I vowed to write this some time ago, but I didn’t want to disrupt the bliss it is to finally live in habitable house run by a professional agency and a decent landlady. My housemate Hannah and I were put through hell by a company called Attic Property Services. To me, the entire fundamental point of renting a property from an agent, or privately from a landlord (aside from because you can’t afford to buy a home), is that you pay rent not only for a roof over your head, but you are also paying for a service to maintain that property.
The Attic Property Services web site makes a number of claims about the service they provide:
“We don’t just work 9-5 as most other Agents, we offer out of hours appointments and contact at all times, evenings or weekends”
“Providing a Professional & Personal Service to all of our Clients, at ALL times”
I lived in a property managed by Attic Property Services (which I will abbreviate to APS from here on) for just over two years. Alarm bells rang when my original house mate moved out, and the company started seeking a new tenant to fill the spare room. I have no evidence to share for this, but on 3 occasions they failed to provide the legally required 24 hours notice before sending a prospective tenant to view the property. In one incident I was at the gym, finished my session, went to get my things out my locker and noticed I had a list of missed calls from Lisa at APS – stating I had to be at the property that very instant to show a prospective tenant around, the first news I had heard of this particular tenant coming to view. In the following phone conversation I was blamed for being “difficult” because they needed to fill the room, despite the fact that I headed straight home in my sweaty gym gear and sat and waited for the prospective tenant.
When a friend of mine from university was considering moving to Newcastle, I showed her round the spare room to see if she was interested, and perhaps unluckily for her she was. I gave her the contact details for APS and she arranged a move-in date with them. I booked the afternoon off work so I could help her move her belongings in – if the lift wasn’t working (which was frequent), we’d have eight flights of stairs to move things up.
It was extremely fortunate that I did that, because if I hadn’t, Hannah would have been left stranded outside our house. APS failed to turn up on her move in date, and ignored all her calls and emails. I have no spare keys, and it was two days later when she was given her own keys.
In March I had a few issues with the apartment that I took up APS on, and I formalised our requests in the following email, dated 11th March 2014. For ease of formatting I have removed all personal email addresses and telephone numbers. The numbers, names and email addresses for APS are viewable on their web site, so I’ve left them visible here.
On 11 March 2014 at 00:10 Emily Knox <> wrote:
There’s a couple of things that we need someone to fix in the bathroom, the radiator is leaking and we just have a bowl under it at the moment to catch the water.
Also the cord used to turn the small light on is stuck and so we’re unable to use it.
On Tuesday, 11 March 2014, 14:58, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I have arranged for a plumber to contact you or Hannah to arrange a time for him to come out to the property to fix the leak and light.
Attic Property Services
0191 428 3351
On 25 March 2014 at 13:25 Emily Knox <> wrote:
We still haven’t heard anything from someone to fix the leak or the light?
email@example.com 25 Mar 2014
I will chase it up again for you Emily.
Attic Property Services
0191 428 3351
Someone did come to look at the radiator, but not the light. As stated in my following email from 29th September, the radiator was still leaking, the bathroom door handle kept getting stuck shut, and the sofas (a minor issue – not something an agent can be obligated to make good on) were falling apart.
From: Emily Knox <>
To: Attic Property <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: “Hannah” <>
Sent: Monday, 29 September 2014, 12:38
Subject: House maintenance on Apartment 9, Clayton House
We have a number of items that need work in our house. We urgently need to get the bathroom door fixed, as the handle has a problem now where it doesn’t fully open the catch, so people can actually get stuck inside the bathroom.
The small light in the bathroom can no longer be turned on, as the cord has gotten stuck and we’ve been unable to get it back out.
The radiator in the bathroom has a leaking problem, I think someone came over to fix this a while ago and may have just turned the radiator off, but it still leaks from time to time and needs looking at again.
