Agent Wants £600 to End Contract

by Readers Question

8:41 AM, 13th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Agent Wants £600 to End Contract

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Agent Wants £600 to End Contract

Hi, apologies if this is a common question but I’ve tried the search option but not found the answer. Agent Wants £600 to End Contract

I decided to let my house 18 months ago when I moved in with my girlfriend and not knowing anything about it I used a letting agent. They’re a large concern covering one side of the country to the other, country wide you could say.

A pleasant lady came to the house and told us how easy it would be. They would take 10% each month and all we had to do was get the EPC and Gas safety check done and away we go. It really was made to sound as simple as that.

They’ve been nothing short of useless. The amount paid each month varies in amount and date paid, repairs have been poor etc etc. There’s a long list of issues that I won’t go into now.

The tenant has been fine but has now given notice to leave as she wants a bigger house having had a second child.

I don’t want to re let as I want to sell the house.

The agent wants £600 to end the contract. It’s in the small print but no mention has been made of this until now.

Is there any advice from members? I really don’t want to pay them after the poor service I’ve had and I feel annoyed, to say the leas,t that this fee wasn’t mentioned at the outset.

Thanks in anticipation.

John



Comments

Mark Alexander

8:55 AM, 13th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi John

I wonder which company you are referring to! 😉

Very cheeky!

I am not familiar with their contracts but I doubt very much they could legally impose a fee of £600 if you choose not to re-let your property with them, especially as they will not have anything to do with marketing the property, finding a new tenant or managing it. If you were terminating mid tenancy and keeping the same tenant that would be a very different matter.

Please transcribe the contractual condition which is worrying you into another comment.

I suspect it's a storm in a teacup but if not then I suspect OFT would have something to say about it as I can't see how such a condition could be enforceable as it would be in breach of Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulation "UTCCR" - see >>> https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/284426/oft311.pdf
.

Percy Vere

9:29 AM, 13th August 2014
About 4 years ago

The exit fee is unenforcable. If the tenant has given notice to leave then that is the end of your contract and it's your choice as to what you decide to do with your property. Tell CW to go and do one. These LA's have a fearsome reputation for being below par as any Google search will tell you.

Any lashback from CW tell them to take you to court. The Judge is almost 100% certain to state that it is unfair contractual terms and my bet is that a case like this has already been heard and awarded in the Landlord's favour.

My reply assumes you have not signed a 12 month AST contract with CW and are in the middle of it and it is being terminated by you.

Jeremy Edwards

15:48 PM, 13th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Read the fineprint! Somewhere they will say how to terminate a contract. If the old tenant is leaving and you are not asking for a re-let, that should be a normal termination. If so, tell them to read their own document. If not get a lawyer.

One problem with consumer legislation is it gives protection to consumers, not necessarily to businesses, where the onus is more "buyer beware". If you entered into an unfair contract as a BTL landlord, you might find it harder to get away unscathed.

If you can prove that they have already broken the contact by being pants, that may give you an 'out', but proof will need to be shown.

John Beckett

18:05 PM, 13th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Thanks for the replies. They have put my mind at rest somewhat.

I didn't sign a new 12 month contract but left it as a rolling one because I wasn't happy with the agent and didn't want to be tied to them any longer than necessary.

The clause in the small print is " Termination of the contract: Two months written notice must be given if for any reason either party, you (the landlord) or we (the agent) wish to terminate this contract. However, our fees remain payable by you as follows:

Full Management or Rental Collection fees remain payable at the agreed percentage for the remainder of the current fixed term period, or until the tenant vacates the property (whichever is the sooner) subject to a minimum fee of £600 being payable to us.

Should there be a legitimate and enforceable breach of terms by us (as agent) you may terminate this contract forthwith and no further fees will be payable."

Mark Alexander

21:35 PM, 13th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Beckett" at "13/08/2014 - 18:05":

Hi John

That seems very clear to me.

Based on what you said in your original "Readers Question", i.e. tenant is vacating, you can dispense with your agents services at no cost as soon as your tenant has moved out. To be on the safe side I recommend that you tell them that you do not want them to re-let the property when it becomes vacant ASAP. If it makes you feel better and to avoid awkward questions and confrontation just tell them you are moving into it yourself or moving a relative in there.
.

John Beckett

21:56 PM, 15th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "13/08/2014 - 21:35":

Thanks Mark,

I called the main agent and they claim that it's the fault of the local estate agent that they use not understanding their terms and conditions.

Anyway there's no charge which is the main thing.

Thanks again.

John

Mark Alexander

22:01 PM, 15th August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Beckett" at "15/08/2014 - 21:56":

I' pleased to hear it John.

You have to wonder how many times they have actually made this "mistake" though don't you?
.


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