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Harrassment from Letting Agents whilst under a notice of possession


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I have had lots of problems lately but am sifting through them and sorting them out. This one keeps popping up though, I refer to my earlier thread http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/residential-commercial-lettings/240013-advice-just-kind-words.html

 

And I have found this email sent a couple of weeks before christmas from said woman at letting agency

 

"Can you please call me as a matter of extreme urgency. If we have not heard from you by this weekend we will have no alternative but to proceed with conducting viewings with our pass keys."

 

Surely this is NOT legal?

Am I right in thinking this is an attempt at harassing us into leaving and they are attempting an illegal eviction?

 

And another email stating this

 

"Please can you call me to re-arrange meeting, alternatively I will have to make a visit to the house which may incur a charge for the visit."

The meeting was to discuss our financial difficulty :confused:

 

I now have 4 emails, 6 letters and have recieved in excess of 20 calls a week from this woman in the space of 10 weeks, we have seen her and told her things when we know them, but havent spoke to her this week yet because i am learning where i stand :) xxxx

 

Any advice appreciated xxxxxx

Edited by hardworking_harddoneby
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Have you tried these guys...

 

"Now, with regard to the harrassment - I think you need a little legal support. Try these folks - they'll get a specialist solicitor to look at your case for free and if I'm right about the LA harrassing you then they'll put the wind up them for you!

 

Community Legal Advice - free legal advice for residents of England and Wales, paid for by legal aid

 

 

A quick FYI - even if you are in money trouble, the landlord or his agent have no right to enter your property without your express permission. This applies even if it says different on your tenancy agreement.

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Have you tried these guys...

 

 

 

 

A quick FYI - even if you are in money trouble, the landlord or his agent have no right to enter your property without your express permission. This applies even if it says different on your tenancy agreement.

 

Thanks snorkerz,

I've been on the phone to Community legal Advice for over an hour and shes sending out info but basically she said there has to be more than 1 instance for it to be harrassment

 

this is in a 10 week period

 

10+ calls a week (conservative average)

8 Letters

4 emails

one stating "Can you please call me as a matter of extreme urgency. If we have not heard from you by this weekend we will have no alternative but to proceed with conducting viewings with our pass keys."

which was sent in december, and makes me think people may have viewed the property whilst we havent been in :Cry:

another email stating "Please can you call me to re-arrange meeting, alternatively I will have to make a visit to the house which may incur a charge for the visit."

The meeting was to discuss our financial difficulty :confused:

They erected a to let sign directly outside my living room window 2 weeks before christmas

In phone calls she has been threatening and intimidating. (no record unfortunately)

 

Surely it is an attempt at an illegal eviction? The advisor told me that it is likely to take 3 months to evict us from here and Out of curiosity i checked the letting agents website and sure enough, there is our house

 

"Available 10/02/2010

 

Set in a small development convenient for the ***** Centre this 3 bedroomed end town house should be viewed immediately. Comprising of entrance hallway, ground floor cloakroom, large open plan lounge with stairs off, fitted kitchen/breakfast room with integrated fridge/freezer, washer/dryer and dishwasher. Patio doors to enclosed rear gardens which are laid to lawn and patio with garden shed. First floor with gallery landing, has master double bedroom with built in wardrobes, en-suite shower room, 2nd double bedroom with built in wardrobe, 3rd single room. Family bathroom with shower over bath. Driveway parking, Immaculate condition and neutral decor ideal for professional couple or sharing let. Sorry no pets and non-smokers preferred."

 

 

Should be viewed immediately? It is not good for my stress levels :Cry:

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Yes, you can insist that all future communications are in writing.

 

And regardless of what it says in your AST, it is totally illegal for LL or LL's representative to enter your property without your express permission. You can change the locks provided you put the old ones back before you leave and I would recommend you do this.

 

I believe that I previously suggested you contact Shelter - PLEASE TRY to contact them. They are used to dealing with people like this and will help you. To suggest that the treatment you have received from this agent is not harrassment or attempted illegal eviction is laughable.

 

The fact that you have received notice of possession is irrelevant. Until they have an order of the court saying you must be out by a specific date, (and they still then have to get the bailiffs to evict you) they do not have a leg to stand on and are NOT entitled to enter your property.

 

I just wish I could do something more practical to assist you. I would really love to give this awful woman a piece of my mind about her treatment towards you and her complete ignorance of tenancy law.

Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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Yes, you can insist that all future communications are in writing.

 

And regardless of what it says in your AST, it is totally illegal for LL or LL's representative to enter your property without your express permission. You can change the locks provided you put the old ones back before you leave and I would recommend you do this.

 

I believe that I previously suggested you contact Shelter - PLEASE TRY to contact them. They are used to dealing with people like this and will help you. To suggest that the treatment you have received from this agent is not harrassment or attempted illegal eviction is laughable.

