After discovering a water leak, Mr B (the Tenant) reported the matter to the Agent who promptly arranged for a contractor to investigate the problem.
The contractor determined that the leak was from the flat above and that the electricity supply to the lights at the property should be switched off for safety reasons. Following a period of two months, during which the power remained disconnected and the tenancy came to an end, Mr B raised a formal complaint against the Agent.
The Agent’s file recorded that, following the initial contractor’s visit, they had sent a plumber to the flat above who had found that the water leak was emanating from the flat next door to the one above the property. The Agent reported the matter to the agent who managed that flat however, from this point they failed to pro-actively monitor the ituation or keep Mr B updated. Furthermore, when the Agent was informed that the leak had been fixed, they failed to arrange for a contractor to visit the property to determine whether it was safe to switch the electricity supply back on. Power was finally restored two months after the initial incident. However, before this could occur, it was discovered that the plumber who had attended the property when the leak was first reported, had not returned the keys and so access was delayed.
I determined that the failure of the Letting Agent to pro-actively monitor the situation, to keep Mr B updated and to arrange for someone to assess the damage at the property and check whether the power to the lights could be switched back on, led to Mr B suffering avoidable aggravation, distress and inconvenience. Furthermore, I was extremely critical of the Agent for failing to adequately monitor the keys to the property and made an award of £400.
When the responsibility for overseeing repairs falls to the agent, it is their duty to ensure that these are promptly dealt with. If the landlord is arranging the repairs, agents should always follow up progress. In both instances regular contact should always be maintained with the tenant and the landlord.