awful quality, look like something out of the 1950s, and a lot of it still dirty. There are 2 large blue chairs also in the property not included in the confirmation letter which are dirty, stained and look like something out of a residential home. The table and chairs are included in the quote above but are in no way fit for use, ripped, damaged, ancient – you wouldn’t even attempt to sell them at a boot fair. We immediately phone the agent who apologised profusely and said it must be the previous tenants stuff and they’d get rid of it, only to tell us the next day it’s all the Landlord’s and we’re expected to keep all of it, she apologised that she “didn’t know when she showed us round”. We said this is unacceptable and we did not agree to this under any circumstances, and would not have signed in to the agreement had this been made clear. We had lots of sorrys and “I didn’t want this to happen” and the agent asked if we  could store the stuff in the closets (which also contain more of his junk) or elsewhere – to which we obviously said no. We are waiting for the inventory but do not intend to agree to it. Are we right to continue with our stance? The landlord lives in Dubai and basically appears to be renting out the flat whilst using it as a storage unit at the same time. It’s a small enough flat as it is and now we have nowhere to put anything. All of this stuff is only fit for a skip, no reasonable person would ever bother hanging on to it at all let alone expect other people to use it.  

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Administrator

Hi Melanie

What does it say in the actual tenancy agreement – that’s the doc that is the most important here. Have you had the inventory yet?

The trouble with what you have in writing is that it only says what should be in the property when you arrive. It doesn’t read as if that’s all that should be there and it’s problematic that it says ‘furnished’ as that would normally include everything from curtains to plates.

I’m not a lawyer but I wonder whether you might have a case of misleading advertising/statements. If so then you could put all the useless furniture into storage and claim the cost as compensation for loss. There’s some more info on that here but I would check with Citizen’s Advice before going ahead with it, just to make sure it applies.

If you’ve got too much stuff in there for the number of people in the property then that’s an argument you could use to get rid of some of it – for example if there are 10 chairs, that’s clearly not appropriate for two tenants. You could also ask for a rent reduction for the reduced access to space. Finally, you could view the extras as a fire hazard.

In terms of the agent, you could make a complaint about them to the agency and then after that to industry bodies such as ARLA. I believe they may have the power to order compensation which again you could use to cover storage costs. However, before you do this, make sure you have enough proof of what the letting agent agreed with you – making a complaint will obviously turn the relationship sour so it’s important you have the evidence to back it up.

Hope that helps.

Alex

 

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