Can agent increase management fees unilaterally?

by Readers Question

16:46 PM, 21st January 2020
About 11 months ago

Can agent increase management fees unilaterally?

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Can agent increase management fees unilaterally?

I have a few properties full managed with previous agreements agreed and signed for each property. I sign a new agreement laying out management and other fees with them for every new AST even on the same properties, and have been doing this for years.

However, since tenant fee ban, they have increased their management monthly fee by some percent, simply after sending email and letters informing me.

There is no new tenant or AST, I’m still within the same period and agreements I have signed with them and I can’t find any clause they can increase their management fee within our agreement either. I find it shocking they can increase their fees unilaterally like this.

Am I right to ask them to roll back to their previously agreed fee level and refund for anything they overcharged me?

Many thanks

Mike


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Comments

Mark Alexander

7:21 AM, 22nd January 2020
About 11 months ago

Hi Mike

From what you have said, I think you are perfectly within your rights to ask them to charge what was mutually agreed.

If they refuse, I suggest you take the matter up with their Ombudsman scheme and consider appointing another agent on the basis that they are in breach of contract for over-charging. Please see the Letting and Management section of this website for more tips >>> https://www.property118.com/letting/

Simon Williams

10:21 AM, 22nd January 2020
About 11 months ago

As a matter of contract law, one party cannot unilaterally raise their fee within the contract period unless there is a specific clause within the contract permitting them to do so. If you are sure there is no such clause, you should refuse to pay the increase. You should invite them to state the precise basis under the law of contract upon which they rely. Better still, self-manage. It's wonderfully liberating. Your tenants will prefer it and your choice of tenant will improve together with your arrears level.

Note: this is opinion only and not a substitute for independent legal advice.

Navro18@gmail.Com

21:36 PM, 25th January 2020
About 10 months ago

It's all about managing the relationship...how badly do you need them and how fair is the increase given their profits will have been hit given the changes to fee charging?

Paul Shears

21:43 PM, 25th January 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by at 25/01/2020 - 21:36
In my eyes, they have already irretrievably damaged the relationship by their conduct. The only reason that I would continue to do temporary business with them would be that I had no choice. I am with Mark on this if you decide to try to maintain the relationship.


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