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Hi there

 

I resonantly agreed to use a letting agent to manage my property. I received an email from the agent 4 days later after new tenants moved in that a contractor has already completed maintenance in respect of cleaning for removal of rubble and received an invoice of £220 which will be deducted from the next rental collection. When I instructed the agent to handle the rental of the above property I was not given any details or phone call of other charges.

 

As per the ingoing inspection & photographs...the property was left in a terrible condition by the outgoing tenants (unfortunately I didn't use a letting agent with previous tenants and let down, but that's a separate issue)

 

The new tenants could not take occupation of the property prior to cleaning & rubble removal. Therefore the office proceeded with the cleaning & rubble removal as a matter of urgency, in order for the new tenant to take occupation. The agent states there was no alternative but to have the property professionally cleaned & for the rubble to be removed. (I agree, it need to be cleaned but the agent should have notified me by email/phone as per the agreement to give my consent)

 

The agent states that under the circumstances they were acting on the landlords best interest & to accommodate the waiting tenant had to act quickly. Therefore this is an exception but the contract does not allow for any exceptions.

 

I believe the agent is liable for the cost, however there are two clause stating

 

1) Attend to do repairs and general maintenance of the premises as authorised by the landlord from time to time

 

2) The Landlord authorises agent to incur reasonable expenses relating to the general upkeep of the PREMISES for which the LANDLORD may be liable in terms of the LEASE AGREEMENT, and to set such expenses off against monies collected by agent on behalf of the LANDLORD from time to time. It is expressly agreed that the reasonable maintenance expenses referred to above shall be limited to £100.00 (plus VAT) per occurrence. If any repairs are reasonably expected to exceed this amount, payment of such expense must be authorised by the LANDLORD.

 

My concern is after indicating these two clause to the agent they now are treating this agreement unfairly. The agent confirmed that they will not hold the landlord liable for the entire cleaning & rubble removal invoice, £220.00...but only for £100.00 as per clause of the authorization.

 

I am concerned about this as the agent treated this issue unfairly; the agent did not follow protocols and have breach the contract. By all these acts, what will the future hold for their next defence when dealing with any issues in a prompt and professional manner if they already acted dishonest and caused me severe problems?

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Was the rubble clearing and cleaning significantly overpriced? Would you have cleared and cleaned it yourself had you been advised? If the answer to both is no then the letting agent has made amends and saved you £100 in the process. Accept their apologies and tell them to make sure they don't overstep the contractual boundaries in future.

 

I would also count yourself lucky that they didn't ask the cleaning company to issue two invoices; one for the cleaning and one for the rubble removal. That way you could have been legally obliged to pay the whole amount.

 

Finally, I wouldn't question the honesty of the letting agent on the basis of this scenario alone. Agreements of this nature will often vary the reasonable expenses threshold depending on the rent, so it's more likely to be an honest mistake on the part of the agent (a mistake they have paid for!) rather than a deception.

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The alternative would have been to organise the cleaning and rubble removal (rubble?!) at your own expense, before you turned over responsibility to the agent and agreed for them to commence a new tenancy. Or you could easily have lost income while the agent arranged cleaning on a slower timescale, to the letter of the contract. If your agent has found you a decent and reliable long-term tenant by getting them in sooner rather than later, they will actually save you money in the long run, especially as your experience of direct letting has clearly not been a good one.

 

You admit that you wouldn't expect tenants to move in before this had happened, so I'm not sure there's much to worry about here!

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The compensation for a breach of contract is the amount of money you have lost.

 

In this case, had they not breached the contract you may have lost the tenants, and you would still have had to pay for the work.

 

Therefore it may be reasonable to say you have lost nothing due to the breach of contract, and therefore have nothing to sue for.

 

Make it clear to the agent what you expect from them and hopefully they will keep you in the loop in future.

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Also Agent's prompt action in removing rubble and cleaning property prob saved a claim from prosp Ts for breach of Contract (property not avail on due date) conpensation for temp alt accom could have cost LL £50 p day.

Whilst monitoring agents charges is good, in this instance they deserve a letter of thanks IMO (small skip prob cost £100+ to hire)

"... if they already acted dishonest and caused me severe problems?"

 

Were you going to refuse their estimate, sort it yourself or just leave it? thus causing angry new Ts.

Your severe problems? £220 is prob only 2 wks rent and poss recoverable from prev Ts deposit.

 

How long have you been renting?

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