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Poor service + unfair treatment + fraud

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376 views 2 replies latest reply: 06 February 2017
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Tenant

Hi, we hope someone can advise us.

 

We are a couple of young professionals recently moved to UK for work. The first month we stayed in an Airbnb accommodation in order to have the time to find a long-term one. We came through this agency, at first impact seemed kind and competent but after our payment to block the flat from the market, they became the opposite.

 

The story is very long even if it all started a month ago, so I’m going to list the main problems that we have, and then the complete story by date.

 

– We have to pay council tax despite in the ad was written it was included in the rent. We are also the only ones who are paying it in all the building even if we are all under the same agency and Landlord

 

– Long time to fix repairs even if very urgent (hot water)

 

– Problems with the water, low pressure and sometimes no hot water

 

– Poor management of the electricity utility (they’ve left us without electricity 3 times)

 

– The flat is very cold despite frequent and expensive electricity top-ups (30£ a week for max 16 degrees).

 

– There is no transparency about how the top-up process and the energy provider

 

– Poor or inexistent communications from the agency, no replies even after urgent reminders.

 

– Landlord never answers to our calls.

 

***UPDATE***

We have found out that the Landlord was the owner of this estate agency until 2013. Now is Emma, our lovely letting agent. 

 

Sorry for my English, I hope you’ll understand all.
Are these valid reasons to rescind a contract? All we want is to run away from this agency that is transforming our life in a nightmare.

 

Thank you in advance

 

(For a complete vision of our situation, please, read the full story below.  Thank you)

 

___________________________________________________________________________

 

13/12 Emma (estate agent) sent us the ad, which said that the council tax is included in the rent.

 

15/12 We paid 295£ to block the flat from the market, from that moment we can’t have this money back. After the payment, Emma said that the landlord asked for a supplement of 6-week deposit due to our cat (it was already mentioned on the research requirements)

 

16/12 Emma also changed the minimum salary from 25K to 35K. We needed to find a guarantor.

 

21/12  We paid the deposit + 1st-month rent

 

23/12 The first day of rent from the contract, but they said that they can’t see the payment yet. We needed to wait for this to have the keys, but they were closed for holidays until 03/01. Emma said that there will be her colleague in the office at 28/12 and that she will let us updated. We needed to find an accommodation as we had finished our first temporary stay.

 

28/12 Despite a lot of calls and emails, nobody answered. We needed another night out without knowing nothing and worried about in having taken a fraud.

 

29/12 The colleague, David, finally appeared and we met to sign the Tenancy Agreement. We discovered that we have to pay the council tax, so we called Emma for an explanation, who said, LYING, that she had told us at the viewing and that the ad was only for an illustrative scope. David said that he didn’t know anything because he wasn’t in charge of us, but that he knew that the landlord usually doesn’t pay the council tax for the tenants. He also said that they will have found a way to fix this problem. We reluctantly had to sign the contract because we were without another accommodation to stay and we didn’t want to loose the deposit, as we were already spending a lot of money for extra accommodations. David provided us with the keys but without an inventory and without explaining anything about the house. Once entered, we noticed that the house was really impossible to get warmed and that the water had problems on pressure and to become hot. Also, the wi-fi wasn’t working. The agency was already closed, so we had to wait.

 

03/01 We wrote an e-mail to the agency with all the problems that we have found, pointing up that we are not able to take a proper shower due to the hot water that stops working in the middle of it. Emma said that Eva would have taken these problems in charge.

 

04/01 The electricity stopped working. Only in that moment, we found out that we have a prepayment electricity meter which has finished the credit.

 

We informed the agency that we will be back to our Country for few days, in order to organise a day for the repair of the water. Nobody answered.

 

11/01 Returned from Italy I came to the agency to top up the electric meter and I confirmed that we are still having problems with the water. Eva took notes and said, “I will let you know”.

 

13/01 In the evening hot water doesn’t start working at all.