We also need new sofas, the current sofas are so old that the material has started to become fully worn off from the sofa arms. We’ve tried covering the sofas with throws but they are still deteriorating and need to be replaced. I can provide pictures if necessary.
On 03 October 2014 at 13:39 Emily Knox <> wrote:
I just tried to ring you and got your message that you are on leave till the 1st October.
I am forwarding the email I sent on Monday, we urgently need to get the door handle on our bathroom door repaired. We have had situations where someone gets stuck in the bathroom and it requires two people to force the door open.
We have a range of problems with the property that need addressing, but the bathroom door is urgent as someone can get stuck in there, which is obviously a serious fire hazard and safety concern. Please get in touch with me or Hannah ASAP.
email@example.com 3 Oct 2014
I have been on holiday, tried calling you to discuss.
I have spoken with Hannah and agreed to speak with her tomorrow or yourself
Attic Property Services
0191 428 3351
I don’t think I had any missed calls from Lisa at this point, but it’s not something I have evidence for. In any case, we were still waiting on the bathroom light being repaired, the bathroom door handle being repaired, and a leaking radiator being repaired – it’s obviously not in my interests to ignore calls, Hannah and I wanted all these items fixed as soon as possible. We share one bathroom for the shower, sink, bath, and toilet, so we were keen to move things forward.
A few days later Hannah stepped in to try chasing up the repairs.
On 07 October 2014 at 19:20 Hannah < > wrote:
Following our emails on the 29th September and the 3rd of October, and our recent phone call, we have not received any email about the repairing and fixing of the bathroom handle. This is a serious issue, as it is both invading our privacy and is a fire and safety hazard.
We are requesting that this issue be fixed within 14 days of this email, due to the safety risk and the lack of privacy caused by the issue.
Please reply to either me or Emily via email, since we are both at work from 9-6 daily. We both require 24 hours’ notice so that we can book time off work to let any repairman have access to the property.
I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that the bathroom radiator is still out of action, since no repairman has been in since the previous one came out to stop it leaking in April. Also the mirror light in the bathroom is not working, as the cord appears to have become jammed. We would appreciate these to be fixed in a reasonable timeframe as well.
On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, – – < firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Chris has been trying to call you re the handle, sorry i was on other emergencies.
I have said text me as I dont get my emails when I am out driving, You have been told not to close the door fully and that somebody would be in touch, I hope you have listened to my advice and that you have called Chris back.
Will be in touch with a plumber tomorrow for you hun.
If I interject here – we had a misunderstanding at this point. One of the people in the building we live in, who helps with communal building issues, like the door buzzers, and is an emergency contact if you get locked out, is called Chris. We thought Lisa was referring to him – but she’s actually referring to a repairman called Chris who, at this point, we had never heard of nor heard from.
On 08 October 2014 at 10:43 Hannah < > wrote:
Thank you for the reply. Unfortunately neither me or Emily have heard anything from Chris. Should we be contacting him about internal issues from now on or is this a one off for the door handle?
We ask to communicate via email so that we have a dated record of communications.
Thank you for sorting out a plumber, you can pass on my number or email incase they need to contact us for arranging a date to come out.
From: – – < email@example.com>
Date: Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Subject: Broken bathroom door handle
To: Hannah < >
He has been calling you, he has rang twice yesterday and today. I have told him to text you.
No you contact me and then I pass on the job, which I have done.
You need to answer your phone during the day.
I will tell him to text you ok
At this point, Hannah and I are confused. Our phones have been working absolutely fine this entire time, we have missed calls from no-one.
On 08 October 2014 at 21:40 Emily Knox < > wrote:
This is simply a lie. Chris did not ring either of us yesterday. You are more than welcome to look at our phones and observe this. The first contact we have had with Chris about repairs is today.
Neither of us are able to answer our phones during the day when we are at work unless it is during our lunch hour. I should be reachable between 12 and 1. This is why we are asking for email communication.
