UKC

/ Letting agents

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teh_mark on 12 Apr 2018

I've just found myself in the middle of an odd situation. I'm moving into a room in London. My friend is moving out of her room, and at the same time another tenant has moved out of theirs. I 'took' the other tenant's room, signed the tenancy agreement, have paid my first installment of rent, etc, and at the outset the letting agent agreed with my friend that that was ok by telephone. Now the other tenant (who is leaving on bad terms) has found someone else for their room, the letting agent has completely changed their mind and is pretending that the phone conversation never happened, and there appears to be a clash in which I'm somehow going to lose.

The confusing detail: the tenants jointly rent an entire property. The tenancy agreement says nothing about how the space within the house is to be shared, and as such it seems like a matter for the tenants in question, from my common sense viewpoint. The letting agent is getting heavily involved and making bold claims against my friend offering the other room dishonestly, and is trying to force the other new tenant into that room. Surely they're overstepping their powers - how everyone shares the space in the house is none of their business, giving they're letting a house and not individual rooms?

Just curious as to what everyone thinks so I can decide on my next course of action.

Post edited at 19:40
dread-i - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

If you've signed a tenancy agreement, then I'd say the agency are just scumbags trying it on to make a fast buck. It might be that an empty house, or two rooms at least, are easier and more profitable to rent out than a single room.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-a-home/tenancy-agreements/

teh_mark on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to dread-i:

As far as I'm concerned, a letting agent letting an entire property out have no legal say in how the house is shared - and just because they're being particularly crap about it, I'm tempted to simply move in and occupy the room in question. Given that I'm paying rent, and they informed me of this two days after my official move date (that I obviously hadn't moved by).

Neil Williams - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

> As far as I'm concerned, a letting agent letting an entire property out have no legal say in how the house is shared - and just because they're being particularly crap about it, I'm tempted to simply move in and occupy the room in question. Given that I'm paying rent, and they informed me of this two days after my official move date (that I obviously hadn't moved by).

Who's paying who for what?  It sounds like an HMO, not a single let.

teh_mark on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to Neil Williams:

It's a single let, let jointly by 4 tenants (now including me, God help) as in each tenant is jointly responsible for the rent of £2000 odd per month, and the tenancy agreement is for the entire house with no details specified. My previous home in London was the same, it doesn't seem to be uncommon.

I'd be less wound up but the letting agent has gone on the warpath with my friend, accusing them of dishonesty and fraudulently offering me a room that they had no right to offer, where the only mistake my friend made was having the conversation with the letting agent by telephone rather than by email.

dread-i - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

>I'm tempted to simply move in and occupy the room in question. Given that I'm paying rent, and they informed me of this two days after my official move date (that I obviously hadn't moved by).

If you're paying rent, you should move in. Possession is 9/10 and all that. It would be hard to evict you if you have an agreement and they have accepted rent. This is what a tenancy is all about; to stop landlords throwing you out on the street on a whim.

If you don't move in, you know what will happen. They will gladly take your rent. Move someone else in (on a higher rent). Then you'll be forced to chase them for the rent you've paid and any deposit. They will drag it out, asking about bills and cleaning etc. In 6 months you may be victorious, but at what cost?

summo on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

Some agents charge home owners a finders fee, up to a months rent, with the current tenant locating You, they've been deprived of that income. 

We rent out a house and located the next tenant ourselves, the agency tried to charge us the full fee, until we politely suggest they revise their stance if they wish to continue managing the property. 

Post edited at 14:43
teh_mark on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to summo:

Their argument is more that the current tenant is responsible for finding a replacement for their room only. The situation is that my friend moved out of her room, and at the same time another of the four tenants moved out and did a disappearing act, stopped paying rent and bills. My friend advertised her room too with permission, I was interested, she discussed it with the letting agent by phone who agreed that was all good, and the letting agent then seems to have misunderstood which room I was planning on moving into.

The previous tenant has now reappeared with her own replacement and the letting agent is adamant that the only room available is my friend's old room, strenuously denying that the phone conversation ever happened and claiming that they've been misled. My view is that it's none of their business really, though they've caused the entire cock-up to begin with, with their telephone misunderstanding and not bothering to clarify.

summo on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

Sounds like the owner needs to step in and tell the agency to sort it's admin out, or lose the job. 

teh_mark on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to summo:

Once I've resolved the immediate problem I plan on contacting the owner, but my current efforts are focused squarely on being able to live where I expected to be living.

This just reaffirms the belief I've had that estate and letting agents are, with little exception, 'ing useless. Though I suppose they don't exactly attract the most talented of the gene pool; how many kids dream of growing up to be an estate agent?

summo on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

Just move in. Eviction of a paying tenant who has not broken their contract would get laughed out of court. 

teh_mark on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to summo:

That's the plan. It seems to be complicated by the fact that the person whose room I plan on moving into is still on the contract however, though they have essentially moved out. But then, again, it's not specified anywhere in writing who lives in which room.

It's a giant cluster'ck basically, and I'm not impressed that I've somehow become involved unwillingly in what began as a dispute with an outgoing tenant that I have nothing to do with.


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