1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

My items removed from house by estate agent

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lucyrose50, Sep 13, 2019 at 7:55 AM.

  1. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I rent out my house on a fully managed basis through an estate agent. The former tenants recently moved out and left the house in need of cleaning, with some rubbish and random things of theirs left behind and needing to be removed. I was away at the time and did not visit the house immediately after the tenants left, but I received a copy of the estate agent's end of tenancy report on the condition of all of the rooms. This mentioned that a few things were missing, but nothing huge or expensive - things like a pan stand, a washing up bowl etc.
    When I went to the house a week or so later, I saw that some more items were missing - various things, from small stuff like a lamp to bigger things like a desk and a large rug. Some of these had not been mentioned at all on the end of tenancy report, but others had either been specifically mentioned or were visible in the photos, which means they had been removed after the tenants had left. They were all listed on the original inventory when the tenants moved in. I spoke to the estate agents and they have admitted that whoever they sent in to remove the former tenants' items did not consult the inventory and removed some of my things as well. I'm very annoyed about this because it would have been easily avoidable if they'd used the inventory. These missing items would cost about 700 quid to replace, but the estate agent has offered me 200 on the grounds that none of the items were brand new so they can't give me the as-new price. I know that things removed or damaged by the tenants can't be charged at as-new prices, but I feel very differently about things that have been removed by someone sent in by the estate agent. If anything, they should be compensating me for the inconvenience of having to deal with their mess-up!
    Has anyone been in this situation before and can advise me on what they did? Should I report it to the police, as it is after all someone removing my possessions from my property without my permission? Am I likely to be able to claim for it on my insurance?
    Please don't suggest that I change estate agents, I'd love to but I'm tied into a contract with them which would cost me a significant amount to get out of, and I'm finding it very frustrating that I have to either stick with them after their incompetence or lose a load more money. Don't add to my bad mood about it all!
     
  2. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Surely they haven't "removed" them - they have stolen them. I would want the items back or I would go to the police. Or both. Also, they have surely broken their side of the contract which would, I think, mean you could leave the contract without any penalty.
    Go and get a free half hour of legal advice from a solicitor.
     
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    There's a big difference between negligence and theft. No evidence of theft.
     
    bombaysapphire and suzuki1690 like this.
  4. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    @lucyrose50 isn't there something in your contract that points to them breaking - at least - the contract.
    Reading the original post again, do we presume that the things have been destroyed and cant be returned.
     
  5. towncryer

    towncryer Senior commenter

    I think that you just have to accept this kind of thing. I have stopped bothering now. I left my place well equipped with good quality everything only to find that some had been replaced with cheaper versions and the agent hadn't even noticed! Property rental is a business...a huge one,,and the agents can be very slap dash regarding condition of property and contents.
    This year I replaced anything that needed replacing with cheap and cheerful and took out anything of sentimental value.

    I doubt you will be able to chase this to your satisfaction. Let go and move on.It's not your home while its in the hands of the agents,.
     
    suzuki1690 likes this.
  6. Nellyfuf2

    Nellyfuf2 Occasional commenter

    Ask the agents to find another decent desk to replace the one in the inventory. Their contacts will have access to desks. After all, they remove them from rented properties.
    Let the rug go. It is the desk that is needed. Tenants can get their own rug if they want one.
    The agents or the people who cleaned up were slack and or dishonest. Don't let these people be used again in your property.
    £700? I could furnish a whole house for that amount!
     
    afterdark likes this.
  7. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Nonsense! What a faulty argument.
    They wouldn't give you an as new price if they were buying the things from you. The transaction would be mutually agreed.
    But they are not buying them, they are funding for you to replace them. Because they are responsible for them not being there, and not at your will.
    Therefore you will have to resource them
    Therefore they should pay you for new.
    What they have told you is so riddled with stupidity that I'd say to them "stump up or I will take out a small claims claim."
    The basis of this they have provided themselves, since they've admitted they removed the things. They have admitted they owe you.
    You'll probably need your original receipts and some months of hassle and corresponding, but I'd do it myself because the lack of reason in what they say is an affront to common sense.
    They've said that some things were accidentally taken against your permission and at their fault, and are now gone. How much fancier can you dress up the concept of "theft"?!
     
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    If you went to court you wouldn't be awarded the cost to replace as new. You'd only get the financial loss you had suffered. Probably the cost to you of replacing them with secondhand items of a similar age and condition. Whether that would be £200 who knows unless you went to court. Cost to replace as new would mean you were making a profit because the items had already depreciated in value through normal wear and tear.
     
    sbkrobson and suzuki1690 like this.
  9. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    OK,thank you. that's clear.
    I'd still push these people for more than £200 if the actual cost of the items was £700 new.
    Sometimes talking about taking to court can persuade a better deal. They don't sound very bright to me, so perhaps that's a way.
    I'd be really really annoyed at this I have to say.

