Evicting tenants just to break a contract with a letting agentMake Text Bigger
I was talking to Tony Sheldon at LettingSupermarket.com this morning about the increasing number of landlords who are being forced into evicting perfect tenants as the only way to get out of a contract they have with their letting agents.
Tony explained that he has conversations with landlords on a daily basis who are so frustrated with the service and the charges by their agents that they are seriously contemplating this action. In many cases, the alternative is to pay thousands of pounds in compensation to the existing letting agent for early termination, particularly in London.
It is a sad fact of life that so many people get taken in by the pretty ladies in branded mini’s or the swanky offices and posh coffee that these letting agencies use to schmooze unsuspecting landlords into giving them their properties to manage. Why don’t they read their contracts? Well I may never be able to answer that question but clearly they don’t?
Given that so many people are frightened by the prospects of litigation these contracts are rarely challenged, even when there are serious breaches of contract on the agents part.
What would you do if you were in this situation?
Would you ……
- continue to pay the exorbitant charges of a sub-standard agent?
- roll over and pay the early termination fees just to get away from them?
- mount a legal challenge to break your contract penalty free based on unfair contract terms and/or negligence or breach of contract on the agents part?
- learn from the experience, take the easy option, serve notice on your perfect tenant and start a fresh with another agent whose contract you would read with great care?
Whichever option you choose, if you are anything like me, it will give you sleepless nights.
Personally I’d go for the legal option wherever possible. That’s easy for me to say though as I have more experience than most (other than lawyers of course) in terms of dealing with litigation. It would be remiss of me not to point out that you could bypass solicitors and seek the initial opinion on a case from a barrister if you were to purchase a Litigation Warranty membership for just £300 a year though – click here for more details.
I suppose the reason Tony comes across this more than most is due to the prices that LettingSupermarket.com charge for the service they provide. For £34.99 +VAT per month per property (no up front fees unless you are in London or have a particularly large property) they can deal with absolutely everything for you, including viewings, floor plans, advertising, referencing, rent guarantee insurance, professional inventories, rent collection, etc. etc. etc.
I will leave you with these final questions. Should there be a cap on the maximum compensation that a landlord should be expected to pay for early termination of a contract with a letting agent? If so, how much do you think that cap should be and do you think the maximum compensation should reduced over a period of time, e.g. one twelfth per month?
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