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  • FIRST POST
    • edeca
    • By edeca 25th May 19, 9:46 PM
    • 2Posts
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    edeca
    Cancelled holiday cottage - 5 hours notice!
    • #1
    • 25th May 19, 9:46 PM
    Cancelled holiday cottage - 5 hours notice! 25th May 19 at 9:46 PM
    Today we were due to travel to a holiday cottage for a week long vacation. Check in was scheduled for 3PM.

    Unfortunately at 10:30 this morning the letting agent phoned to inform us the property was no longer available, due to "building work which has overrun". In a subsequent call the agent was not sure what type of building work was occurring, except that it was "interior building work". There has been no previous communication about any potential risks of cancellation.

    The agent offered to arrange an alternative, however it was inadequate in a number of crucial areas (smaller, no dedicated parking, steps to the front door, less access to a dog friendly beach etc.). For this reason we informed the agent we did not want to accept an alternative.

    I have no concerns about receiving a full refund, worst case it was paid on a credit card so will be protected. However, I am wondering what rights we have to further compensation. For example:
    • We paid a deposit of nearly 500 in October 2018, money the agent has had for 7 months.
    • We paid the balance of 800 in March 2019, 3 months in advance.
    • Some of our party had already left, and therefore drove some distance before returning home.
    • An order from a supermarket was due to be delivered after check in.
    • I was left with two crying children and an unhappy wife.

    The booking terms contain a fairly standard clause which reads:

    "In the event of the Property becoming unavailable (such as due to fire or flooding), the Agency will endeavour to provide the Guest with suitable alternative accommodation or will refund all monies paid, or a proportion in the case of curtailment. The Agency cannot, however, pay any compensation or expenses as a consequence of such an event."

    However, this was clearly not an exceptional case such as fire or flooding. In my view the letting agent has failed to exercise reasonable care in performing their duty, moreso due to the short notice cancellation.

    The terms and conditions around cancellation are of course weighted in favour of the agent, and they would not have refunded if we phoned at 1030 this morning. The terms also state that "the Contract of Letting is between the guest ("the Guest") and the Owner", however we do not know who "the Owner" is. All communications have been by the agent, including regular emails e.g. "it's nearly time for your holiday".

    This was not part of a package holiday, didn't include flights etc. However, do I have any rights to compensation over and above a full refund?
Page 1
    • waamo
    • By waamo 25th May 19, 10:57 PM
    • 6,867 Posts
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    waamo
    • #2
    • 25th May 19, 10:57 PM
    • #2
    • 25th May 19, 10:57 PM
    This may, or may not, be important but what country is this cottage in? Who did you book through? The website (if it was one) would be useful.
    This space for hire.
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 25th May 19, 11:20 PM
    • 3,961 Posts
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    Aylesbury Duck
    • #3
    • 25th May 19, 11:20 PM
    • #3
    • 25th May 19, 11:20 PM
    I think you’d have a good chance of succeeding if you were to claim for your actual losses, particularly if you can provide evidence for them. Anything other than that and you’re relying on goodwill. Perhaps the best bet would be to try and negotiate a heavy discount on a future booking.
    • pinkshoes
    • By pinkshoes 26th May 19, 8:19 AM
    • 16,452 Posts
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    pinkshoes
    • #4
    • 26th May 19, 8:19 AM
    • #4
    • 26th May 19, 8:19 AM
    It's still early...

    Why not try and find your own alternative accommodation that IS suitable then make them pay the difference?
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
    • jellybeantinker1
    • By jellybeantinker1 26th May 19, 8:34 AM
    • 30 Posts
    • 195 Thanks
    jellybeantinker1
    • #5
    • 26th May 19, 8:34 AM
    • #5
    • 26th May 19, 8:34 AM
    I would say you are very unlikely to receive any further compensation, as you would be receiving a full refund from the agent, through which the cottage is let. The actual owner of the cottage is likely to have some form of penalty to pay too, to the agent for their loss.

    They have offered you alternative accommodation, and unfortunately not a like-for-like, but I am surprised that they didn't have anything suitable, even if it was in a slightly different area, and sometimes, although a situation is frustrating and disappointing, it is better to accept an alternative that works (if they had something somewhere in a slightly different area), to not having a holiday at all, and also ask for them to apply a discount for the inconvenience. (As it is the day after, why not have a quick look on the agent's website and see if you can find something suitable that is available, maybe in an area a few miles down the road - the agent may not be offering you what is actually available and suitable, I know I would be checking)

    It would be unlikely for the majority of cottage agents to offer a higher spec property due to the extra costs involved to both themselves, the agent and the owners.

    I can only assume you are travelling and holidaying in the UK, based on your description, but you don't mention that you took out cancellation insurance, which is always recommended if you are travelling in the UK (a lot of people don't bother, but it is always best to for a few extra pounds so you are covered under several scenarios, and they help to sort alternative accommodation.

    As said, it is unfortunate, frustrating and disappointing that this has happened on the morning of your arrival, but at the same time, I don't think you will gain anything extra, except as Aylsbury Duck says, maybe a discount on a future booking, but I wouldn't expect anything more than around 20% from an agent.