From: “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
To: Emily Knox <>
Sent: Wednesday, 8 October 2014, 23:16
Subject: Re: Fwd: Broken bathroom door handle
No he tried twice yesterday (only Hannah ) as did I! I have seen his phone list of outgoing calls and I know mine! So you are now in touch, but you do have to realise that repairs are carried out in working hours and that you both have to be contactable.
As far as i was aware Hannah was at home and that was the best contact for contractors! That is why I gave her number. I have advised Chris to Text.
I simply cant text or email when Driving, you have to make one of you available for calls for repairs.
I hope you have this sorted and expect and email back immediately.
If I instruct WORKS you need to be available and we need telephone contact
Once again, Hannah had no missed calls. I have no idea why Lisa brought up texting and emailing while driving.
On 09 October 2014 at 17:01 Emily Knox < > wrote:
Neither myself nor Hannah want or expect you to text or email us while you are driving.
We asked for contact by email because these phone calls you say you and Chris have been making had not reached either of us and it is not getting us any closer to any of the issues with the property being fixed. If you have been ringing us when we are unable to take calls at work you should have been able to leave a recorded message.
I am meeting Chris on Sunday for repairs.
From: – – <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Emily Knox <>
Sent: Thursday, 9 October 2014, 19:53
Subject: Re: Fwd: Broken bathroom door handle
We need telephone contact during working hours with at least one of you. We cannot be expected to email each evening when we are with our families or in my case working elsewhere.
I appreciate that Chris has this once agreed to come out on a Sunday but this will not be the case for other contractors, most dont work weekends.
I need you to come to some arrangement for access during normal working hours for the radiator. Is there any days that you get off? any future holidays booked?
The Landlord is liable for repairs but in reasonable working hours. This only includes emergencies on weekends and evenings.
Please get back to me with your reasonable availability. thanks
On 12 October 2014 at 12:24 Emily Knox < > wrote:
Last night our boiler stopped working properly, we’ve got hot water but no heating. I rang British Gas and they told me it’s the landlords responsibility to arrange boiler repair, so if you can get in touch with them and get back to us with a date for repair this would be greatly appreciated.
To answer the previous email, we don’t expect you to email us in the evening, are you able to email us during office hours? Hannah and I work in offices where we’re unable to answer phone calls throughout the day. I’ve said in a previous email I can answer my mobile at work on my lunch break between 12 and 1, if I’m unable to answer at any time you should be able to leave me a voice message, or an email, or a text, and I can get back in touch with you.
We just need 24 hours notice if anyone is available to carry out repairs during the week so that we’re able to arrange time off work.
Note that it is October 11th when our boiler stops working – our shower is electric so we have hot water there, but no heating, and no hot water from the taps. I contacted Lisa on Monday.
EDIT: 17/04/2015, Lisa’s Facebook on October 11th:
From: – – <email@example.com>
To: Emily Knox <>
Sent: Monday, 13 October 2014, 23:53
Subject: Re: Fwd: Broken bathroom door handle
I have been on apointments during day and dont have time to email. I call from a headset which is above board and legal. You must have a lunch where you can call me bvack surely? Its the law after all!
Graham will contact you but you need to answer your phone regarding boiler. You can arrange direcxt with him a time that suites you or Hannah x
I’ll just repeat this from the Attic Property web site: “We don’t just work 9-5 as most other Agents, we offer out of hours appointments and contact at all times, evenings or weekends”. I don’t know why she keeps ignoring me every time I tell her when my lunch break is.
EDIT: 17/04/2015: Some more updates courtesy of Lisa’s Facebook page:
On Tuesday, October 14, 2014, Emily Knox < > wrote:
Thanks for getting in touch with someone about the boiler. As I said in my emails on the 8th and the 12th my lunch break is usually between 12 and 1 so I can answer my phone in that time during the week day.
