I have mentioned before two specific points which I want to address again, and these are:
1. Our current letting agent insisting (at the start of the tenancy) that we had to sign four copies of every page of our eleven page tenancy agreement, plus the normal signatures to the agreement anyway. There were four signatories to the tenancy (two tenants, two guarantors) which for each person meant about 50 signatures, totalling 200 signatures in all for just the tenancy agreements, and that wasn't counting the other documents!!!
2. That one of the tenancy agreement's clauses forced us to agree to the letting agent/landlord using their set of keys to let themselves in for periodic inspections if we weren't in, after having been given enough notice of the inspection regardless of whether we'd responded to their notice or not.
Clearly, I took issue with these points. I took issue with the idiot who told us at the start of the tenancy that signing one agreement and copying the form four times wasn't feasible, because - as she told me - you can't have copies of legal documents.
Well...that's all very well. But one tenancy agreement was all that was needed to establish the legally-binding agreement between us - as tenants - and the landlord. Any copies would have simply been for reference sake only, so being charged several hundred pounds for this ridiculous farce was a total rip-off and nothing short of exploitation. It was also ill-informed crud, and the sunken scowl of the woman who clearly didn't like my objections to the contrary revealed either her incredible ignorance, or her grim dislike of my knowledge that she was in the wrong and that I was liable to present a thorn in their side for future exploitation.
As for the clause about the inspections, that has been written about before.
Needless to say, I always knew I was right...but have you ever noticed that when you're up against the kind of brick-wall hostility and ignorance I've been describing, that there comes a point when you even start to question yourself..? That you start to wonder whether you might have been wrong, and making a big old song and dance about nothing?
Yes. Well that happened to me, frustratingly enough. And thankfully, in the process of signing a new tenancy agreement just recently, I believe that I have discovered the evidence to prove I was right all along. Evidence that renewed my self-confidence. And to me, this is important. Because some of the minor little victories like this, pedantic and even pathetic as they may seem, start to present themselves as a sort of gathering portfolio of evidence that not only was I right about the little things, I was right about the big ones too.
Dealing with the first point, ie, only ever needing to sign one copy of our tenancy agreement, and being charged for what would seem to be the idea that we needed to sign four physical copies, our new letting agent sent us a copy of the tenancy agreement just the other day, with a covering letter.
Here it is:
The part that I am most interested in is the part that says this:
What you see here, is that the letting agent we're now dealing with knows that we only need to sign one copy of the tenancy agreement, and that in due course she'll provide us with a copy of it for our own records.
This, if you've read my other posts, or even my book Generation Rent, is EXACTLY what I'd been saying all along in relation to the letting agent who "knew" we had to sign four copies because you "can't have copies of legal documents."
And to spell it out, I knew that I was right. And I knew that our current agent was wrong, right back then at the start of the tenancy. But back then it wasn't worth arguing about. But now that we are very much in the middle of a pretty grim dispute, it's the little things like this that to me, point me in the direction of feeling certain that I was right all along when I said that these total fucking idiots don't know their arses from their elbows.
For me, the icing on the cake really is the clause about inspections - which really is a clause about ensuring that tenants allow the landlord or agent lawful access to the property.
Which is fine. When reasonable notice is given, preferably in writing, then that's fine. What isn't fucking well fine, is a landlord/letting agent reserving the right (in a tenancy agreement clause) to enter your home with their set of keys if you are not present at any time that access has been requested.
Here, once again, is the clause for access as written in our tenancy agreement with the letting agent dickheads that we're currently engaged in dispute with:
You see..? The clause as drafted by our current agents says that we agree to let them use their keys to gain entry if we aren't there in the property to let them in on a date that was specified in some earlier notice.
Although...worthy of note here is that when we first received notice of an intended inspection, and given that our letting agent's office is located RIGHT BENEATH OUR FLAT, the agent told us that they would be seeking to obtain access at some point between 1pm and 5pm on an afternoon in January earlier this year.
Clearly, this is not satisfactory. Not only because their office was right beneath our feet, but because they reserved a four-hour window for themselves during which they could claim that the tenancy agreement, having been signed by us, allows them to enter with their own set of keys if we are not there to grant access.
You might find that during the four-hour window, you need to pop out and buy a pint of milk. Only to return to find the high-heeled snobs from below trampling through your home.
It's flies in the face of the common law principle of "the right to quiet enjoyment" which essentially says that landlords and their agents can't just let themselves in without permission willy-nilly. It might be classed as harassment, which is a prosecutable offence for these landlord bastards. But it is also likely to be classed as an Unfair Term under the Unfair Terms legislation - again, I've pointed this out before so you only need check my earlier posts (Revenge Evictions) and follow the links I've provided which take you to the guidance material about Unfair Terms in tenancy agreements. And the thing about an Unfair Term is that it is UNENFORCEABLE in court should the matter come to a formal dispute.
I think the thing that is really, REALLY wrong about all this is that when they send a tenant their notice, and if there's a reason why the tenant might not have replied to it, the letting agent in this case will be perfectly happy to go blundering through the front door of your home having had no direct permission. And with no direct permission, they are therefore clearly entering WITHOUT permission.
Here, in my opinion, is a more professional approach to drafting the access clause, as drafted by our new letting agent:
See...? No mention of their own set of keys. No mention of reserving the right to just trample on into your home regardless.
It is differences like this that demonstrates who is a professional, and who is just a great big bunch of blundering cunts.
I rest my case.