    I have owned holiday cottages before (not through an agent due to their high commission fees - try and book direct next time, its cheaper too!
    Last edited by jellybeantinker1; 26-05-2019 at 8:37 AM.
    • da_rule
    • By da_rule 26th May 19, 10:31 AM
    • 3,257 Posts
    • 2,971 Thanks
    da_rule
    • #6
    • 26th May 19, 10:31 AM
    • #6
    • 26th May 19, 10:31 AM
    Is your contract between you and the letting agency, or you and the landlord (but potentially with the agent acting as their representative)?

    What does the contract say about notice to terminate?
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 26th May 19, 3:06 PM
    • 11,945 Posts
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    lincroft1710
    • #7
    • 26th May 19, 3:06 PM
    • #7
    • 26th May 19, 3:06 PM
    The only "rights" you have, are those that are enshrined in law and those offered in the terms and conditions of the booking.

    In respect of the following

    1. We paid a deposit of nearly 500 in October 2018, money the agent has had for 7 months.

    2. We paid the balance of 800 in March 2019, 3 months in advance.

    3. Some of our party had already left, and therefore drove some distance before returning home.

    4. An order from a supermarket was due to be delivered after check in.

    5. I was left with two crying children and an unhappy wife.

    The monies in 1 and 2 would generate little interest over the relative period of time, so not worth worrying about

    If the party involved in 3 had incurred substantial travel costs, you should try to reclaim these.

    Presuming 4 could not have been cancelled with full refund, then you should also try to reclaim this.

    5. - no chance!!!

    If you meet with refusal, you will have to consider if it is worth pursuing to Small Claims Court, but there may be a problem as there would have to be 2 claims and each could only be effectively pursued if they exceeded 30.
    Last edited by lincroft1710; 26-05-2019 at 3:08 PM.
    • J B
    • By J B 26th May 19, 3:11 PM
    • 3,433 Posts
    • 1,278 Thanks
    J B
    • #8
    • 26th May 19, 3:11 PM
    • #8
    • 26th May 19, 3:11 PM
    In my view the letting agent has failed to exercise reasonable care in performing their duty, moreso due to the short notice cancellation.
    Originally posted by edeca

    We have done holiday rentals in N Wales for nearly ten years now using an agent (STS) and in Cyprus with Holiday Lettings / Trip Advisor



    I'm not sure that you should be blaming the agent (although maybe that's the legal way to go if your contract is with them) as perhaps they were unaware of the issue till the owner told them. Maybe the owner wasn't aware till their agent arrived to clean to find that the builder hadn't finished the work.
    Anyway, lots of maybes ........


    Good luck.
    • edeca
    • By edeca 26th May 19, 4:19 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    edeca
    • #9
    • 26th May 19, 4:19 PM
    • #9
    • 26th May 19, 4:19 PM
    Thanks for all the useful replies so far. To clarify a few things which were asked:
    • Property is in the UK, so is the lettings agent. Contract specifically states England & Wales law.
    • Booking terms say the contract is with the owner, however we do not know who this is (not obviously named in any of the emails / paperwork to date, would need to review everything).

    All communications have been with the agent, who have done what they can in the circumstances, hence not wanting to name and shame here.

    With regard to finding an alternative - it's a school holiday week with a bank holiday. Alternatives are not easy to find (needs to be dog friendly, suitable for a 1 year old etc.), or are extremely expensive. We do have an insurance policy and Section 75 protection from the credit card. Therefore obtaining the booking money back should be fine.

    However, I am interested in what compensation should be expected (even as goodwill) because it's incredibly one sided that the landlord can cancel with 5 hours notice with no penalty.
    • a.turner
    • By a.turner 26th May 19, 4:23 PM
    • 391 Posts
    • 157 Thanks
    a.turner
    Thanks for all the useful replies so far. To clarify a few things which were asked:
    • Property is in the UK, so is the lettings agent. Contract specifically states England & Wales law.
    • Booking terms say the contract is with the owner, however we do not know who this is (not obviously named in any of the emails / paperwork to date, would need to review everything).

    All communications have been with the agent, who have done what they can in the circumstances, hence not wanting to name and shame here.

    With regard to finding an alternative - it's a school holiday week with a bank holiday. Alternatives are not easy to find (needs to be dog friendly, suitable for a 1 year old etc.), or are extremely expensive. We do have an insurance policy and Section 75 protection from the credit card. Therefore obtaining the booking money back should be fine.

    However, I am interested in what compensation should be expected (even as goodwill) because it's incredibly one sided that the landlord can cancel with 5 hours notice with no penalty.
    Originally posted by edeca
    The cost of your out of pocket expenses due to the cancellation.
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 26th May 19, 5:05 PM
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    Aylesbury Duck
    However, I am interested in what compensation should be expected (even as goodwill) because it's incredibly one sided that the landlord can cancel with 5 hours notice with no penalty.
    Originally posted by edeca
    See post #3. Your actual losses, providing you can supply evidence of them.
    Last edited by Aylesbury Duck; 26-05-2019 at 10:40 PM.
    • the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    • By the_lunatic_is_in_my_head 26th May 19, 6:27 PM
    • 2,433 Posts
    • 1,435 Thanks
    the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    However, I am interested in what compensation should be expected (even as goodwill) because it's incredibly one sided that the landlord can cancel with 5 hours notice with no penalty.
    Originally posted by edeca
    As Aylesbury said earlier you are relying on good will, either an old fashioned letter or complain on their Facebook page (although if it is the company I think it is their Facebook isn't up to much and they may just delete it and possibly become annoyed).