From: Hannah <>
To: – – <Lisa@atticpropertyservices.co.uk>
Cc: Emily Knox <>
Sent: Thursday, 16 October 2014, 11:20
Subject: Re: Broken bathroom door handle
Our heating is still not working and neither me nor Emily have heard anything from Graham yet. The apartment is almost unbearably cold, and we have to wear jumpers, dressings gowns and coats on top of our clothes just to keep warm. Please get in touch with him, or pass on his number to me and Emily so we can ring him and organise a day to come out.
I would like to pass on some information that Chris the repairman told us in regards to the flat:
1. Some of the doors need replacing as they do not fit in the door frames. The door handles for the bathroom and Emily’s room have been removed, so they can now be closed and locked without danger of being trapped inside. Obviously this is not ideal as it is awkward and there is a risk of splinters when opening the door using the hole for the door handle.
2. The bathroom radiator needs replaced – it is dangerously attached to the wall and could potentially fall off. It also needs replacing as it will leak otherwise.
3. The bathroom light needs replacing as the mechanism to turn on the light has broken.
4. The roof needs re-doing. I understand this may not be your responsibility as such but since it affects the apartment something needs to be done about it. The roof does not drain off properly, causing standing water which then leaks in to the apartment. There are also areas in which if it has been a wet day, if you press your foot on it water can be squeezed out of the roof.
The council came out to look at the flat on Tuesday, and confirmed what Chris had said. They also said that my room is very cold due to a lack of insulation. They should be in touch with Attic Property regarding the flat in the next few weeks.
Please get Graham to contact us asap. Living in the flat is not pleasant at the moment.
Hannah refers to the Council – I got in touch with Newcastle Council to ask them how we can go about enforcing repairs, their answer is to arrange a viewing with both us (the tenants) and Lisa (the agent), and come to an agreement on all repairs that must be carried out. We hear nothing from Lisa, until 6.24 in the morning on Friday when my phone buzzes and wakes me up. It’s a text from Lisa!
My reply was not as polite as it could’ve been. But having been freezing and ignored for a week and disturbed in my sleep I snapped. My reply to Lisa is delayed as I immediately rang Graham, who was polite and understanding, and we arranged an appointment to repair the boiler on Saturday. So in summary, she knew we had no heating on Monday. She had the name of a repairman on Monday, Graham, but neglected to pass on any information to them, or any contact information for them to me or Hannah. She chose to be a gatekeeper and leave us to freeze. And for reasons I cannot fathom – she thinks it is my fault for not ringing her.
October is a cold month in the north of England, it’s generally below 10C, with 6.2C apparently being the coldest. Our flat is old and extremely drafty. The roof has holes and leaks regularly in 4 different places – but this is a communal building responsibility, not for APS. Hannah’s description of our wearing coats on top of dressing gowns on top of jumpers is not milking it, that’s how we dressed indoors. A huge reason that APS’s behaviour here really pisses me off is that, every year, vulnerable people die in this country because their heating fails. What if Hannah or I were vulnerable? What if this company is responsible for someone vulnerable? Providing hot water and heating is an incredibly basic requirement.
On 17 October 2014 at 08:39 Emily Knox <> wrote:
Sending a text at 6.24am on Friday 17 th October after you were aware of our broken heating on Monday 13 th October is not giving us suitable notice for repairs; as our landlord and managing agent you are legally obligated to provide heating and hot water at all times, repairing the heating during cold weather is an urgent matter. I rang Graham [SURNAME REMOVED], whose details you passed over this morning to ask about the repairs and he said you only got in touch with him yesterday, he didn’t have time that day to make an appointment with us and so he text my house mate Hannah at 6.16am this morning, which again, is not suitable notice for either of us to get time off work. You replied to my email on Monday 13th about our broken heating, and it is unacceptable that you did not take any action on our urgent repair needed on the boiler for four days.
I have attached screenshots of the texts you sent this morning, in which you say that you have been ill, and that Hannah and I should have contacted the office instead. We are shocked that you think this is acceptable; we had no way of knowing that you were not taking action on our request for urgent repairs, and if you were unable to carry this out it was your responsibility to get in touch with someone who can.
