Home » Resources » Redress » Nightclubs and niggles

Nightclubs and niggles

“A tenant was unhappy about various matters, primarily that the agent ‘lied’ about the nightclubs near the property. The tenant said they would not have rented the property had they known about the nightclubs,” says Katrine Sporle, The Property Ombudsman.

Katrine Sporle

Nightclub image

The agent highlighted that the presence of nightclubs was not unusual in a city centre venue.

The tenant had also complained that the agent had not ensured that the property was professionally cleaned before he moved in.

The agent contested this and said that the tenant did not stipulate for the property to be professionally cleaned prior to him moving in and that they deemed the property to have been cleaned to a good standard, as detailed in the inventory.

Lastly, the tenant complained that the radiator in the bedroom had stopped working and the agent did not get it fixed. The agent however said that they had tried contacting the tenant about arranging the repair.

Investigation: Nightclubs

Under Paragraph 7a of the TPO Lettings Code of Practice, the agent was required, by law, to comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs).

Katrine Sporle image

Katrine Sporle

Under the CPRs they were required to disclose any information of which they were aware, or should have been aware of, in relation to the property in a clear, intelligible and timely fashion.

The property was located in the town centre and whilst it would not have been unreasonable for the tenant to ask the agent what they knew about noise levels, they would only have been able to provide him with advice based upon their knowledge. The entrances of the nightclubs were on the other side of the town square and were not, therefore, readily evident to either the tenant or agent.

It was the landlord’s job to arrange the repair, but the agent did not monitor the progress or update the tenant.

Had the tenant asked the question and had the member of staff known, the Ombudsman would have expected the agent to answer truthfully. In this case it was unclear whether the question was asked, or that the member of staff would have had the knowledge.

An email from the agent stated, “Had you asked about nightclubs specifically, I would have told you that it is the town centre so there are a few, as there are in every town and was not intentionally hiding any information about surrounding buildings.”

The tenant believed this to indicate the agent was fully aware of the nightclubs, but further down in the same email, the staff member goes on to say that she did not know the names and locations of the nightclubs.

The Ombudsman did not support this part of the complaint.

Investigation: inventory

In accordance with Paragraph 11f of the Code, the agent was required to ensure that at the start of the tenancy that any inventory is sufficiently detailed in order for it to be used as a fair measure at the end of the tenancy. The tenant should have been provided with a copy of the inventory and given time to read and comment (Paragraph 11h of the Code).

The Ombudsman was satisfied that the inventory inspection was carried out and that the property was in a satisfactory and clean condition. It may not have been to the standard of the tenant, but the agent was entitled to rely on the findings of the inventory clerk. There was no evidence to suggest that the tenant made a request for the property to be professionally cleaned.

The Ombudsman did not support this part of the complaint.

Outcome

In accordance with Paragraph 14b of the Code, the agent was required to respond promptly to communication from the landlord and the tenant, particularly where these related to statutory repair or maintenance obligations.

The Ombudsman would have expected the agent to make the landlord aware of the issue with the radiator and obtain their instructions on how to proceed. This should then have been relayed to the tenant in order to keep him up to date.

The agent had spoken to the landlord, who had advised that the issue needed to be reported to the manufacturer. It was clear that the landlord had asked the agent to deal with the matter. The agent’s records showed they had contacted the manufacturer, but the matter was not followed up and the radiator had not been fixed until almost six months after the issue was reported.

Although it was, ultimately, the landlord’s responsibility to arrange the repair, the Ombudsman was critical that the agent did not proactively monitor the progress or keep the tenant updated.

The Ombudsman supported this part of the complaint and made an award of £200 in compensation.

March 29, 2019

What's your opinion?

Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.