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.

Sophie”

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. 



Comments

by

9:19 AM, 7th August 2012, About 9 years ago

Hi Sophie - I agree with Mark on getting a bad reputation, however the introduction fee is there for a reason it doesnt mean you will get a bad reputation by leaving the agent and keeping the tenant. Alot of it (financially) depends on how much your rent is too because if you pay £400 finders fee that could be alot cheaper than 10% if your rent is say £900 a month. However, if it is in the region of £450 a month rent then you need to weigh up the pros and cons. I do both on my properties, depending on the rental income and the location. I use the agent to find tenants as well as to find and manage. Whereabouts in England is your property ?? I maybe able to assist with agents and/or good accountant if that is the way you want to go.

by

9:25 AM, 7th August 2012, About 9 years ago

Hi Sophie. The agent generally does charge 10%, but there are GOOD agents that will be prepared to do a lesser fee if you negotiate, and would much rather do that than lose you completely. Also, you could speak with them and see about doing a part managed as well at a reduced rate (say 7%) - again there are agents that will do this also.
That way you keep the agent, dont pay your finders fee but then manage the maintenance youself.

by

11:43 AM, 7th August 2012, About 9 years ago

In principle the tax position is not all that difficult - although I am a tax adviser and property investor myself. That said, as most people do not fill in a tax return (tax is taken out of their monthly salary by PAYE), first time property investors have to start filling in a tax return setting out ALL OF THEIR INCOME.

And this can be daunting!

In addition, HM Revenue & Customs don't always get it right and it then takes an accountant/tax adviser to sort it out.

The benefit of using a tax adviser is that they will also be able to help you with claiming the appropriate tax deductions, eg for repairs & maintenance, landlord costs, renewals etc. My advice would be to keep good records as you don't want to pay them to sort through a shoe box of receipts.

Kersten

by

23:01 PM, 9th August 2012, About 9 years ago

Normally, the letting fee within a full management contract is lower than a let-only, so I expect the agent will have covered this by reserving a fee for early termination of their contract - as most people have said, it'll be in the agreement somewhere.
Sophie, any form of DIY is the same - yes you can do it with preparation and hard work, but you need to acknowledge that it is a job that takes time and knowledge. IMHO anyone who expects rental income to be like bank interest is heading for a well deserved disaster (not saying that you do). You can get the knowledge from books etc, it will keep you legal, and you might be prepared to take the risk of pitfalls while you get used to the job. Please think on this:

Even running a few properties can feel like a full time job occasionally. How flexible is your work?
You need to be just as available as your letting agent were. Can you accept calls during working hours? Are you happy to make arrangements to accept calls while on holiday abroad?
Are you prepared to deal direct with a bad tenant? As others have said, once you have left a full management contract you may be forced to deal let-only in future.
Are you confident that you have both contacts and knowledge to deal with maintenance issues - without getting done over?

That said, I used to have a great agent. They changed hands, and eventually I began to self-manage when I caught them trying a large scale rip-off. I was lucky with the way things turned out, but even so had to learn from a few mistakes - a bad tenant, a rubbish contractor, a silly decision. I won't go back now.

Wishing you well

by

8:35 AM, 18th August 2012, About 9 years ago

As Mark says it all depends on the wording of the contract you have with the agent. All landlords must read the wording carefully before they sign (the devil is in the detail) and not accept it if there is anything they do not understand or agree with.

Landlords should remember that contracts with the agents are negotiable. For example we use agents for finding tenants only. They normally have a renewal fee clause in their contract so that if the tenant renews the contract, the agents get an extra fee for nothing. We say that we will not accept this clause and they normally agree to remove it rather than lose our business.

I don't think that unfair contract terms legislation applies to a landlord / agent agreement as this is a business contract and landlords are expected to know what they are doing.

by

11:51 AM, 22nd October 2012, About 9 years ago

Sophie

I have not read all the notes on here so apologies if I am duplicating what has already been said. I have just finished with my letting Agent but only have a very fierce battle with them.

In my terms and conditions they had written in that I had to stay paying them for the whole length that the tenant they found stayed within my property but kept charging me for each 12 month fixed term. I challenged them on this and eventually after seeking legal advice and discussions with the OFT this term and condition within the Contract was Unfair and Unjust and the OFT had taken action against a letting Agent and this link will give you full details:- http://www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/consumer-enforcement/consumer-enforcement-completed/foxtons/

As long as you give the letting agent the right amount of notice to terminate the policy then they are not able to force you to take out a new one. Most agencies charge you a fee up front which covers the marketing and finders fee so you shouldnt have to pay them another fee when you wish to terminate the contract.

I hope this helps you.

Regards

Terry

by Peter Harris

12:28 PM, 31st December 2012, About 9 years ago

You dont need third party fire and Theft to drive your car on the motorway but you do need it when you have and accident or are picked up for speeding... same for and agent they make their money when things are going wrong... one hopes!!

by

19:24 PM, 5th January 2013, About 9 years ago

Hi I have a tenant in a property that had an tenancy agreement signed by an agent I had instructed to sell my house but i had never signed for him to management the property or rent it. I had found the tenant myself and he had the key to sell the property but we never agreed on him renting or managing the property. Is the rental agreement legal?

by ron cavedaschi

16:12 PM, 12th August 2013, About 8 years ago

I am a landlord and was new to the game when I started letting my flat. I asked my agent to find a tenant. Now I understand that there was a fee for that and nothing else. However I thought it would be helpful for a while to have the rent paid to the agent, but this was not a full management agreement just collecting the rent. This situation has continued for about two years. But now the ridiculousness of the situation whereby the tenant pays the landlord and they pay me minus a fee has occurred to me and I could easily arrange for the tenant to pay direct to me and not have to pay the agent for doing virtually nothing. They have received the full finding fee and enjoyed a couple of years for just collecting the rent. Now they want £400 to stop this ridiculous situation. Are they morally right to insist on this fee? If I had just had the finding fee contract then they wouldn't have received the monthly rent collection fee so it seems like I am being punished for using their services.

Ron C

by Mark Alexander

16:20 PM, 12th August 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "ron cavedaschi" at "12/08/2013 - 16:12":

Check your contract Roy. If there isn't one there is nothing the letting agent can do. If there is one then check it very carefully. If the conditions allowing this are clear there is very little chance you will be able to break the contract without paying the termination fees. The lesson to be learned is to read contracts in detail before you sign them, not after.
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