Damages and unpaid utilities
My Grandmother, highly independent, split the upper part of her home from the ground floor and rented out the ground, mostly for security as she became older. Although she obtained planning permission to divide the premises, Utilities were not divided and bills were to be split on a % basis in the rental agreement.
She use a local agent to let and manage the property, however the agent did little to help, apart from collecting rent. As her ability to keep things up to date declined, my family intervened four months ago to find the ground floor had been trashed and the tenants had not paid their bills, ever, leaving over £4500 owed. The tenets were given notice to repair and pay the bills, but fled instead leaving rent arrears, damage and unpaid bills.
The agent is stating:
1 Collection of utility payments were not their responsibility (only rent collection is stated in their contract).
2 it is too late to ask for contribution to the utility bills as these should have been made at least on an annual basis.
3 A claim for damages can be made but proof of condition at the beginning of the tenancy will be required (no inventory or condition report was made on check in).
4 They have refused to provide a forwarding address for the tenants on the grounds of data protection but have asked my grandmother to enter into a dispute over the deposit.
1 Is the managing agent responsible for collecting the utility bill payments?
2 Is it too late to ask the tenants to pay their contribution towards utilities?
2 Can the agent withhold the tenants new address and if not, how can I persuade them to provide it?
3 No Inventory check was made on check in and it looks like the agent has not carried out annual checks. Can they be held responsible for damage.
Any other advice gratefully received.
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