After two years unemployment, and having moved back to my parents after living in London for several years, I finally got a new job in another part of the country. I slummed it on a mate's couch for the first month, and finally got a flat to rent in the city centre, took the keys on May 9th, and moved stuff in over the weekend of 12th/13th.
The rent is £500/month, with a deposit of £500 (which was agreed I'd pay over two months). I had to pay an "administration fee" of £200 to the letting agent.
On the first attempted viewing, the agent's rep had left the keys inside, nipped out to his car and locked himself out of the entrance to the apartment block. I watched him for about half hour trying to break in to the block using various methods without success. I arranged to view the next evening with the Letting Agent himself, a Friday night. I left work early to squeeze it in on my way to the railway station as i was going back to my parents for the weekend. As I was on my way, I got a text from the Agent, "Running late, sorry, can't make it - have to do it tomorrow." It's only an hour from parents by train, didn't have little choice, so I agreed, despite a saver return costing £28!
I did view on the Saturday morning - he was late - and I pretty much knew how the flat would look as I'd viewed others with different agents. I did the deal, (he was asking £550pcm - the price that furnished flats are going for in the development, I offered £475pcm - a fair price for unfurnished - and we agreed on £500pcm - slightly over the odds). At the viewing I pointed out that the carpets needed cleaning, the kitchen cupboards, oven and bathrooms also needed cleaning. He promised that this would all be taken care of. I gave him £200 cash "administration and preparation fee", receipt of which was confirmed by him writing on his business' compliments slip.
We arranged for me to take the keys on the following Wednesday - May 9th. When he arrived - late - he said he didn't have time to do the business, and could we do it the the next evening. Reluctantly I agreed, he gave me the keys, I gave him a cheque for £250 deposit and £500 first months rent. The receipt of this was again acknowledged on a business' compliments slip. He left (this all happened in the car park, not the property) and i went in. None of the cleaning had been done. I did a pretty thorough inspection, making a detailed list of faults (only minor faults to be honest) which I emailed to him the following morning.
Next evening he cancelled meeting me to sort out the tenancy agreement, and said could we do it the next evening, Friday. The carpets, etc., still hadn't been cleaned, and again he promised that it would be taken care of before I moved my furniture in on the Saturday.
I phoned him on the Friday morning to make sure he was getting the carpets cleaned, "Yes mate, it'll all be done!" On his track record I thought it prudent to ask if he had keys to let cleaners in. "Yes, don't worry, it'll all be taken care of."
I checked in on the Friday evening 5pm - when again he was supposed to be sorting out the Tenancy Agreement - but again cancelled because he was running late, and, yes you've guessed it. No cleaning. I contacted him immediately, and he said that I was starting to **** him off! "How could I get in, you've got the keys?" "Err, that's why I asked you this morning if you needed keys to get in..." "No you didn't!"
It just so happened that I was only 10 minutes from where he lives, so I said, "Fortunately for you, I'm eating at the retail park, so you can come and collect the keys, I'll be at the property between 3 and 5 tomorrow to drop my first delivery of stuff in - you will be there to return keys and to sort out the Tenancy Agreement. He sent his cleaning crew to collect the keys.
I phoned him when I was 20 minutes away. He arrived with the keys, and the tenancy agreement (Standard Shorthold Tenancy Agreement) and an "application form" - which he filled in "to make it quicker", I signed but didn't get a copy of either (Standard Shorthold Tenancy Agreement) - he said he'd post out my copies shortly. Fortunately the carpets had been cleaned! (But not the oven, kitchen work surfaces or hob top). I found it surprising that we didn't do a thoroughly detailed inspection/an inventory check - and when I pointed out that the vertical blind in the master bedroom had been removed, he said, "I'm sure it was here when we viewed." I said I'd emailed him a full list of things first thing the morning after I'd got the keys, "Oh, I don't get time to look at emails...."
The letting agent told me that the previous tenants had done a runner with 2 months rent unpaid (and sure enough, there was plenty of mail to that effect. In fact, on the Friday before I moved in there was letters from the water and electricity supplier threatening to switch off supply - which I took care of straightaway. On my first night sleeping there, the doorbell rang at 3.30am and the previous tenant wanted to "get his furniture" (I didn't open the door!) but just shouted through that there wasn't any furniture there and I'd just moved in (along with a request for him to "go away", and if it wasn't for the fact that I'm a pacifist and was half naked, I'd be giving him a thoroughly good hiding).
On the Friday of that first week I got home to find a letter addressed to "Mrs xxxxx xxxxxx AND ANY OTHER OCCUPIER". I correctly guessed that Mrs X was the owner of the property. The letter was from my adopted city's Crown Court and was an eviction notice for her and any other occupants, eviction to be actioned at 10.30am June 5th. I had the name and address of the legal firm who brought the action and who they were acting on behalf of, and the bailiff details at the courts. I called the letting agent who didn't answer his phone so I left a couple of messages and then contacted him by text.
I phoned all the parties trying to find out as much as I could first thing Monday morning. The letting agent, who is a total tool, was as flippant as you like and offered not much more than, "Oh this happens all the time, it'll be ok. And if it does happen we'll move you into somewhere else..." (Err, I've just spent a fortune, money and not to mention time and effort, moving in to this place!)
By the Wednesday (just gone) the mortgage people got back to me to say that Mrs X had come to an arrangement with them. However, I've had further letters on Thursday and Friday from the mortgage company's solicitors, asking her to contact them immediately to make an arrangement and halt the forthcoming legal action (i.e.: eviction).
With it being a bank holiday there's not much I can do before tomorrow and that only leaves a week before E-day. What are my rights, what are my next steps. My mother works as a Legal Sec and one of the solicitors she works for is a property specialist. She's suggested that I make an offer to the mortgage company to pay them the rent direct; but the mortgage company has told me that she hasn't even got a buy-to-let mortgage. Sorry this has been a bit rambling for my first post...