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Renters’ group on the warpath over agents’ documentation

The activist group Generation Rent is urging tenants to scrutinise the paperwork they get from agents to use against possible eviction. 

Failure to provide an array of documents makes a Section 21 eviction notice invalid.

In a poll - where respondents said whether they ‘remembered’ receiving documentation, rather than whether they definitely were or were not given it - the group apparently found:

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- 23 per cent remember receiving a Government How to Rent guide at the start of their tenancy;

- 36 per cent remember receiving an Energy Performance Certificate;

- 44 per cent remember receiving a gas safety certificate; and

- 47% remember receiving information about where their deposit is protected

The poll was online only, conducted back in February, and involved 1,008 UK residents aged 18-plus living at the time in private rented accommodation.

Baroness Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, says: “Renting is so complicated, it’s easy for tenants to get mistreated by landlords and letting agents who may have no interest in having well-informed customers. 

“Tenancy deposits alone can involve a range of problems and it is not obvious when you should go to court, a protection scheme, a tribunal or the council to get yours resolved. 

“Although the system needs reform, renters have more protections than it appears, particularly if your landlord has failed in their responsibilities. This can be valuable knowledge now that eviction notice periods have been reduced and landlords throughout England are taking advantage.”

  • Angus Shield

    Baroness Alicia Kennedy is right, renting is so complicated so my suggestion is to use reputable Letting Agents with proven positive feedback; their Landliords do.

    Stop posting 'private rental required' and Facebook Marketplace or looking for 'private landlord tenancies' on social medial. Many private tenancies are not aware of current legislation & documentation obligations.

    If you are seeking 'below RADAR' tenancies due to tricky rental/fiscal history then you are playing into the hands of unsound tenancies.

    As Agents we are so expensively over-regulated whereas privateers mostly do not have a clue of their legal obligation despite their likely experience; regulate them too!

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    Had an owner of a flat where I was the block management agent requesting a copy of my tenancy agreement and when pressed said he had a tenant moving in. Told him I would sell him one and do all the paperwork for him for a fee. he was not happy with me wanting paying for something I could just 'run off my system in a couple of minutes'. He stormed out when I gave him a lesson in economics.
    Next day he came back with a huge rental document and had the cheek to ask me to read it through and approve it. Told him it was far longer than my agreement and so I asked for an even higher fee for the work involved in checking it. He grabbed it off the desk and walked out thinking I was a rip off merchant.
    Just hope that he came unstuck on that one. I retired and he became a dim and distant memory

     
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    Angus well said

     
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    Agents are hugely exploitative and only care about making money, and pleasing the landleech. They don't care about getting things right or workng for the benefit of tenants once they've got them signed in the dotted line. Letting agents can, and often do, get things wrong.

     
  • Roger  Mellie

    Tenants have sworn they didn't receive various legal documents over the years, fortunately everything we give them is time and date stamped automatically thanks to the power of our suppliers such as Goodlord. So, you gotta cover yourself these days, let there be no doubt in a solicitors mind that necessary documents were signed.

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    Difficult to do this every single time the boiler is checked, the EPC is done etc. The letting agent I use just chucks them in the post. Can easily deny having ever received them.

     
    Kristjan Byfield

    Adrian- that is literally a core part of an Agents job- documenting and tracking all matters of compliance.

     
  • Vilesh Rew

    I like that the questions meant the replies were they "don't remember" receiving documents. I don't remember what I had for lunch just yesterday, does that mean I didn't eat any?
    This is just another group trying to get free publicity. All good agents either have electronic records of documents given, or have the tenant sign something confirming they've received the required documents.

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    Posting something is not proof of receipt. I'm pretty sure there's things the letting agent has sent me that have gone missing in the post. That makes it easily possible to deny having received legally required documents

     
    Kristjan Byfield

    Adrain- critical documents, if posted, should be posted recorded delivery or even signed for or we have even video recorded hand delivery before.

     
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    We just use a check list with all the documents the tenant is given on it and ask them to sign it when they sign up.

    That way there can be no confusion as to what they were given as they signed confirming receipt.

    Simple

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    Difficult to do this every single time the boiler is checked, the EPC is done etc. The letting agent I use just chucks them in the post. Can easily deny having ever received them.

     
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    Send all documents by email and ask the tenants to acknowledge receipt.

    Baroness should go take a walk.

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    Not everyone uses email. You should take a walk.

     
    Kristjan Byfield

    Adrian- very argumentative here. You could argue that not everyone can read.....then what? Email can easily be the primary form of communication with post used for vital documents and where, in the very rare circumstance, someone does not have/use email.

     
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    Anyone doing their own lets these days is taking on more risk due to the tripwires laid by the agitator organisations. Use a good letting agent and pay them

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    Good letting agents are few and far between. Most see it as an easy way to make money, like how thieving landleeches see property.

     
  • Kristjan Byfield

    GR do love the stats of utterly pointless surveys- leveraging them like cold, hard facts.

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    A bit like Alicia Kennedy - totally pointless.

     
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    Someone doesn't understand statistics. Unemployment statistics are based on surveys.

     
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    Looks like Alicia is posting as Adrian Newon. BTW Adrian/Alicia liking your own posts really detracts from them.

     
    Kristjan Byfield

    Oh Adrian- no one survey is like another. Unemployment stats are based on far more than surveys with government data on benefits and income support used to substantiate that. Meanwhile, asking someone if they 'remember' being served a (very boring) document months/years ago and taking the response figures as any sort of trustworthy statistic!?! Trying to justify this is like trying to fight the tide- good luck!

     
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    Typical made up survey data - just like shelter. Least (well I hope) generation rent don’t get public funding

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    Cue a post from Alicia/Adrian in reply.

     
  • Raphael Phillips

    Reputable letting agent will make sure they get acknowledgement that all the documents have been received. Anyone doing it themselves or employing the wrong agent will get caught out. I say good.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    TBF- there is nothing at all wrong with educating Tenants about legitimately issued, complaint paperwork. As landlords & Agents we have a duty to do our job correctly. So calling this a 'warpath' is intentionally antagonistic language- but using stats from vague recollections is hardly the route to a fact based conversation.

  • Matthew Payne

    If you are an agent or use an agent, docusign solves all this. Everything set up to go to the tenant automatically and they cant deny ever having received it. Full PI pack goes out with TA to sign and gets recirculated as one pdf once the last person has signed/witnessed. Bulletproof.

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