Can I leave a bad letting agent that has not protected the deposit?

by Readers Question

11:52 AM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Can I leave a bad letting agent that has not protected the deposit?

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Can I leave a bad letting agent that has not protected the deposit?

I am unfortunately stuck with a horrendous letting agent, but have a great tenant.

The agent regularly pays late even up to 6 weeks after the tenant has paid. They never respond to emails or calls, are always argumentative when they do and most recently I have found that the tenants deposit is not being protected for 2 months now.

Every time I ask to leave they say they will have to evict the tenant or charge me ongoing fees. I have asked for them to let me deal with protecting the deposit and they say they can not hand it over unless I sign a new contract.

The contract says nothing about when they should pay me so not sure if being late is a breech of contract but it does say the deposit will be protected. Am I legally allowed to leave them and keep the tenant fee free.

Please help

Ash



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:56 AM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Ash,

Alarm bells should be ringing now as not protecting the deposit is a big deal. The tenant can sue for up to 3 times the deposit plus the deposit.

It sounds like the agent has cashflow issues and is using your and the tenant's money.

You need to check what Redress Scheme the agent belongs to and if they have client money protection. Make a complaint to the redress scheme and look to move agents.

Please see Property Management Transfers – Total Satisfaction Guarantee
>> https://www.property118.com/property-management-transfers-total-satisfaction-guarantee/94251/

Dr Monty Drawbridge

12:29 PM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Bear in mind that the contract is between you (the landlord) and the tenant. The agent cannot decide by themselves to evict the tenant unless you have given them the authority to do so (which may be a specific instruction or a more general grant of power). Even so, if you are only two months into the contract, there will almost certainly be another four (if 6 month minimum term) to ten months (if 12 month) of fixed term to run, so they couldn't act straight away.

I'm a bit confused by the points you make. You say that the agents regularly pay 6 weeks late but it would seem that you are only 2 months into the tenancy. It would not be unusual for you to receive nothing of the first monthly payment in advance as that would cover the agent's fees. Could it be that you were expecting to be paid the first rental payment in advance but actually they have kept that for themselves (their fee, probably plus VAT) and paid you the second one?

Are you absolutely certain that the deposit has not been protected? Have you called all three deposit schemes to double check?

JohnCaversham

14:14 PM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Trading Standards...

Adrian Jones

14:43 PM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

I'm confused as well, eg how do you know the deposit is not being protected?

DALE ROBERTS

16:52 PM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Why can't we name and shame on this forum.
We could avoid repeats of the above which happen with alarming regularity and no accountability.
We had the same issues with Oliver-Knights. In order to avoid further investigation into their fraudulent embezzlement of landlords and tenants funds, they closed down and reopened as Lang and Ward. The same two brothers who ran Guy Salmon Estates with the same modus operandi.
How do we protect ourselves from bad agencies if we can't list them on property sites that purport to support landlords and therefore, by default, tenants.

Neil Patterson

17:07 PM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

There has to be proof of a conviction or ruling against first then it is ok.

Otherwise the innocent can be convicted without recourse and it would be libel.

DALE ROBERTS

18:26 PM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

If one is describing a personal experience with an agency and right of reply is actively encouraged why should that be considered libelous?
If we were to wait for the very slow, if not non-existent, wheels of enforcement to turn - the damage escalates and the number of victims escalates.
This is a query to forums such as Property118 and should not be construed as a directive. I am a firm adherent to open and fair dialogue which finds common ground to resolutions which affect landlords and tenants as a collective.

Neil Patterson

18:44 PM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

It's always a tricky balancing act Dale as service is subjective, but criminal or negligent activity is not and needs to be proved. We will take legal action through Cotswold Barristers on a no win no fee basis if enough Landlords Union members are affected or individuals can use Private Prosecutions >> https://www.property118.com/private-prosecutions/

Readers should always complain to the Agent's Redress scheme as soon as possible and through the PI insurance as this should obtain results quickly especially in the event of multiple complaints as no insurer wants a bigger loss than necessary.

Neil Patterson

18:46 PM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

PS we have taken successful legal action in the past that was settled, but hence we cannot discuss it.

DALE ROBERTS

19:17 PM, 20th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Unfortunately, the first costs rogue agencies shelve are their fees to the redress schemes they allege they belong to. If agencies default on premiums those schemes default on accountability.
I speak from bitter experience.
I applaud your endeavours in dealing with rogues within the industry - agencies or banks - but would prefer candid exposure of such.
Knights in shining armour are few and far between in the UK in this industry.
And this damsel likes them big and bold 🙂

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