 

The fact that you have received notice of possession is irrelevant. Until they have an order of the court saying you must be out by a specific date, (and they still then have to get the bailiffs to evict you) they do not have a leg to stand on and are NOT entitled to enter your property.

 

I just wish I could do something more practical to assist you. I would really love to give this awful woman a piece of my mind about her treatment towards you and her complete ignorance of tenancy law.

 

Hi again KentishLass,

I will call shelter tomorrow, after the knock back from the council i was a bit down but fight again tomorrow, i couldnt believe the lady from the advice line wasnt more helpful or sympathetic but as soon as i get the info pack ill contact one of the legal aid solicitors and have a chat,

Bty had another message left today by her colleague, a long message saying we need to have a meeting with "the woman" next week when she returns from holiday as there are alot of people interested in the property and they need to know what we are doing about the rent arrears, she then ended the message with "because this wont go away you know" , sooooo patronising.....

Do we have to attend this meeting? Is email correspondence not enough especially considering since we lost our car on monday the appointment at the council has been put back to 15th jan so we cant tell her anything new anyway :(

 

xxx

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No - you do not have to attend this meeting. Just ignore them and change the locks. If you want to email them BRIEFLY and say you have taken advice and all further communications should be in writing prior to your consultation with your solicitor regarding their harrassment and illegal eviction methods. Don't mention money or arrears or anything like that.

 

Until they have a court order, they cannot evict you - and they still have to get bailiffs to actually do the job.

 

I should tell you that I am a landlord myself and would be furious that my tenants would not pay me, but this agent's behaviour is totally unacceptable - and illegal.

Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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No - you do not have to attend this meeting. Just ignore them and change the locks. If you want to email them BRIEFLY and say you have taken advice and all further communications should be in writing prior to your consultation with your solicitor regarding their harrassment and illegal eviction methods. Don't mention money or arrears or anything like that.

 

Until they have a court order, they cannot evict you - and they still have to get bailiffs to actually do the job.

 

I should tell you that I am a landlord myself and would be furious that my tenants would not pay me, but this agent's behaviour is totally unacceptable - and illegal.

 

Hiya,

I have always understood that we owe money and dont like the owing the money part and are sorting it out, thats why i was so worried when we couldnt make the council meeting and its been put back now.

What makes me so upset is that they are getting housing benefit direct now and so we owe about £100 a month but they know we are struggling and trying and its not like they arent getting anything,

Im not putting up with being treated and spoken to like that though, ive been a doormat to too many people for too long now,

 

I will send them email stating only communicate in writing and i will not attend any meetings as i have no obligation to.

I promise ill call shelter tomorrow as well, thanks again kentish lass for your support xxxxxx

sarah

 

xxxx

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Hi HH

 

I just want to say that you seem to be following KLs advice and I back up everything she has suggested to you.

 

It is obviously a horrible time of life for you, but you don't need **** making it any worse!

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Hi HH

 

I just want to say that you seem to be following KLs advice and I back up everything she has suggested to you.

 

It is obviously a horrible time of life for you, but you don't need **** making it any worse!

 

 

Thanks again everyone, it cant ever be underestimated how much this forum has helped me and my frame of mind, even just getting my probs out there to someone else without (usually) the fear of judgement of being berated.

Email sent this afternoon -

 

I am writing to inform you that the meeting scheduled for 4th January has been put back to 15th January for reasons beyond our control, therefore I have no new information to tell you but can assure you we are doing what we can.

I also request you stop the phone calls and messages and only communicate with me in writing from now on.

 

****** *************

Let us wait and see then, xxxxxxxx

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The rights you have as an assured shorthold tenant

 

An assured shorthold tenancy is a tenancy that gives you a legal right to live in your accommodation for a period of time. Your tenancy might be for a set period such as six months (this is known as a fixed term tenancy). Or it might roll on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis (this is known as a periodic tenancy).

The law gives you rights to:

 

  • get information about your tenancy
  • control your home so that you can stop other people from freely entering
  • get certain types of repairs done
  • live in your accommodation until your landlord gets a court order to evict you.

You may also have other rights, such as to get your landlord to do repairs or to challenge rent increases. However, assured shorthold tenants can be evicted fairly easily, so if you try to enforce these rights you could risk losing your home. Get advice before you decide what to do.

Your right to live in your accommodation undisturbed

 

You have the right to live in your accommodation without being disturbed. You have control over your home so that your landlord and other people cannot freely enter whenever they want to. Your landlord cannot limit or otherwise interfere with your right to live in your home. If your landlord tries to do this s/he may be guilty of harassment, which is against the law.

