Property manager making life difficult


#1

My situation is complex and I don’t want to put too much here in case my property manager sees it.

My landlord is a good person but I don’t have the contact details, just the solicitor who set up the tenancy agreement.
The agreement also states any issues to be reported to the property manager.
We have a short assured tenancy with an AT5 (before December '17)

On the very rare occasions I’ve seen the actual landlord he has made it clear we should feel at home and are free to decorate etc. We would have loved to stay here permanently.

However since then our property manager only answers the phone now and then, has ignored requests for repairs. If we cross the property manager in the street she refuses to acknowledge us.
Signs are stating to go up claiming areas are private property when they are not and while my partner was off sick following surgery, he returned to work was forced into redundancy and our property managers husband is now employed there!

This is a very small village and I totally feel like she is forcing us to leave, what can I do?
I’m worried if I contact the solicitor they will just give us notice to quit.


#2

Hey,

Sorry to hear that you are havign a rough time. Having been in an AST where I took the agent to the property ombudsman and won my case, try not to stress about it all.

I note your tenancy agreement states that repairs should be reported to the property manager. At the point of signing your tenancy you should have received a copy of how to report any issues (i.e. repairs) and a time frame of how long you should expect to wait for the repairs to be completed (for ex. Urgent (flood, roof leaking=24 hours; medium (i.e. window lock wont lock) = 7 days; non-urgent = maximum of 28 days - get confirmation if this is business or calendar days!). If you haven’t got this then request it immediately and give a 7 calendar day deadline to receive it. Likewise you should have received a copy of their complaint procedure, including escalation and an independant body (1st tier property tribunal, property ombudsman) if the complaint cannot be resolved. Again if you haven’t got this then request a copy with a 7 day deadline.

Ensure everything is documented, and photo’s taken of any repair required. If you have called the property manager on the phone, follow that up in writing (email) enclosing evidence. If the Property Manager fails to complete the repair by the relevant deadline, then escalate, but also lodge an official complaint (note there should be a timeframe for any complaints to be responded to). Detail the complaint clearly (using bullet points) so it is easy for the Property Manager to understand, include any evidence, include a short section of how you want the complaint resolved.

Finally before you escalate to the 1st tier tribunal or property ombudsman you must have given the company sufficient time to resolve your complaint (1 month), including via their escalation procedures (potentially a further month) and received a “final response” letter. If the property manager refuses to converse with you initially and after escalation (ensure you keep proof) after a certain period of days (not sure how long) you could then escalate to the 1st Tier Housing Tribunal. Get confirmation of this from Shelter/CAB before taking that action.

Note you also have the right under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 to request the landlord’s contact address. You should request this is writing, hand it to the agent and if they refuse to sign, again follow this up in writing via email. If you want to send it via email, ensure you include a (return receipt), although in Law I’m not certain whether email is classified as delivering the notice. If they refuse to provide this to you within 21 calendar days they are committing a criminal offence. Copy of Legislation here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1987/26/section/327, and I have attached a draft copy of a letter (via jpeg) within this response.

Pretty sure that covers it. Do not be afraid to challenge, however daunting it may seem, you do not deserve to be treated badly by the agent even if the Landlord treats you fairly.


#3

Thank you for your help, some great advice there! Much appreciated :slight_smile:


#4

It sounds like it would be worth having a chat with the landlord directly if your experiences have been largely positive with him/her. You should be able to get the landlord’s full details through the landlord registration website as you only need your postcode to look the details up if you’d rather not ask the agent directly: https://www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk/search/start

Even if it says in your agreement that you should defer to the property manager, the landlord might not have an issue with you getting in touch in exceptional circumstances. I did that myself once in Glasgow to negotiate a shorter notice period because I was moving city for a new job. My landlord was fantastic and agreed straight away even though she didn’t have to. I got my full deposit back too.

There is definitely free legal recourse there for you as a tenant to address these issues but maybe just having an open dialogue with your landlord might resolve a lot of the problems you mentioned without the need for more formal action. If you do have Scottish short assured tenancy I can totally understand your concern re going down the agent’s internal complaints process and raising an action at the First-tier Tribunal re their management of the property.

If you need more information on your rights as a tenant though, check out Shelter Scotland’s Get Advice resources here: https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/guides/renting_privately