Entering vacated premises before expiry of tenancy
Good morning, I would be very grateful for your advice. A managing agent A) that we had been using had been re-advertising a flat that we own after the tenants gave notice to quit. We hadn't been happy with the agent's work and decided to change to another agent (B) who is also more local to us, advising A that we were doing this and advising them that they would be hearing from B to arrange matters between them. Agent B contacted A and asked them verbally to contact the tenant to allow them access to the flat or to let them have the tenant's contact details. Although they asked A on a couple of occasions they did not receive a response. Eventually A advised B verbally that the tenant had vacated the flat completely (at least a week prior to the end of the tenancy) -it was now emptied of the tenant's belongings and that they could have A's set of key. B said they would not pick it up before the 13th at the end of the tenancy but A said they could have them earlier as they would obtain the tenant's keys from them upon doing the inventory a few days later. From this, B was led to believe that it was ok for them to go to the empty flat, photograph it and market it. This was about 5 days before the end of tenancy. Yesterday, B received a furious email from the now ex tenant, who stated that they had entered without permission, contravening Landlord/Tenant laws, asking them what they were going to do about it and threatening to sue either them or us, the landlords. Obviously, this has upset us personally - we use Managing Agents precisely because we are not experienced landlords yet (I suppose we seem rather na´ve and we expect them to act professionally, shielding us from such issues and advising us on what we, as landlords can and can't do. Can you please advise us on where the blame lies here and how we should best deal with it? Your assistance would be very much appreciated.
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