Here is a question to the blog clinic from Lynsey who is a tenant
We have been trying to contact the letting agency that looks after our property for our landlord.
We have sent numerous emails and made many calls. There is only one name and number on the letting agency website.
We have a lot of issues that we want to be addressed.
What can we do when it looks like the letting agency have disappeared into thin air. Do they have an obligation to get back to us ? Do we have any rights? Who can we contact if they don’t get back to us ?
Yes you do have rights, but the person you have rights against is the landlord rather than the letting agent.
Take a look at your tenancy agreement. This should provide an address for your landlord. This is a requirement of s48 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987. The landlords address should also be provided on rent demands (s47).
Under s48 you have a right to withhold rent (temporarily, not forever) if this information is not provided.
It sounds to me as if the agency may have gone out of business. In which case, if you are paying your rent to the agents, you should not make any further payments anyway, until you know what the situation is.
My advice is to try to contact the landlord direct. If you have no way of doing this, then you should withhold rent until such time as you are provided with details of your landlords contact address. Do not spend the rent, just keep it safe, ideally in a separate interest bearing bank account.
If you pay your rent to the agents and it looks as if they have gone out of business, then again, withholding rent until you have been able to contact your landlord (who may not be aware of this), is the best course of action.
If no rent is being paid, someone, sometime, is going to get in touch with you about it. You will then be able to inform them of your concerns.
I should emphasise however that the rent will be payable at that time so make sure you keep it safe.