The Landlord accepted an offer to let the unfurnished Property on the basis of a 12 month
term. Several days after the Tenancy started, the Tenants informed him that they had requested a double bed via the Agent. He also only had sight of the Tenancy Agreement for the first time at that point and discovered that the term was only for a period of six months. The Landlord had refused an applicant from another agency on the strength of this offer and believed that the Agent had lied about the Tenants’ terms in order to gain a fee.
There was no evidence to support the Tenants’ claim that they had asked for a bed and in fact it transpired none had been purchased. However the Agent accepted that a 12 month term had been instructed but stated that they always granted six month tenancies to safeguard the Landlord. I commented that it might be arguable that a six month (rather
than a 12 month) let was in the Landlord’s interests, but this had not been discussed and it was not what the Agent had been instructed to do. The Agent was in breach of basic legal principles by substituting a different term for the one which had been instructed. I was, however, satisfied that the Tenants had agreed to a 12 month term.
I supported the Complaint concerning the term of the Tenancy. However, my overwhelming support for this case lay in how the Complaint had been handled. Despite repeated chasing by the Landlord and by my staff, the Agent had ignored requests for action in dealing with the complaint at branch and managerial level for nearly 15 months. It was an unacceptable performance and I awarded £800 for the distress, aggravation and inconvenience they had caused to the Landlord.
Whether the agent considers that a complaint is justified or not, it should always be treated seriously and dealt with in accordance with the agent’s inhouse complaint procedure and their obligations under the TPO Code of Practice.