Landlords, tenants and agents (England)

United Kingdom
March 21, 2008 2:00pm CST
We have been having problems with our letting agent (ie the "middlemen" we have to deal with for matters concerning our landlord) and wondered what rights they have, if any. We know what a landlord can and can't do in most cases but not sure if an agent acting on a landlords behalf still has the same rights. Although we believe this particular agent is not acting on the landlord's behalf. We have had unwarranted threats of eviction from the agent even though we do not believe that the landlord wants us evicted. The agent has been rude and threatening. IT began around Christmas, died down when they chose not to turn up for a visit they arranged and now it's back to threats again. We know the agent is acting unlawfully in some ways but could anyone shed some light on what rights we have and whether an agent has any rights without the permission of tenant or landlord.
2 people like this
2 responses
@paid2write (5202)
21 Mar 08
Your landlord is paying for the services of the agents, as they take a percentage of the rent, so in effect they are 'employed' to act for your landlord. If they act against his wishes, and are rude to his tenants, I suggest he speaks to them and threatens to take his properties off their books and change to another agent, if their service is not good.
• United Kingdom
21 Mar 08
Thank you for that. The problem we have is that it is difficult for us to get in direct contact with our landlord to find out what's really going on. Also, our landlord is the sort of person who makes choices based on the cheapest rather than the best value. This is certainly the only reason we can see for using the particular agent. We are not even sure if our rent is being passed on to the landlord by the agent.
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@p1kef1sh (45642)
21 Mar 08
You need to talk to your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). They should be able to arrange for you to see a lawyer for free. At least for the first consultation. Years ago I was chair of our tenants association and if I recall correctly, what the agent is doing to you might be construed to be harassment. Assuming that you are up to date with your rent, you should be fairly safe. But see a lawyer soon
2 people like this
• United Kingdom
21 Mar 08
Thanks Fishpants. We are a month ahead with our rent so that's all groovy. I had to laugh at your first bit of advice though. Sorry! CAB Hahaha. They are a joke around here. We also feel that we are being harrassed. The agent has proven to be a bully.
2 people like this
@p1kef1sh (45642)
21 Mar 08
I am sorry, I meant to write more but I was called away just as a I got to the end of the first sentence. As I understand it, your contractual relationship is with your landlord who has decided that he will employ letting agents to act as his go between. The basic rule in contract law is that an agent is authorised to bring about an agreement between you (the third party) and the person or business they are acting for (the principal). The agreement made is a contract between the principal and the third party, and it is they who have legal rights and responsibilities to each other and can sue each other. The principal is responsible for what the agent does in connection with the contract. So my interpretation is that if the Agent is harassing you, then it is the landlord who you should sue as well as the Agent. You said that your landlord is elusive. I wold think that he might wake up if you have a solicitor write a stern letter. You haven't said why you are getting this hassle, but assuming that it is nothing that you have done, I think that you should be able to scare him off. Your local CAB may not be up to much, but they should be able to point you in the direction of a suitable solicitor. Your local Council may be able to help as well.
3 people like this
• United Kingdom
22 Mar 08
We don't believe that the harrassment from the agent is anything to do with the landlord. We're not even sure that the agent is passing on the rent. We have been here for over 2 years, we paid money to the agent to extend the contract for 18 months and only then did we begin to get any trouble. He came round for a visit on a day he knew was inconvenient because the day we asked for was his office party! We assumed he's come round with a renewed agreement as he did not give us any other reason. As far as we're concerned, the only agreement we have is a verbal one with the landlord. And if the landlord genuinely wanted us out then that would be fair enough but we think it is a matter of the agent not making enough money from us because the landlord doesn't want to put the rent up. Anyway thanks for your advice. I've got a 4-page log of complaints including the recent threatening text messages to my partner so we can take that along to the CAB if necessary. We're going to try and get directly in touch with the landlord and if the agent turns up, we'll be calling the police. He also took photos around the house without our permission and we believe he may have photos of the kids on there. Another police matter I think. His excuse for harrassing us is that the house wasn't clean and tidy when he forced a visit. Now, the house was clean apart from I hadn't had time to mop the floor that day. And as for being tidy, what person in their right mind is going to think a house with an 8 year old and a 2 year old in it is going to be immaculate? Sorry Fishy, I am ranting again. I'm just so angry about it.
2 people like this