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Seeking your advice as I don't know what I should do next. For a year and a half I've been renting a ground floor flat. The flat is part of a larger building which is derelict and that is where the electric meter is located so when I needed to get a meter reading I would have to contact the letting agent and they would send an agent to access the building, take a photo of the meter and text it to me.
I gave 5 weeks' notice that I was going to move out this month. They have told me to post the keys through the office letterbox at the end of the tenancy and they will then take a photo of the electric meter (the gas meter is inside the flat) and send it to me. I have asked for a date and time when an agent will be carrying out an inspection of the flat as I want to be present but they refuse to give me a date and time and just keep telling me to drop the keys into the office and they will deal with it. I have absolutely no trust in the letting agent and that's why I want to be there to get the meter reading and for the checkout process but they are being very obstructive and I don't understand why as carrying out a check-out with the tenant present is standard procedure.
My concern is that if I leave the keys they could go and cause some damage and then blame it on me (the agent gave me permission to change the front door lock when I moved in so they do not have any keys to get in) and they could leave the heating and lights on for days before giving me the reading.
All I want to do is to protect my interest and to ensure that I pay for the gas and electric that I have used and to ensure that they don't blame me for any damage in the flat which is in better condition than when I moved in. It didn't become evident until some months after moving in but the flat has rising damp and some of my clothes were ruined by mould and were very smelly.
What should I do? I don't think I'm being at all unreasonable in my requests but they are just being obstructive and it's quite frustrating so your advice would be appreciated.
May I ask if you are Tenant , landlord or rent to rent situation. The wording suggest you are a tenant ?? Then can point you in the right direction.
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Thanks for replying.
I am a landlord that has been renting so in this situation I am the tenant. I look forward to your advice.
Do think u should be there for inventory check. Could u ask actual landlord to facilitate this ? Also write letter to agents and landlord, with Photos in detail of each room including any defects which ARE your fault + pointing out which are not (rising damp for starters). If your deposit is protected, you can also supply the company (they have arbitration process) with letters + photos and ask for arbitration. But first, why not tell the agents of these intentions (use as threat) and also that the legal position is that you should be there. If they agree or not, still do it. Or get solicitor to write a letter for you.
Thanks. I've always done checkouts with my tenants present but I don't know if this is a legal requirement.
Their obstructive behaviour has given me every reason to mistrust them and why they refuse to make an appointment with me to do the checkout and give me a meter reading at the same time. Initially, I suggested that they attend the property and I will hand over the keys and get the meter reading at the same time but their response was that this is not the way they do things. Instead they want me to drop the keys off at their office and then they will attend the property but refuse to tell me when they're going to do so.
I don't know if they are a member of any estate agency redress scheme. Should I find out and if so, would there be any point in writing to the scheme?
Yes, my deposit is protected.
I don't know who the landlord is without doing a title search but I know they live in London. This property is 200 miles away.
I'm also concerned about obtaining the correct electric meter reading for my usage.
Until the keys are handed in and a surrender letter signed along with vacating the property the tenancy doesn't end.
Warn the LA that you will break in to read the meter
You are legally obligated to provide a reading and and are not allowed to be prevented from doing so.
Have a word with the provider who will gain access if required.
The LA cannot refuse access to your meter.
I really don't want to break into the property as I've never done anything like that before.
I have suggested that their agent meets me at the property so that I can hand over the keys, etc. but they insist that I travel 7 miles to their office to drop off the keys and then they will Inspect the property and take the meter reading. On 12th December the agent wrote: [name] lives in [area] so passes the property (more or less) each evening, failing that contact us first week of January and we’ll tie something up in the diary." Despite that he keeps ignoring my requests for a date and time of when the inspection, etc. will be carried out. How can I have faith and trust in an agent that behaves this way. I'm beginning to understand why LAs have a bad reputation.
Can I refuse to drop off the keys until they agree to meet me at the property? I want to know what I can legally do without losing my deposit for breach of contract which officially ends this coming Sunday.
Possibly to do with rising damp.
Video can taken of existing state if concerned about malicious breakage.
You must know how TDS works??
I think psychology is an important factor here, by your own admission the location of meter is in derelict portion. Health and safety issues and access.
Lettings agent is scared of you? Have you had any previous encounters.?
As an outsider, I can see why you have concerns. But is it worth the hassle.? No compromise possible.
But ( I did not read this) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/gas-and-elect...ity-meters
citizen's advice bureau have a web chat service and they can help online, rather than just visiting your local office. Google for more info.
Thanks for the links.
Hassle? Does it make sense to you that as the agent has to read the electric meter anyway why they wouldn't just carry out the property inspection at the same time? I have no trust in them so I have to protect my deposit because I don't know if their motive is to claim it and I can't put it past them.
I've no idea if they're scared me. I don't see why they should be. Previous encounters has been about obtaining the electric meter readings and I was assured that they would access the property whenever I needed it. The other encounter was several months ago when I heard footsteps upstairs and banging noises so I contacted them to ask if they would investigate to see if someone had broken into the property but they replied saying that the landlord hasn't asked them to manage the derelict property. Initially when I heard the noise I thought maybe the landlord had commissioned building work.
I have offered to hand over the keys 2-3 days before the end of my tenancy but the agent replied that I am responsible until the end of the tenancy (14th).
I shall seek legal advice as I need to know my position in this situation. I will also contact the utility company to make them aware of the situation.