Court order

 

You cannot be evicted before your landlord has gone to court and the court has agreed to your landlord regaining possession of the property. The court's permission is on a written notice known as a possession order. The court has no choice but to make an order to evict assured shorthold tenants if the correct procedure has been followed. You may be able to ask the court to delay the order but this can only be done for up to six weeks, and only if you face exceptional hardship.

You will be given the chance to provide information to the court to help the judge decide whether or not you should be evicted. You can send information to the court and/or go to a hearing.

If you don't leave by the time a court order takes effect, your landlord can ask the bailiffs to physically remove you from the property.

Periodic tenants

 

If your tenancy is periodic or if the fixed term has come to an end, your landlord can evict you fairly easily. There is no need for your landlord to give a reason to the court but s/he must be able to show that you have an assured shorthold tenancy and that the correct notice has been served.

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KL - you disappoint me - you forgot the sellotape trick girl! LOL!

 

Harddoneby - it would be good to establish that they are in fact entering your home so that you can give Shelter more ammunition to aim at them.

 

Get some clear sellotape, and have an independent witness with you. Place the clear sellotape at three points, top, middle and bottom, over the outside of the front door, and across the frame, so that if the door is opened whilst you are out you will know for sure, as the seals will be disturbed. Make sure you press it nice and smooth so it can't be seen when they approach the door and put the key in.

 

Once you know for sure this has happened, get the locks changed, and write and tell them you have done so as they have entered your home illegally.

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Sorry Jackie - yes I did forget. I think it possible that they have not yet tried entering the property but are using threats and harrassment to bully HH - and where they think it will get them, I honestly don't know! She is doing the best she can!

Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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The rights you have as an assured shorthold tenant

 

An assured shorthold tenancy is a tenancy that gives you a legal right to live in your accommodation for a period of time. Your tenancy might be for a set period such as six months (this is known as a fixed term tenancy). Or it might roll on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis (this is known as a periodic tenancy).

The law gives you rights to:

 

  • get information about your tenancy
  • control your home so that you can stop other people from freely entering
  • get certain types of repairs done
  • live in your accommodation until your landlord gets a court order to evict you.

You may also have other rights, such as to get your landlord to do repairs or to challenge rent increases. However, assured shorthold tenants can be evicted fairly easily, so if you try to enforce these rights you could risk losing your home. Get advice before you decide what to do.

Your right to live in your accommodation undisturbed

 

You have the right to live in your accommodation without being disturbed. You have control over your home so that your landlord and other people cannot freely enter whenever they want to. Your landlord cannot limit or otherwise interfere with your right to live in your home. If your landlord tries to do this s/he may be guilty of harassment, which is against the law.

Court order

 

You cannot be evicted before your landlord has gone to court and the court has agreed to your landlord regaining possession of the property. The court's permission is on a written notice known as a possession order. The court has no choice but to make an order to evict assured shorthold tenants if the correct procedure has been followed. You may be able to ask the court to delay the order but this can only be done for up to six weeks, and only if you face exceptional hardship.

You will be given the chance to provide information to the court to help the judge decide whether or not you should be evicted. You can send information to the court and/or go to a hearing.

If you don't leave by the time a court order takes effect, your landlord can ask the bailiffs to physically remove you from the property.

Periodic tenants

 

If your tenancy is periodic or if the fixed term has come to an end, your landlord can evict you fairly easily. There is no need for your landlord to give a reason to the court but s/he must be able to show that you have an assured shorthold tenancy and that the correct notice has been served.

 

Thanks Seanamarts,

I'm so lucky to have honest people offering advice, my assured shorthold tenancy agreements states -

 

3. Upon the expiry of the initial fixed term of this tenancy agreement, it is agreed that the tenancy shall continue as a monthly statutory periodic tenancy and the same terms and conditions of this agreement shall apply, including the notice element, ie one clear calendar months notice in writing as specified, effective from a rent due date.

 

Also just saw this

 

8. Should the tenant not make payment of the rent by the due date as referred to within the contract, or subsequent agreed revision of that date, the tenant shall pay a surcharge of £1 per day to **** **** residentials until the rent and surcharge is paid in full. Should any correspondence be necessary if the rent is arrears, the tenant agrees to pay a charge of £5 plus VAT per letter and £5 plus VAT per telephone call. Payments to be made by standing order.

We owe them ALOT then :(

Haven't seen anything by way of an invoice for that, but I fear that it will be coming soon,

 

 

S

XXXX

x

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Not sure that such charges are enforceable anyway. Don't worry about it at the moment. If it ever gets to court, you can question any extra charges.

Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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Not sure that such charges are enforceable anyway. Don't worry about it at the moment. If it ever gets to court, you can question any extra charges.

 

 

Thanks KentishLass, no response from our email yet, but i know it will come, I'll let you know, and thanks again,

Have a lovely weekend

 

Sarahxxxxx

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