How to deal with incorrect licence advice from agent?

by Readers Question

4 months ago

How to deal with incorrect licence advice from agent?

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How to deal with incorrect licence advice from agent?

My wife and I are expats who have been renting our property through an agent for 5 years. We currently own a four bedroom property (for bedrooms including a loft extensions).

In October 2016, the previous tenants move out and the current occupants moved in. We were sent the documents with a recommendation that we sign. On the agreement were five as opposed to four tenants. The agent gave us no advice on the implications of having 5 tenants. We later discussed that having 5 tenants changed our license from a statutory to a mandatory licence (the mandatory license treated our property the same way as a 3 – 5 floor block of flats). We contacted the agent with this information, and asked them to clarify if we have the right license. They refused to reply to our emails. Three months after the initial email they replied (only after I cced an email to everyone in the organisation).

The advice we received was that we should not have informed the council (which was tantamount to them telling us to break the law). They are now refusing to allow us to cancel the terms of the lease (even though we have agreed to a cancellation with the tenants with an agreement that their rent would be reduced for four months).

The questions I have are:
1. Legally what can we do in this situation?
2. Can we take action against the agents in relation to the original lease agreement. (Surely as experts they should have provided us with advice in terms of having an extra tenant).

Many thanks

Emmanuel

Comments

Neil Patterson

4 months ago

Hi Emmanuel,

Next step in the complaints procedure is to contact the redress scheme that the agents should belong to such as The Property Ombusdman (TPO), The Property Redress Scheme or Ombudsman Services Property.

emmanuel robert

4 months ago

We are in a dilemma. My wife seems to think that if we make a complaint the agent can cancel our contract. This would mean finding a new agent an paying fees etc. Monies we do not have. We have spoken to the Ombudsman who informed us that we should have been given better advice as they were experts in the field.

The Ombudsman's average compensation is 500. Thus far we have spent triple that amount. In are in the process of attempting to remortgage to buy a property where we currently reside. The agents are refusing to break the lease even though in speaking to the tenants, they have agreed. They are either taking an awful long time to answer our emails (8 working days to justify why they have refused our request). Or sending the emails in the afternoon knowing we are 13 hours ahead.

I have often wondered if the house is mine or theirs.

dp1 Django

4 months ago

Is the Lease between you and the tenants or you and the agent?

emmanuel robert

4 months ago

The agents found the tenants for our house so I would presume it would be between the agent and tenant

dp1 Django

4 months ago

Could you ask the tenants to send a copy of what they signed? It might be that you have a contract direct with the tenants.

emmanuel robert

4 months ago

I have the agreement The second line says The agreement is made between the landlord and tenant. My concern is about their deposit. If we cancel the contract with the agent and choose to deal with the tenants directly, what will happen about their deposit? Could they claim a breach of contrat?

Neil Patterson

4 months ago

If the agents set it up then you may need to repay the deposit and re-protect it depending on the Prescribed information.

emmanuel robert

4 months ago

Phew... it may be better to wait until the 28th August and cancel the contract.

emmanuel robert

4 months ago

Good afternoon all

Thank you for your excellent advice. One last question at the beginning of the tenancy we paid 10% for a finders fee / advertising / searches etc. If we decide to cancel our contract on the 28th and go with another agent with our tenants. Would be have to pay our agents a 'get out' fee?

dp1 Django

4 months ago

I'd be inclined to cancel the contract and tell them to whistle. If they take on a solicitor, counterclaim for breach of contract overfilling your property.

I'm not a solicitor, this isn't advice just opinion.

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