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Request for rent abatement, landlord asking to show future tenants around property

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419 views 3 replies latest reply: 19 January 2016
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Tenant

Hi All

Hope you can help with my query. 

We are under a 6 months AST for this property. We quiried the inventory as being incorrect imediately on taking the property, then hit with illegal eviction notice within 4 weeks as letting agent and landlord didnt like us querying the inventory and asking for urgent repairs. Smoking/ burning lights, faulty electrics etc.

Challenged the eviction notice and subsequently withdrawn.Complained to Directors of letting agents in September, issues never really resolved and most still outstandiing.  Endless maintenance problems within our short time here, shower not working then leaking once fixed so unable to use. Dangerous gas fire etc. 

November – issued with section 21 3 month notice of posession (6 months AST ends 31st January)

Finally got landladies contact details after many requests, made formal written complaint to her early december asking for rent abatement due to issues.

Landlady passed it back to letting agent, involved PO and ARLA who advised to formally ask for rent abatement and refund of fees from letting agents again. They have until 15th January to respond or I will be pursuing through small claims court.  

My questions are:

Am I right in thinking we didnt have to give months notice as under 6 months AST and served with Section 21? Hope I am as we havent given any notice yet and due to move out of here in next couple of weeks. 

Letting agent has just emailed me saying the property is going back on the market and they will be in conatct to arrange new tenants to view. In agreement it does say we have to allow access and under normal circumstances would have gladly done so. However, due to living here in such poor conditions for last 6 months and in dispute with them, do I have to comply and let them show prospective tenants around?

IF I do have to, could I show passive ressitance? ie posters on shower stating reported in July, ‘repaired’ October for 4 days, leaking since and unuseable. 

Leave illegal eviction notice lying around with letter from solicitor attached stating illegal and harassment. 

OR can I just ignore? IF they turned up with someone, just not allow them access? OR arrange a viewing but then cancel when they get here?

We have had a shocking time this last 6 months and am not in any mood to asist them in ripping some other poor bu**ers off. 

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Administrator

Hi Helen

I’m not a lawyer but I think as long as the landlord’s notice is valid then you’re fine as that has terminated the tenancy. Yes you do have to let them show people around as it’s part of your obligations in the tenancy – however, you should always be given 24 hrs notice and they need to obtain your consent to the time and date or you can provide an alternative. If they enter without your permission then it could be tresspass and they’re in breach of the tenancy.

In terms of putting others off, it’s a bit iffy. I’m not sure whether they could make any claim from you for compensation for lost rent if they have evidence you’ve actively put people off with posters and things. I sympathise with your situation though, it sounds like they’ve been incredibly unprofessional. If you’re there when new tenants come around and they ask you questions about the landlord/property then, although it may not be advisable to say anything really negative within earshot of the agent, there’s nothing to stop you telling the truth – that’s what happened after all. 

Alex

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Tenant

Thank you for responding Alex, appreciate it. Has been an awful 6 months here and really opened my eyes to how little rights we have as tenants. I dont know any other sector that can get away with not repairing and still needing rent money.

I have been told having viewings could be an infringement on our ‘right to quite enjoyment of the property’. Would that be correct? Agents are fools to want to show anyone around the house in its current state, but it is already on Rightmove, with a higher rent and sign put up outside this morning. We are paid up here for another 2 weeks so will string it along. We are genuinely busy (we are moving house after all)

 

A good analogy I was told recently was the following;

You need to hire an estate car to transport some large items a distance for one week.

See an advert for an estate car for hire, with stereo and heated seats, but once monies paid, discovered it was actualy an estate car that you couldnt open the back up or put seats down, stereo doesnt work and the car breaks down as soon as it drives away from the garage.

You would expect and be able to get your money back. Basic consumer protection of being fit for purpose and misrepresentation would see to that.  

Rent a house advertised with en suite and 4 bedrooms, gas fire etc. So long as landlord provided heating and bathing facilities (could be a basin or bath, showers dont have to work), they are protected. No come back, Landlord can just issue section 21 and not think about it again. 

We are lucky that we have the finances and ability to fight our case and have thankfully found somewhere else to live. It has really opened my eyes to the terrible state of the provate rental sector. Once settled in new home, will be taking up the casue more actively. 

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Administrator

Hi Helen

I know, it’s shocking really. We see a lot of people who come to this site who have gone through the same thing and are completely stuck as a result. The industry really needs some reforming.

Your right of quiet enjoyment is not absolute – it’s balanced against the landlord’s right of access (as set out in the tenancy), so you can’t prevent viewings on that basis. If the viewings are frequent and at ridiculous times then it would certainly be worth bringing this up and pointing out that you’d be entitled to take action if they don’t start behaving reasonably, but it’s difficult to enforce a right of quiet enjoyment. I would be careful about trying to block viewings completely – as I said I’m not a lawyer but I imagine that the worst case scenario could be that this puts you in breach of the tenancy and the landlord could (theoretically mabye) sue you for loss as a result if they don’t find another tenant for a while. It might be worth just making a quick escape and leaving them to it.

Alex

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