My complaint against my landlords is ….

My complaint against my landlords is ….

11:16 AM, 22nd March 2015, About 6 years ago 65

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So glad there is a platform for tenant support – I feel really screwed! My complaint against my landlords is ....

So my partner and I have been living in a property for just under one year. When we originally looked and moved into the property, WE requested two years as we wanted to keep the high London costs to a minimum for the two years we expected to live at the property.

However, I have been made redundant 9.5 months into our tenancy, and can no longer afford the rent in London, and my partner and I have decided to move out of London.

We have the landlord 9 weeks notice, stating we would like to leave on May 16th, (one year after starting the tenancy and one years early termination).

Our landlord has agreed to this and is happy to find new tenant.

HERE IS THE PROBLEM

He has stated that on starting the agreement, our landlord paid the letting agency the value of 7% of 24 months rent (what I believe is a finders fee).

As we are ending the tenancy early, he has said we have to pay that remaining fee! Approximately £1300!!!

I understand that if we end the tenancy early we have to pay until the agreement ends (or as soon as other tenants are allocated) but I don’t see why we have to pay HIS fees?!

Can you let me know if we do have to pay this!?

Thanks

Lewis Fountain



Comments

by John Frith

11:50 AM, 24th March 2015, About 6 years ago

Lew, you say "And as a tenant, my agreement states that I can end the tenancy early without a break clause as long as the landlord agrees and we have to pay if there are any void periods and any other admin fees that may occur."

If this is true, then you could argue that the agents charge does not qualify as a void or the landlord's admin charge. However, as has been pointed out, you are negotiating, and as the landlord has a trump card, in that if he's not happy, he could hold you to the entire contract, then you can't play hardball.

by Mark Alexander

11:53 AM, 24th March 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Frith" at "24/03/2015 - 11:50":

I disagree John, based on the words "as the landlord agrees".

In law, an agreement to the possibility of entering into a different agreement subject to mutual consent is considered to be superfluous because this is always the case whether the agreement states it or not.

In this case the landlord has laid out his terms for varying the agreement and Lew has rejected those terms, which means de-facto that the original terms of the agreement prevail.
.

by John Frith

12:07 PM, 24th March 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "24/03/2015 - 11:53":

Mark, Hew has stated that the CONTRACT says "as long as the landlord agrees and we have to pay if there are any void periods and any other admin fees that may occur.”

As I pointed out, the tenant is "negotiating", so there is nothing wrong with appealing to the landlord's sense of fairness about what constitutes an admin fee, though I agree he can't make any demands.

by Joe Bloggs

15:30 PM, 24th March 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "24/03/2015 - 10:19":

'I wouldn’t have agreed to a two year contract, which is what the tenant asked for, but that isn’t really the point either is it?'

Hi mark,
the point i was making was whether you would have agreed a finders fee based on 2 years projected rent? as a shrewd business man, im pretty sure you wouldnt. In fact you said as much.

by Mark Alexander

15:35 PM, 24th March 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Joe Bloggs" at "24/03/2015 - 15:30":

Of course I wouldn't, I'm a non-exec Director in Letting Supermarket who charge 4% for full management and their contracts only last for 12 months. A one off fee of £200 applies to properties in London when the property is first let but that's it, no other fees and you can cancel without penalty any time after 12 months!
.

by Steve From Leicester

10:26 AM, 25th March 2015, About 6 years ago

Whether the fees charged by the agent were fair or outrageous is irrelevant. They are the fees the landlord agreed to, and it suited the landlord to use this agent and accept his fees.

I understand why the tenant is aggrieved, but the landlord doesn't have an obligation to use the cheapest agent just in case the tenant wants to break the terms of the tenancy by leaving early.

by Joe Bloggs

11:50 AM, 25th March 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve From Leicester" at "25/03/2015 - 10:26":

agreed dont have to use the cheapest, but if the tenant is being asked to pay, then surely it should be reasonable and justifiable.

dont know about the legal position, but it would certainly cause friction to ask the tenant to pay for the landlords stupid decision.

by Steve From Leicester

12:51 PM, 25th March 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Joe Bloggs" at "25/03/2015 - 11:50":

It was the fee the landlord chose to pay out of his own pocket, regardless of whether it was "stupid" or not. He didn't expect the tenant to end up paying it - he expected the tenant to abide by the terms of the tenancy agreement - and to suggest he should have used a cheaper agent just in case the tenant wanted to break that agreement is nonsense.

And anyway, who says it was a "stupid decision"?

The landlord who agreed to pay commission based on two years rent might have understood that this was a very high PRICE, but perhaps he received excellent service and therefore thought it was good VALUE.

You have no knowledge of the level of service he received, or the criteria on which he made his decision, and to suggest that he's automatically stupid because he paid a high price is simply arrogant.

by Joe Bloggs

13:06 PM, 25th March 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve From Leicester" at "25/03/2015 - 12:51":

the LL can pay as much over the odds as he likes, but normal rules of reasonableness kick in when you ask someone else to pay.

on the assumption that what we are told is correct, a finders fee of around £3k in london is certainly very excessive and therefore stupid.

by Steve From Leicester

13:51 PM, 25th March 2015, About 6 years ago

The landlord is entitled to ask the tenant to pay the rent until the end of the contract.

If the landlord agrees to accept anything less than full rent then he's being reasonable.

As to your last point, several greasy spoon caffs close to my office sell a cup of coffee for a quid. Using your logic £3 for a skinny latte from Costa is excessive and therefore stupid.

"Ah yes" you might say,"But the coffee at Costa is better quality than the spoonful of instant coffee topped up with boiling water from an urn that you get from the local caff".

Indeed. And maybe this agent provided a much better service than his competitors. Or maybe this agent was able to source and install a good quality tenant much quicker than other agents, generating additional rental income which more than compensated for the higher fee. Or maybe the landlord was just cash rich and time poor and was happy to pay a premium price so long as the job was done quickly and efficiently.

None of these scenarios mean the landlord is "stupid", and the landlord is under no obligation to say "No, no, this would suit me better, but I must use a cheaper agent so that if the tenant wants to break the terms of the agreement I can minimise the costs I have to pass on to him".


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