    What about how they calculate payment from tenants for damage to the property? If they have ruined the rug and desk beyond repair, say, how would these agents require the tenants to make the issue good? Would they ask themfor only £200 against the £700 cost of them new? Just curious. If they would ask them for more, then OP can ask them for that amount,no?
     
  10. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Do you have any kind of landlord's insurance which you could use - perhaps against the letting agent!!?

    The other avenue worth exploring is to Go To The Top with the letting agent:
    I had an issue when a tenant had moved out and the agent misread the (dial) gas & electric meters, so I ended up with energy bills of several hundred pounds even though the property had been empty and unused. I could see exactly what had happened: the person reading the meter had used the higher rather than lower number for each figure when the dial was in between, but the agent wouldn't do anything about it. It got so that I was being threatened with debt collectors by the energy provider. In the end, I wrote to the guy at the top, who ran the estate / letting agency. It was resolved within 24 hours. (it did help that I knew him - had been at school with him - but it's still worth a go.)
     
  11. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Is the agency registered with ARLA Prpertymark or similar regulating agency you can threaten to complain to?
     
    mothorchid likes this.
  12. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    It is possible to withhold the deposit - or part of it - from tenants to cover, e.g. damage, the need for a deep clean, etc. However, the tenants have to agree to this!! I had to do a lot of work on my house when the last tenant moved out, and it cost far more than the deposit. But the ex-tenant refused to give up all of the deposit, so I was even more out of pocket.

    The agency doesn't do anything to get involved in disputes - when I queried how I could get back the money I'd had to spend to get the house back to how it should be (I'm not talking fair 'wear & tear', but things like sorting the out the jungle which used to be a lovely garden, and replacing interior doors which had holes smashed in them) they suggested taking the tenant to the Small Claims' Court.
     
  13. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    Gosh, a lot of responses in quite a short time, thank you! I'll try to answer any questions people have asked, sorry if I miss anything.
    Firstly, the estate agent has said there's no possibility of getting my stuff back. I asked what would have been done with it, and they weren't able to give me an answer. It's very dodgy, as some of the stuff that went missing would have been worth something - not an enormous amount, but enough to make it worth saying "oh, I didn't realise it was on the inventory". I can't prove either way whether it was negligence or deliberate theft.
    I had a meeting with the manager (it's a small company so he is the highest person) to discuss this and a number of other issues throughout the tenancy. Ideally I will try to find a way to get out of my contract with them without losing out financially, on the grounds that their incompetence has caused me to lose money and that they haven't kept to the terms of the contract, and I'll take it to the ombudsman if necessary. I already spoke to them and they said I'd be in a strong position if I did need them to intervene, so hopefully I will be able to get to a satisfactory conclusion. At the moment though, the estate agent is dealing with the dispute over the deposit, as the tenants are saying that they don't agree with what we're claiming for, so I want to see how that pans out before I start trying to get out of my contract.
     
    smoothnewt and chelsea2 like this.
  14. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    You can't take the replacement cost out of the deposit, because the tenants didn't nick your stuff. The inventory person did. I do hope the letting agent hasn't suggested it?
    I assume the dispute is over something else?
     
    sbkrobson likes this.
  15. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I wasn't suggesting that the OP should! :eek:
    My post was in response to something sbkrobson wrote.
     
    mothorchid likes this.
  16. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    The amount we're claiming from the deposit is to cover the cost of cleaning, removing rubbish and items left by the tenants, and repairing damage caused by them. All stuff on the end of tenancy report which I can't really see how they can dispute, but apparently they think they can.
     
  17. blue451

    blue451 Senior commenter

    I'd be a bit miffed about being charged for cleaning, tbh, provided I'd left it decent.
    A full clean should be standard between tenants, not something they should be charged for.
     
    mothorchid likes this.
  18. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I have to say, I would agree with @blue451, in that a full clean should be done between tenants. I wouldn't charge for that. However, if it was left in a completely filthy state the checkout report would highlight it and then you would have a chance of claiming, especially if the inventory stated it was in a very clean condition when tenants moved in. Obviously wear and tear on carpets or paintwork is different, and I'd assume that a carpet shampoo was needed between tenants unless there was some reason not to - recently one of the moving out tenants had done it for us!:D
    But removal of rubbish and repair of damage - yes, claim away!
    Oh and yes, ombudsman for the dodgy checkout person.
     
  19. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    They hadn't made any attempt to clean the house before moving out, so no, it wasn't left in a decent state.
     
  20. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    It sounds as if you are well rid of them. That is a slight comfort, perhaps.
    The person who did the check out report and the inventory - they sound like a sub-contractor. So your contract is not with that person, I think, but with the agency. Thus the agency is probably liable for the losses. Was it the same person each time? I know our agency always uses the same woman (we call her Picky Claire) and she will refer back to her own previous reports when she goes in.
    I do get a bit fed up when private landlords are berated (on here and elsewhere) because they are "money-grabbing greedy-guts" when actually, this sort of mess eats into the small amount of money we might make each month from the property. And it takes so much time and effort to sort out. Why can't people do the job they are paid to do properly? :mad:
     

Share This Page