Can I cancel my letting agents contract and keep my good tenant?

Can I cancel my letting agents contract and keep my good tenant?

9:05 AM, 5th August 2012, About 9 years ago 71

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Readers Question - How to cancel a letting agents Contract and keep tenantI’ve received an email from Sophie today who wants to cancel her letting agents contract but keep her good tenant. As we have so many professional letting agents reading this forum I’m hoping that we can give Sophie and several other landlords who find this article in an internet search some sound advice. Sophie’s email is below in italics.

Please post your response in the comments section below.

“Hi Mark

I am new to being landlord and engaged a local estate agent to help let my property.  The tenancy agreement is due to expire in the next 2 months and I really like the tenant I have got.

My questions are therefore:

          1, Is it possible to keep the tenant but lose the agent?

          2, If so, what steps do I need to do to ensure this take place?

Thanks in advance for the help.


What advice would you offer to Sophie?

My initial thoughts are:-

a) Read the agents contract, particularly any termination clauses

b) Consider why you want to terminate the contract if the agents have done a good job and sourced a good tenant

c) Are you likely to want to use this agent again?

d) Have you spoken to the agent to explain your situation?

Sophie – perhaps you could answer these questions too as this may alter the advice that readers offer. 



18:03 PM, 6th August 2012, About 9 years ago

But you knew the charges at the onset of the contract. Honestly I'd be wary of getting a bad reputation. It's much easier to lose a good rep than a bad rep!

by Robert FitzHerbert

17:07 PM, 6th August 2012, About 9 years ago

I agree entirely with all the comments so far, particularly the one about 'good letting agents being like hens teeth'! One further practical point you should note is that you will have to take charge of the tenants deposit and as a result will have to safeguard this by registering it with a Government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme - further admin' work and responsibility for you!

by Joe Bloggs

17:08 PM, 6th August 2012, About 9 years ago

'then you need to pay whatever exit penalties are due'subject to the unfair contracts terms act 1977 and 'penalties' are not enforceable in english law!

by Joe Bloggs

17:13 PM, 6th August 2012, About 9 years ago

whats 'honourable' wasnt the question and i thought an experienced vocal landlord would have heard of the unfair contract terms act 1977. it is totally wrong to state that you must comply! and penalty clauses are unenforceable!

by Mark Alexander

18:16 PM, 6th August 2012, About 9 years ago

Hi Sophie, we have just spoken on the telephone. As I explained, UK tax law is complicated and you should seriously consider employing an accountant, preferably one who is a landlord themselves as they will have researched deeper into property taxation. Look for a small business but one that a qualified chartered/certified accountant. I wouldn't expect you to pay more than a few hundred pounds a year as you only have the one property.

I don't think using a letting agent is a bad thing either, especially as you are new to the UK and you have not been a landlord for long either. I used letting agents for many years when I first started out. If you want to find a good one then find out where your nearest landlords association is, go along to a meeting and ask other members. That's how I've found most of my best contacts over the years.

I've learned a lot for myself too but that's as a result of making some pretty stupid and very costly mistakes. You don't need to make the same mistakes as I did. Just keep reading this website and start networking. If you end up paying too much for good advice that's still a lot less expensive than making a big mistake I've found. as you get more and more useful contacts you will soon get to know whether you are paying too much or not.

Wishing you well.



18:29 PM, 6th August 2012, About 9 years ago

Yes that is absolutely correct.
Compliance with all aspects of a contract is not something that should be adhered to if some of those terms are unfair as far as the relevant regulations state.
Adherence to all fair terms should occur. all others , ignore.


20:46 PM, 6th August 2012, About 9 years ago

Sophie has the same problem as most of us The agent gets 10% for collecting our money and a further fee for renewal and a further fee for holding the deposit All plus VAT No wonder the smaller landlord finds it hard to make a profit Cut out the middle man sounds a good idea but unfortunately we need them


8:12 AM, 7th August 2012, About 9 years ago

I would disagree on one of your points ie that landlords need agents. Anybody can manage a tenancy - all the help and info you need is out there. Think of the money you can save managing the tenancy yourself!

by Mark Alexander

8:26 AM, 7th August 2012, About 9 years ago

Now this is an interesting twist - you are an agent and you are saying that anybody can manage their own properties and save money. I am a landlord and so it would seem is Victor and we are disagreeing with you LOL !!!

The Inland Revenue would have us believe that tax needn't be taxing but I think most of us would disagree with that statement.

If you been in the lettings business for a long time then the rules appear to be common sense and logic. However, for a newbie who doesn't even recognise that rules exist lettings can be a minefield. Interestingly, I started off by using a letting agent and when my brother and I retire fully we will go back to using one too. I think there's a point at which all landlords start to feel a bit more confident with self management, usually after a few years or when they have built a small portfolio and built a network around themselves and picked up some knowledge. Arguably, the transition stage is the most dangerous, it certainly was for me.

I guess what I'm saying here is that it's "horses for courses".

Of course picking the right agent can also be a minefield, my starting point would be to look at SAFEagent members and then to talk to professional landlords about the services they provide. Too many people judge on headline price rather than on experience. Savings in fees to letting agents can easily end up costing a lot more with void periods, tenant churn, bad tenants and mistakes being made in terms of not following regulations.


9:03 AM, 7th August 2012, About 9 years ago

10% is generally for a fully managed property. If Sophie wants to look after the maintenance herself etc, she could perhaps negotiate a lesser fee from the agent. I know some will do 7.5% for part managed. Best Sophie tries to negotiate as first point of call

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