    Best they are likely to offer is a reduced rate for a future booking.

    Anyone know if the letting agent can place the contract with the property owner rather than themselves? Seems a bit one-sided seeing as the OP has no details nor has made any contact with the owner directly.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 26th May 19, 11:28 PM
    • 13,620 Posts
    • 10,982 Thanks
    unholyangel
    However, I am interested in what compensation should be expected (even as goodwill) because it's incredibly one sided that the landlord can cancel with 5 hours notice with no penalty.
    Originally posted by edeca
    Loss of enjoyment/distress/inconvenience is rarely entertained in breach of contract cases.....except for certain circumstances where the purpose of the contract is to provide peace of mind, relaxation etc....such as holidays.

    However, first you do need to try and mitigate your losses. And also keep your expectations of any potential figure realistic. While it can be claimed for such instances, it tends to reflect the circumstances - ie a holiday you take regularly versus a once in a lifetime trip/honeymoon.

    Also, it would depend whether it was in the owners control or not. Scheduled building work or lack of maintenance versus emergency repairs through storm damage for example.

    Anyone know if the letting agent can place the contract with the property owner rather than themselves? Seems a bit one-sided seeing as the OP has no details nor has made any contact with the owner directly.
    Originally posted by the_lunatic_is_in_my_head
    Clue is in the name: agent. An agent is someone who can act on behalf of someone, and enter them into contracts.

    The letting agency should provide the owners details.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • J B
    • By J B 27th May 19, 9:35 AM
    • 3,433 Posts
    • 1,278 Thanks
    J B

    Clue is in the name: agent. An agent is someone who can act on behalf of someone, and enter them into contracts.

    The letting agency should provide the owners details.
    Originally posted by unholyangel

    When our clients have booked, the agent gives them our contact details

    Do you not have these details?
    • fred246
    • By fred246 27th May 19, 10:14 AM
    • 1,565 Posts
    • 953 Thanks
    fred246
    Years ago we rented a cottage. We were excited because it was so new that they had to provide an artist's impression. We got a call the day before to cancel it. We rented another one and decided to have a look at the one we missed out on. They'd only just started building it. No way was it even nearing completion. Very infuriating however buried in the terms & conditions there is always a get out clause for the letting company. The difference now is social media. Nowadays I'd be plastering my experiences over as many websites as I could.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 27th May 19, 11:03 AM
    • 3,347 Posts
    • 3,393 Thanks
    steampowered
    Gosh, that is really awful. I feel very sorry for you.

    The best thing might be to see if you can arrange an alternative at short notice and pick this up when you get back.

    It sounds to me like you a legal claim against the owner of the property - which would encompass both your financial losses (e.g. if you have to pay more for a similar property at short notice) and loss of enjoyment (i.e. a small sum for the inconvenience caused).

    Loss of enjoyment can be claimed in this case because this was a contract for a holiday.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 27th May 19, 12:40 PM
    • 13,620 Posts
    • 10,982 Thanks
    unholyangel
    Years ago we rented a cottage. We were excited because it was so new that they had to provide an artist's impression. We got a call the day before to cancel it. We rented another one and decided to have a look at the one we missed out on. They'd only just started building it. No way was it even nearing completion. Very infuriating however buried in the terms & conditions there is always a get out clause for the letting company. The difference now is social media. Nowadays I'd be plastering my experiences over as many websites as I could.
    Originally posted by fred246
    Just because something is in the T&C's, doesn't mean its enforceable.

    This is why consumer rights exist - because there have always been shady companies. Even with rights set out in law, some companies still try their luck.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • happyandcontented
    • By happyandcontented 27th May 19, 12:58 PM
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    happyandcontented
    Name and shame. It is awful to do this at such short notice, and in Half Term week. They must have known earlier that the work would overrun.
    • pinkshoes
    • By pinkshoes 27th May 19, 1:32 PM
    • 16,452 Posts
    • 22,739 Thanks
    pinkshoes

    With regard to finding an alternative - it's a school holiday week with a bank holiday. Alternatives are not easy to find (needs to be dog friendly, suitable for a 1 year old etc.), or are extremely expensive. We do have an insurance policy and Section 75 protection from the credit card. Therefore obtaining the booking money back should be fine.
    Originally posted by edeca
    A quick look on holiday lettings shows many properties still available this week, suitable for kids and dogs...

    I would book one, enjoy your holiday, then chase the original company for a full refund and to cover the cost if the alternative cost more.

    As a teacher, I can ONLY have school holidays, so would have done the above.
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
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