Disagree with letting agent penalty?

by Readers Question

10:33 AM, 12th February 2019
About 2 months ago

Disagree with letting agent penalty?

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Disagree with letting agent penalty?

I used a letting agent who had 1 years fees up front for finding a tenant. Upon the request from the tenant and myself, we both now want to use a different agent who also looks after my other properties. So far so good. The original agent now wants to charge me a fee of £450 as compensation for fees he won’t collect this year because the tenant isn’t leaving the property, we are just changing over the management.

I think this is unfair – I’ve been charged 10% upfront for a whole year and he’s done nothing for it except find a tenant. As I am local to the property, any little problems have been dealt with direct between myself and the tenant and we’ve not involved the letting agent, as I am sure they would have charged me extra.

Now they don’t want to transfer the deposit to my new agent, who has already collected this months rent etc. as per the new tenancy agreement which started last month.

According to my agent this does sometime happen. Landlords should be able to renew tenancy contracts when they are due for renewal with a new agent without the tenant having to leave the property and without the landlord having to pay a penalty.

Has this happened to anyone else? I was happy to use the original agent, but they are not in the local area and it suits me better to have all my properties with just the one agent.

Melinda



Comments

Chris Byways

15:01 PM, 12th February 2019
About 2 months ago

https://www.property118.com/disagree-letting-agent-penalty/

Yes it has happened again.

Had an agent manage a property for 4 years, left due to poor service and several poor tenants. Used another agent who was unprofessional, so moved back to first agent when tenant left. Not pointed out that fees were now payable open-ended so long as same tenant remained. This IS in contract, but not pointed out. Obviously not in previous contract, or not enforced.

They found a tenant, a very good one, who comes to me direct with any problem “because the agent never gets anything done”. However the agent charged for finding the tenant and they have had 5 years of 8% +vat for doing very little. (SPT)

They now suggest the rent is increased for the first time in 7 years, by just 2.2%. And their fees are going up 25% from 8% to 10%. This is a double gain as they will get more due to any rent increase. Despite several issues of poor service (which I have not yet complained about), they have NOT done all of the twice annual inspections specified. So a breach of contract in it’s own right.

Notwithstanding that breach, surely The Foxtons Judgment confirms paying 5% evermore is unfair? We don’t want to (won't) evict the excellent tenant, it’s their home.

This is still in agent’s current terms (Feb 2019) on their web site.
“Cancellation of contract during a tenancy term: if you decide to terminate our Management Service during an existing tenancy, for the duration of the tenancy our charges will continue to be payable at 5% + vat of the monthly rent payable.”

The agent also wants £150 when they do the inventory checkout to release the deposit. Should I return the deposit, or is that problematic having built up trust with the family?

Chris Daniel

11:52 AM, 13th February 2019
About 2 months ago

The 'masters' at this ploy are an agent with the name beginning with 'F' akin to a sly vermin creature that stalks our residential neighbourhood ( similar to the agent )
The Consumer Marketing Authority have said in their Guidance for Letting Professionals ( CMA37 and CMA31 ) that One months notice and charges are a fair term and anything in excess, isn't.
With complaints against Agents, - ask for and follow their formal complaints process, then, complain to the Property Redress scheme. If their not members, Trading Standards will prosecute them.

Rob Crawford

12:55 PM, 13th February 2019
About 2 months ago

Hi Melinda, you should have agreed a Terms of Business that describes the service offered and all costs. What does that say about changing agents during a tenancy term?

Peter Rawl

11:13 AM, 18th February 2019
About 2 months ago

As you know the tenant and have now built a relationship could you terminate the tenancy and then 2 days later start a new 6mth tenancy (protecting the deposit etc). Do this just as a paper exercise without requiring the tenant to move out. You would need to check the small print but this may break the chain!


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