 

14/01 We wrote to the agency informing on above, pointing up that we aren’t able to take showers for days.

 

14/01 h 10.30pm Electricity stopped working in all the building (8 flats in total). We met the other tenants, finding that they are having the same our problems, but they don’t pay the council tax (!!!). The Landlord didn’t answer the phone. We spent the night (11 hours) without electricity, which means also without water and cookers, as it all works with electricity. It started at 9.30am.

 

17/01 The plumber arrived and he fixed the problem (after 14 days of the first notice and after 4 days that the hot water wasn’t working at all). We were finally able to take a shower.

 

18/01 They provided the wi-fi (after 15 days of the notice)

 

21/01 Figuring out that we were running out the electricity, we tried top up the meter through the website provided (as we finally had a credit card). The website didn’t allow us to do it, so we had to call the agency, who said to send to them the payment before 5pm, their closing time. We transferred them the money at 4pm, but they didn’t answer anymore, despite calls and emails, for all the weekend. Desperate for being without electricity for another weekend, we asked advice to our neighbours, and one of them told us that there was an emergency credit.

 

23/01 Emma confirms us the electricity top-up, without answering our question asking when we will be able to top up the electricity independently. No answers.

 

25/01 We met the other tenants of the building to make the point of the situation as we were running the same problems. We are all paying insanely bills (30£ a week) despite the flats are always cold (max 16°), and we all have problems with the water, that is having problems again.  They confirm that we are the ones who are paying the council tax.

 

28/01 h 11.30am We transfer 30£ to the agency to top up the electricity meter noticing it to Emma. We asked again when we will be able to top up the electricity independently. No answers for all the weekend.

 

30/01 h 9.00 am The electricity stopped working again neither with the emergency credit activated. We wrote to Emma and to the “info” contact, but nobody answered. At 1.30pm we called the agency and after a “one moment that I check”, the electricity immediately started. After asking again when we will be able to top up the electricity independently, they’ve replied that they have to ask the Landlord.

 

***UPDATE***

We have found out that the Landlord was the owner of this estate agency until 2013. Now is Emma, our lovely letting agent. 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Sorry for my English, I hope you’ll understand all.
Are these valid reasons to rescind a contract? All we want is to run away from this agency that is transforming our life in a nightmare.

 

Thank you in advance

 

 

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Tenant

Hello, 

I’m sorry to say this, but you have likely been taken for a ride by the letting agency and the landlord (or are they the same thing ?).

I’ll try to answer your questions, but you have to set your expectations low from now on. 

There are very few legitimate reasons to rescind a contract. Unfortunately, for you, these reasons most often don’t lie with the landlord’s performance or the letting agent for that matter. You need to go back to your tenancy agreement and review it line by line and look if there isn’t any mistake somewhere in there, e.g. the landlord’s name got spelled wrong, which MAY invalidate the contract.

It would seem that the landlord and letting agent are not interested in providing a good service. 

Normally, I would recommend that you set their phone ablaze so much that it would be less annoying to fix the problem than to receive constant calls, letters and emails by you. However, seeing that this is not a working option for you, I’d recommend you get together with the rest of the tenants and think of a way act collectively against your landlord and letting agent. 

You can file a collective complaint to the local council about the problems with your hot water and the electricity meters. You’re not prisoners of your landlord and have right to independent access to the electrical grid.

Is your deposit protected in a government-authorised scheme ?

You never did mention the deposit or prescribed information served to you. 

Please download our guide – Get your tenancy deposit protected and check what is going on with your deposit money. 

You’re entitled to compensation if the landlord did not protect your deposit. If all the tenants (assuming all deposits are not protected) filed a claim for a compensation, this landlord can suffer serious financial losses. 

You may use this to leverage them to let you off the leash, but your chances aren’t great.

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Tenant

Hi Audrey, thank you so much for your comment.

I’ve checked if the deposit is protected, and it is, the only strange thing is that the number of the address is not correct. Could it be a problem?

Thank you

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