Hannah and I were so concerned with the state of the house and the lack of action being taken on repairs, particularly the heating (see Hannah’s email below) that we have been in touch with Newcastle Council, who I have CC’d into this email.
I have arranged for Graham to carry out repairs on Saturday between 8-8.30.
From: – – <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Attic Property <email@example.com>; [Our contact at Newcastle Council] ; Emily Knox <>
Sent: Saturday, 18 October 2014, 0:41
Subject: Re: Broken bathroom door handle
I have fully appologised for me being really ill as you know, but I have also stressed about daytimme contact, we have evidence that you have been contacted within work hours.
I am covered Monday to Thursday and unforuntatley I was still ill today which is the one day I work on my own. I specifically asked Graham to contact you early hours before work to ensure your heating was arranged. You have stated that it was URGENT yet had to AGAIN arrange a weekend appointment, again I stress to you that the none contact in normal working hours has been a problem with both you and Hannah, you CANNOT expect us to work out of hours for you all of the time.
Yet when we try to contact you before work you complain?
We have resolved the issues today and you have both contractors numbers therefore I will be resting to wait on my results. I am genuinly sorry for the inconvenience but no contact during working hours was a huge problem for the people contacting try9ing to contact you, I have slept and vomitted all day for nearly 11 days. I am sorry. I have NEVER let you down in the past and could not arrange cover for today as last night I thought I was ok and then today took a funny turn again. I now have cover permanently.
Hope you and Hannah are both well. In future any maintenance issue, please text not email if you cannot call me.
On 22 October 2014 at 12:07 Emily Knox <> wrote:
Apologies for the lengthy email but I have to refute a number of items within your last email, so I have broken it down to answer each part at a time.
“I have fully appologised for me being really ill as you know,”
You apologised for being ill on Friday, five days after you responded to our emergency complaint that we needed the heating fixed. If you were ill and unable to assist us, you should have forwarded our urgent need for heating repair to someone else at Attic Property, and you should have told us you were ill and unable to help. In the email you sent on Monday you told us: “Graham will contact you but you need to answer your phone regarding boiler” , this doesn’t explain why we didn’t hear from him for 5 days.
“but I have also stressed about daytimme contact, we have evidence that you have been contacted within work hours.”
The only time you have been in contact with me in work hours was on Friday 17th after I spent the duration of my lunch hour ringing the Attic Property office number, where I also left a message. I made 9 calls, and it wasn’t until 4.10pm that you picked up the phone. I told you on the 8th October that my lunch hour is between 12 and 1, and that I am free to answer phone calls at this time. I told you this again on the 12th October, and I told you this again on the 14th October. You can ring any time during the day and leave a message and I will get back to you. Yet you have never called me at this time, and I have never missed a call from you, and you have never left a message on my phone.
“I am covered Monday to Thursday and unforuntatley I was still ill today which is the one day I work on my own.”
This doesn’t explain why you ignored our urgent heating issue for 4 days before you called an engineer to fix it. If you were covered Monday to Thursday why didn’t the person covering get in touch with us? I ask again, if you were so ill you couldn’t get in touch with an engineer, why didn’t you pass on our urgent need for repair to someone else at Attic Property? Why didn’t you tell us in your correspondence on Monday that you were ill? Why did you wait until Friday to tell us this?
“I specifically asked Graham to contact you early hours before work to ensure your heating was arranged.”
And we specifically asked for 24 hours notice if repairs are to be carried out during the week so that we can arrange time off work to let someone in the property. We can’t be absent from our jobs with no notice. Why didn’t you pass on the engineers information when you knew our heating was broken on Monday?
