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 Caroline Benson

18:44 PM, 29th October 2013, About 8 years ago

I've recently been talking to a town centre letting agent about managing a property for me and the girl on the front desk was explaining the fees. She said we 'had to' pay them a fee every six months to put a new 6 month tenancy agreement in place otherwise 'there's no legal paperwork' to cover the tenancy. Another great scam or an untrained letting agent, take your pick. I usually self manage so don't know if this is common practice. Once challenged the boss called back and agreed this wasn't necessary due to the tenancy becoming statutory periodic. It did make me wonder how many landlords pay for this extra paperwork which is unnecessary and only protects a non rent paying tenant.

by Philip Aston

21:56 PM, 30th October 2013, About 8 years ago

I manage several properties myself- this came about due to some staggering foulups by my letting agent. The tenants were delighted at the removal of these incompetent and rude people so you can just imagine...
There was no contractual issue as I was the one considering legals. I took a commercial view in the end and got on with my life.
I am a property professional in a different field and enjoyed managing for myself , but there have been issues and problems, these could have been much worse but for a bit of luck with networking. The situation for someone without property experience would inevitably be worse.
In defence of agents I will say that before change of personnel/management my former agents were fine, they took on issues that would have cost me time that I couldn't spare and frankly at that time didn't have the ability to deal with.
My opinion is that, legally morally or whatever if you decide to go for full management then you owe it to your agents to stay with it for the duration of the tenancy or the set contractual period within reason- I could accept 2 years but not 5, opinions will vary. And what goes around comes around- anyone who deals cynically with others can and should expect it to turn round and bite them later

by

17:24 PM, 31st October 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Philip Aston" at "30/10/2013 - 21:56":

The absolute maximum exit fee in our opinion should be the published cost of the agents tenant find only fees, less 50% of management charges paid to date.

Tying landlords into paying renewal fees where a tenant find only service has been utilised and where the landlord is happy for a tenant to stay on a statutory periodic tenancy basis should be made illegal.

We have no tie in period whatsoever but then again, we don't provide full management, just advertising on Rightmove for £5 and a guaranteed rent collection service and legal fees package priced at 5% of rent.
.

by M H

21:29 PM, 31st October 2013, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "25/10/2013 - 09:52":

Thanks for your comments, we have negotiated, and are both happy with the agreement we have come too. It will be 2 months I guess until it all gets finalised, and once all is done and dusted I will count my chickens, and not my eggs before!
No doubt this thread will still be going so will comment when fully in the clear.
Cheers
MH

by Valentine Nash

4:48 AM, 25th January 2014, About 8 years ago

I have a question, sorry if this isn't the right place for it... I found my own tenants and went to a letting agent to manage them and now that a year is up and I like my tenants, I've decided I don't want to use the agency and pay their high fees. The agency said that I would not be able to stop using them and keep the tenants but find new ones to stop using their 'basic' money collection service. The T&C don't specify a time so I suspect that it's indefinite - is this right and fair? Damn, should have read the T&C! Your comments appreciated...

by

8:21 AM, 25th January 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Valentine Nash" at "25/01/2014 - 04:48":

If you are going to do it yourself please read our guide below first.
.

by Mark Alexander

8:22 AM, 25th January 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Valentine Nash" at "25/01/2014 - 04:48":

You need to re-read the termination clause. If it is ambiguous then search Google for "OFT vs Foxtons" to learn more about the Case Law which protects you.

I suggest you quote this case law in future correspondence.
.

by Romain Garcin

10:04 AM, 25th January 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Valentine Nash" at "25/01/2014 - 04:48":

Valentine, if the contract doesn't specify anything re. termination or minimum period they are just entitled to a reasonable notice.

by Valentine Nash

7:38 AM, 31st January 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain " at "25/01/2014 - 10:04":

Hello, thanks for your comments. I've asked the letting agents to be clear on the length of the agreement, to which they replied:

Your contract ends with Parks when the Tenancy ends with the tenants. I understand that you are saying that you found the tenants, however you are still bound by the terms and condition that you have signed, please refer to the clause 5.2.

"The commission for letting is due in advance in full at commencement of the Tenancy based on the initial letting period and further payment at the same rates as above will be due forthwith upon the grant of a new Tenancy to the same Tenant (notwithstanding any termination of the Agent's capacity as Letting Agent persuant to Clause 13.3). For the purpose of this Agreement if the Tenant is more than one person then this further commission shall be payable if one or more of such Tenants remains in occupation."

Is this normal for Agents to have an indefinite agreement with a Tenancy? Am I going to have to lose my tenants and get new ones in then? Thank you in advance for any advice......

Valentine

by Romain Garcin

9:15 AM, 31st January 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Valentine Nash" at "31/01/2014 - 07:38":

I think such clause binding you to pay commission for ever upon each new tenancy, especially if amongst the small prints of the T&Cs, is exactly what was deemed unfair in the Foxtons case.

But even leaving that aside, you should clarify what exactly you hired them for. When you say that you found the tenant and just asked the agent to manage the property, do you mean that you set up the tenancy yourself and just handed over management to them afterwards?
Indeed that clause applies in respect to "the commission for letting", so even assuming that you are bound by it, if they didn't let the property then it does not apply at all to you in the first place.


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