This is a question to the blog clinic from Leighanne who is a tenant.
For the past 4 years, we’ve been renting a house through a Letting Agency. It was in need of repair, but the letting agent said all the work would be done within a year.
They haven’t kept their word at all. We’ve had years of excuses, lies and nobody showing up for repairs after taking time off work to wait in all day. It’s now 4yrs later and all we get is them saying that they can’t authorise any works without the approval and money from the landlady.
I don’t trust the Letting Agency anymore, but they will only provide the landlady’s name so we can’t contact her to check who is actually stopping repairs from happening. Do we actually have any legal right to have our landlady’s address details?
It looks as if the letting agents have been less than straightforward with you, but the lack of repairs may not actually be their fault.
A letting agent is the landlord’s representative. They are not the owners of the property and are not themselves personally responsible under the law for keeping the property in repair.
That is the landlord’s responsibility. Often letting agents, as the landlord’s representative, will deal with getting repairs arranged, but obviously, if they have not been put in funds by the landlord, they can’t do this.
Getting the landlord’s details
You are entitled to be told the name and address of your landlord. Your right to do this is under section 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which I wrote about here.
So you need to send a letter to the agents. Tell them that your letter is sent pursuant to section 1 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 and that you request them to provide you with your landlord’s full name and address within 21 days.
In my previous article I talk about the difficulty of enforcing this right, but since that article was written, new rules have come into force requiring agents to belong to a Property Redress Scheme (which is a type of Ombudsman scheme for letting agents).
So if your agents fail to provide the landlord’s details, a claim to the Property Redress Scheme is an easier and better course of action to take.
Bringing a claim using the Property Redress Scheme
Most agents will want to avoid a Property Redress Scheme complaint so I suspect these agents will provide the details. However, if they don’t, proceed as follows.
Your agents should state who their Property Redress Scheme is on their website, headed paper and emails. All the Property Redress Schemes will have information on their websites telling you what you should do if you want to bring a complaint, so once you know which scheme they are using, check this out.
If you do bring a claim against their Property Redress Scheme, you can also complain about the fact that repair works have been promised and not done. Although it is not the agent’s fault if they have not been put in funds, they should not have misled you or caused you to take time off work to stay in for repairmen who were never going to arrive. So you may be entitled to claim compensation for this.
If the agents are not a member of a Property Redress Scheme, then this is illegal and you should notify your local Trading Standards Office.