“You have stated that it was URGENT yet had to AGAIN arrange a weekend appointment, again I stress to you that the none contact in normal working hours has been a problem with both you and Hannah”
As stated above I have told you on three separate occasions that I’m able to answer my phone at work between 12 and 1, but you have never called me during this time, and I have never missed a call from you. If I cannot answer the phone, you have many other methods with which to contact us by: you can leave a recorded message on the phone, you can leave a text, you can send an email. Saying that you can have no contact with us in normal working hours is untrue.
Sending a text to me at 6.24 on Friday morning is not within normal working hours, and that isn’t enough notice for either of us to arrange time off work.
“you CANNOT expect us to work out of hours for you all of the time.”
We don’t expect you to work out of hours for us at any time. We expect that when you are informed our heating is broken that you will get the issue fixed promptly, but you made no attempt to communicate with us for five days – the entire working week. You left us with no choice but to request Graham to make the repairs on Saturday, which he was happy to do, and doesn’t inconvenience you in any way as you are not present for repairs and the appointment was arranged between myself, Hannah and Graham.
“Yet when we try to contact you before work you complain?”
6.24 (or in Hannah’s case, 6.15) in the morning is not a reasonable time to contact either of us. We’re complaining because our heating was left not working for an entire week in cold weather.
“We have resolved the issues today and you have both contractors numbers therefore I will be resting to wait on my results. I am genuinly sorry for the inconvenience but no contact during working hours was a huge problem for the people contacting try9ing to contact you,”
Again, I’ve told you three times I’m available to answer my phone during the week on my lunch hour between 12 and 1, but you’ve literally never done this. You’ve never attempted to call me and you’ve never left me a message. The repairmen have never had problems contacting us and arranging for repairs to be carried out, the issue is that we’ve had to wait days (in the case of the heating, 5 days) for you to put anyone in touch with us, either by passing our details onto repairmen or passing their details onto us.
“I have slept and vomitted all day for nearly 11 days. I am sorry.”
Why didn’t you mention this in your email on Monday when we told you the heating was broken and in urgent need of repair? In the email you sent on Monday, you told us: “Graham will contact you but you need to answer your phone regarding boiler.” By Thursday we had no communication from you or Graham, and sent a reminder email on Thursday. You didn’t pass on any contact information for Graham until Friday morning.
“I have NEVER let you down in the past”
You let me down before Hannah moved in, when you repeatedly arranged for tenants to view the other room without giving me the 24 hours notice that you are legally required to. Hannah was also let down after she arranged a moving in date, and no-one turned up to give her keys to the house, and no-one would answer her calls or emails. It was two days after her moving in date before Hannah was given keys to the house.
With regards to the outstanding issues in the property, our bathroom lock is broken, the bathroom light is still broken, and the bathroom radiator is still leaking. I’ve contacted Chris to arrange a time to repair these. I have sent this email to the attic property company email address as well in case you are still unwell.
Lisa decided to follow up this format by replying again to each quote I’d separated out. It’s a bit repetitive to quote the entire thing again, but at this point a saint of a friend, a human being estate agent, gave me his professional thoughts on her response. Lisa’s words are in italics, and his responses are in blue.
I was ill Emily and you have not contacted the repair back when they tried to call you. Chris was trying to call you I have seen his call register. Icant appolgide anymore for being ill for that period.
Ultimately the heating should not have gone on for 5 days at all. She should have informed someone else at the office of the emergency. Both sides of the coin – You should have contacted Attic property direct and not the single agent if you have the contact details to do so.
You could have text me Emily but neither of you did. even though I was ill I was working from my mobile but ytou both stuck to emailing. My voicemail blatently states to text me in an emergency, neither of you did. I can assure you the enigineer I though was going to get in touch with you didnt, then I instructed Graham.
If you are only available during certain times they should make contractors aware of this. Our contractors are advised of what time frame to contact a tenant and if they are unable to reach them they still attend and leave a card if no access was available.
