Compensation for loss of rent
I use a well known letting agent which is run by a firm of solicitors with a very good reputation. I am a very busy person, working away from home for up to a month at a time. So I do rely on my letting agents. One of my tenants has been an irregular payer and a section 8 was served on them last May. Then in June 06, 4 months were paid in. But after a couple, they stopped again. My last statement, dated Sept 06 showed one months rent then I got no more statements.
In Dec 06, I went into the agency to speak to the manageress, she said she had been to see the tenants, a couple with a young family, and they told her they were applying for housing benefit and they would get it back dated. She told me that at least I would then get the rent....and it was nearly Christmas!
In January, I went in again. I said it could not go on any longer, that I was running out of money and finding it hard to pay my mortgage. I said they had to go and asked them to advertise, that another agent had offered to find me a tenant and I just wanted them out. I was told they were waiting for a decision fom the council, that it often takes time, but they would back date their claim. THEN I WOULD AT LEAST GET MOST OF MY RENT. She advised me that in this situation, it was the best thing to do, that I was very unlikly to get anything at all if they were evicted, and that it should come through any day now. I was very unhappy with this, but I still assumed we could evict them very quickly
I phoned in Feb and the manageress said she was going to start court proceedings again. She said the last one has lapsed because the tenant had paid the rent (last year). She said the council benefit application had been filled in incorrectly, that she was still prepared to help them with a new form, BUT THAT SHE WOULD START PROCEEDINGS ANYWAY. I was actually relieved to hear this, thinking after all this time of not paying, it would be quick and easy to evict them.
I went in to the agency in March and waited to speak with the manageress. She said she was dealing with it, she had served a section 8 and she was in close contact and was still expecting the council benefit. She said "anyway, last time they managed to find the money once the notice had been served on them".
Since then, during the last month I have had personal health problems, in and out of hospital, minor surgery, and not able to deal with the problem....I assumed that at last it WAS being dealt with.
On the 12th April, I telephoned to see weather the tenants were gone, and was told the manageress was actually going to the house that afternoon and would phone me when she got back. I got no call. I phoned again and was told she was still not available. I said I would still like to speak with her but was now going to take legal advice on claiming for negligence and loss of rent. It was suggested "I should put it all in an e mail to get the ball rolling as soon as possible"
I did this over the week end and also checked all my bank statements to be sure of getting all the payment dates correct. To my amazement, I found I had not recieved a payment for September, even though I had received a statement from the agency, stating: "We detail below the balance of monies due to you in respect of the above property for the current month. The net amount due to you has been paid direct to your bank account."
I sent the e mail first thing Monday morning,16th April. I got no reply.
On Tuesday, 17th April 07, on your advice, I telephoned their solicitor department to put the complaint to one of the partners. All the time I was explaining what had happened, the partner was stating I must have advised her to go ahead with it all and as such, it was as much me to blame for what happened. (I could feel he was trying to intimidate me). In actual fact, she was advising me on the best way to proceed and I didn't know what else to do. I know now I should have sought independant advice...but I thought the agency had my best interests in mind!
The solicitor called me back, after speaking with the agency, and has told me that the section 8 was issued in March 07, not Feb so that means we have to wait even longer!
I am now, at the present time out of pocket by £3,530. (8 months)
Do you think I have any chance of claiming any compensation, bearing in mind I am fighting a firm of solicitors?
I look forward to receiving your advice