EDIT 17/04/2015: Lisa had already made contact with Graham on October 11th – the day before I even wrote my email to explain the boiler was broken:
A text is not a legal document and should not be used to document any sort of report or maintenance of anything at all. It is a basic form of communication and that is it. An email on the other hand is a legal form of communication and can be used to confirm action.
I explained I was ill, I am not going through this over and over. I didnt ignore you, just the original engineer didnt call you! I though he had it in hand and as I didnt receive a text from you as my voicemeil states I then passed the work onto Graham.
The agent should constantly keep in touch to see if the work is resolved especially if it is something to do with heating. The following day after instructing I would contact to see if we are any further forward.
I appreciate that, but surely if you havnt been contacted then you could text me between 12 & 1 to let me know that you hadnt been contacted.
Early before work is acceptable but not 6:15am. Unless you specifically say so. In all fairness they should provide you the 24 hours notice in order to get time of work. If anything this makes it easier to arrange for the contractor as he has lead time.
EMailing me when I am out in bad signal areas doesnt work for us either! So you need to come to more of an approriate arrangement, I suggest you text me if it is an emergency. Like my voicemeila states.
You seem to be missing the point Emily. You do expect me to email out of hours all of the time. You dont answer your phone during the day and I drive alot and cannot email when I am on appointments therefore I do emailing on an evening because I cannot necessarily guarantee you a call between 12 & 1. The best option between us is obviously text to work together
From what I can see you do noet expect any out of hours contact. Just contact that can be received and dealt with. IE on your lunch hour or leaving a voicemail or email. Texting is not a legal form of communication and I would not recommend it. Email or even voicemails and letters are perfectly fine. Voicemails may slow the process down but you know it can be dealt with
you are being complete unrerasonable Emily, you are basically saying that the only time we can contact you is between 12 & 1, that is not good enough, when I realised that the other Engineer had not contacted you I specifically asked Graham to contact you before work to correct the error. I had tried to get the first available engineer for you, like again I say I appologise for being in bed ill.What was the point in me telling him to contact you between 9&5? He wouldnt have got an answer. Thats why he text before you both started ork to try and sort it out ASAP
There is nothing unreasonable in your requests. It is however unreasonable to contact you at 6:30am unless you have said it is okay.
No Emily you cannot tell us if we are out on jobs you are only giving us a 1 hours slot, you have never even offered alternative times for Hannah?
This is her just be arrogant and trying to shovel some of the blame to you. You have already stated you both work and between 12-1 is the best time for both of you. There is no issue contacting you at 10am leaving a voicemail and having you return the call on lunch and if necessary leave a voicemail or even reply the next day. However the agent not dealing with the issue is a big deal especially to have no heating for a working week. Did they even offer to provide temporary heating? We and other agents in the area a number of plugin oil and element heaters in the event of an emergency and no one is physically capable to do anything. This is a temporary fix and should not be more then 2 days long.
In a shared house we do not have to give you 24 hours notice, we simply have to ask, that is not letting you down, we are paid to fill the rooms ASAP and you were not very helpful with the viewings. We have to ask you as soon as we get the request to view. I actually met Hannah at the house! You moved her in when I was fully booked. I got there as soon as I could.
[NOTE: This is a blatant lie. When Hannah moved in, there was just me, her dad, and a friend of hers moving her possessions. No-one from APS got in touch or made an appearance for two days]
The agents are required to provide you notice to conduct a viewing. They infact are not allowed by law to enter the property if you say no. They must request permission to do any viewings at all even if you are away for a weekend. This is Statutory law and this cannot be changed even by a written contract. If you do not wish for any viewings to take place you simply state “no or Do not enter the property”
Again texting is not a legal form of communication and should not be relied upon. You have again told her to contact you between set time She could leave a message or text you. I leave plenty of voicemails and always send a text to just politely let people know they have got a voicemail from me.
You are not required by law at all to do viewings or even allowing viewings. The agent can be refused access for any reason other then in an emergency to prevent damage to the house. (Even if you signed a contract stating you will do viewings) You can refuse this as by statutory law you are not required to do them.
They do have to give you notice to gain access unless the work is done in a communal area then it is not required. A 2 bed house with a shared living room and kitchen is not a communal area. Flats with hall ways are considered to have communal areas
You have already agreed with Graham to keep in contact with him for the radiator with this week. He has stated he can have someone there Friday for you. You have already arranged with Chris for Friday for the lock so hopefully this suites you.
I am going to text you now off the emergency mobile number which you MUST use for repairs. It is normally my number but if I am unwell again then you still use the same number as comeone else would have this phone ok. We CANNOT always anser emails and the office ophone is nopt used for EMERGENCIES. I hope this is clear.
The decorative light in the apartment is not an EMERGENCY.
The office email is answered no quicker than my own
EMERGENCIES ARE TO BE INSTRUCTED TO 07903591820. I AGAIn appoligise for being ill but the emergency number was covered
You BOTH had my number from the offset of being moved in.
Also I have been advised that the property needs checked so can you TEXT me when is appropriate for you both.
The works booked in true are not an emergency however, You can be locked in the bathroom creating an emergency. The light is definitely required with darker nights it is definitely a hazard if there are no other lights in the room.
The office email whilst not answered quicker to alert other people to the situation. I would advise you copy they in on every single email you send. Informing the intended recipient you have done so.
Again, Even though you signed to say you would do viewings or accept a property inspection you can refuse these, you are by statutory law allowed to remain in the property without any disturbance from the agent or the landlord.
They have definitely failed to provide a service and I would say this can be considered a breach of the contract on the agents behalf.They have not maintained the property and it has certainly not been a habitable property for the last 5 days. I would bring this up and suggest you are willing to let it all go if they allow you to walk away and have the bond returned in full.
If you put this to your Agent demand a call from her manager or employer. you definitely have something to go on given the state of service. If I left someone without heating for 5 days I would be let go. Even if I tried to say “I can only contact them between 12 -1 and it does not work for me”
If she works 9-5 she has 7 hours to leave you a simple voicemail or send an email.
Citizens advice will offer you free advice and they know what they are stating as well as an agent it is a nightmare when tenants get wise and attend citizens advice as they realize they have all these rights and they do not have to have inspections or Viewings if they do not want them.
Again best bet is either tell them you will walk away and forget it if they allow this and return the bonds in full. Failing that seek citizens advice. I only know so much and can only help with so much. They are much more clued up then I am 🙂
However feel free to ask me anything any time either via work email or personal contact details. You are already on my facebook and my mobile number is [REMOVED]
Feel free to call me any time, On your lunch or when you are at home. NO issues helping out in my own time.
Hope you and Hannah get it solved and hope I can help 🙂
A huge thank you to Gary for the beacon of sanity he offered.
So after all this, I began searching for a new place to live. I went through a few weeks of additional stress where UK Tenant Data, my new estate agents Jan Forster, myself, and my contact at Newcastle Council could not squeeze a reference out of APS. We were either ignored, and when we did hear anything, it was Lisa claiming no-one had tried to get in touch with her. After providing references from every single other house I have lived in, they made an exception and decided the current property reference was not needed, and Hannah and I escaped Attic Property Services. They had more than a months notice that we were leaving, and failed to arrange a hand-over date for the keys, which Hannah ended up posting to their office.
I was duty-bound to write this. Until cowboy agencies like Attic Property Services can be publicly blacklisted, new tenants will fall into their properties unaware of the risks, and that because of the biased referencing system, where agencies and landlords are not legally required to give you a reference even if you are a model tenant who always pays their rent and never does anything wrong, yet other companies require a reference in order for you to move in, model tenants like myself can become completely trapped. Please consider sharing this for the welfare of other tenants in the North East of England.
EDIT: 17/04/2015: Two text messages I received last night (16th April)