Good Landlord, Bad Letting Agent

by Readers Question

4 years ago

Good Landlord, Bad Letting Agent

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Good Landlord, Bad Letting Agent

My letting agent is now 4 months late paying any rent to myself.  Good Landlord, Bad Letting Agent

The payments have never been on a regular basis, always different weeks but always paid and I thought “better the devil you know” rather than trying to find another agent and possibly paying a cancellation fee.

Now after weeks of ringing and only getting to speak to secretaries with promises of it being sorted I now need to look at further action.

Is it just a case of solicitors and small claims court or can I report them for theft?

The property is in Scotland by the way but I live in Sheffield.

Best regards

Ian Lawson



Comments

Mark Alexander

4 years ago

Hi Ian

Before I can comment further I need to understand the reasons for the late payment.

Has the tenant been paying the rent to the agent on time or not?
.

Ian Lawson

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "01/09/2014 - 14:41":

As far as i know the tenant has been paying on time as i have had no notification from the letting agents to the contrary.I have telephoned twice again today and threatened legal action if no one of authority calls me back as they seem to be always with other clients or out of the office and unable to take my calls,again no call back. I have used these agents for over 2yrs but now i have to expect they have no intention of paying my overdue rent payments (over £1600 )..........Ian Lawson

Mark Alexander

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Lawson" at "01/09/2014 - 20:26":

I suggest you contact the tenant directly and share your suspicions with them. Tell them that you are considering changing agents and may need to ask your new agents to evict them and find you new tenants if they can't prove they have paid the rent on time. Obviously be a bit more diplomatic than that though!

If they can prove they have been paying the rent on time then it's time for action - read this >>> http://www.cotswoldbarristers.co.uk/letting-agent-gone-bankrupt/

A letting agent doesn't necessarily have to go out of business for you to take up a private prosecution though, all you need is evidence they have misappropriated funds.

Either way I strongly recommend you to find a new letting agent because at best the one you are dealing with has poor customer service and at worst they are criminals.
.

Ian Lawson

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "01/09/2014 - 20:51":

Many thanks for you advise.
Best regards....Ian Lawson.

Dr Rosalind Beck

4 years ago

Would it be possible to not use any letting agent and ask the tenants to pay you direct? Does anyone know the legal implications in this?
We had a similar scenario, where we kept ringing and the letting agent kept delaying and then one day when we rang we were told the receivers were in. We never got a penny. I would act as quickly as possible on this to make sure the next payments came to me and not to the letting agent - if this is legally possible...

Neil Robb

4 years ago

Hi

I feel the letting agents has failed you if the tenant has been paying the rent. I would contact the tenant and ask him to pay you direct. even if you then have to give the letting agent his commission.

I don't understand how a agent who fails his customer can expect a get out clause payment when they have failed in the service they provide. I would put everything in writing to the agent and ask for a response. If they fail to respond I would tell them you no longer wish to use there service. This may risk the rent they have collected as they could say it became a breach of contract so I would try and be diplomatic first.
I would try and find out if any other landlord has a problem with this letting agent and not received there money. I had a situation many years ago with a letting agent for my property I owned in Kilsyth. The letting agent only paid when someone went to the office to collect the money owed. It turned out he was not only getting one lot of rent but was in fact claiming two lots of rent from the Housing benefits office. At the time he told me they had not been making any payments for the property. When I contacted housing they realised they had been paying two lots of benefits for the one address at the same time to the agent. As I contacted them to say I was receiving no payment they knew I had nothing to do with the double payment.

If the tenant can provide proof of payment you could approach the police and state they have misappropriated the funds they have been in charge of and collecting rent and failing to give it to the landlord.

Would be interesting seeing how the police react.

Ian Lawson

4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rosalind Beck" at "06/09/2014 - 13:24":

Many thanks for your comments.I have spoken to our tenant who has confirmed she has paid the rent every month and is rather upset about this,she has also contacted the agent and her concerns have been ignored.She reported tiles in the bathroom coming off a while ago and had been told by the agent they could not contact us. Luckily i contacted her just before she paid this months rent and now she is putting it in my bank account but she is worried about her bond money held by the letting agent.
I have now sent a recorded delivery letter cancelling our contract with the agents due to breach of contract and have given them seven days to pay outstanding rent. I am considering using a debt collection agency if they do not pay and would appreciate any comments on this.
Regards....Ian Lawson

Dr Rosalind Beck

4 years ago

Glad to be of service Ian. And thanks for thanking me!
Regarding the money the agents owe you, I wonder if you can do what we do with tenants and businesses who owe us money from time to time: we take them to the Small Claims Court. I believe the fees have just gone up unfortunately, so you'd have to look them up. I took a well-known TV/global/internet etc. company to the Small Claims Court recently. It cost £35 and I claimed £500 and received the £535 before it got to court, on the last date they'd been given to respond - but I'm not allowed to say who they are unfortunately.
When the court then awards you the money the letting agents owe you, if they don't pay I don't know what the next step would be. When it's individuals in employment, we get an attachment of earnings. Someone else here will undoubtedly know. You have to write to the letting agents first informing them that if they do not pay what they owe you you will take them to court. An important point is how long these agents have been around - if they're a fly-by-night operation they may skidaddle before you can get them to pay up. But you'll have a good chance of getting your money if they've been around for a long time.
Re. debt collection agencies, I don't know if they work nor what they cost.

Neil Robb

4 years ago

Hi

I would go directly to the police now you have confirmed the agent has been taking money and not passing it on. You can still go to small claims court.

The police would then hopefully investigate and prosecute. You may have to fight to get some action from the police but you might get lucky and they will do there job.

Dr Rosalind Beck

4 years ago

Mmm. My experience is that the police will do nothing ever for landlords. They'll say it's a civil matter. We called them in a couple of years ago when a tenant was smashing up the house and asked them to arrest the tenant for criminal damage, only to be told that the tenant could do what they want in their home and it was nothing to do with the police. Equally, I can't imagine they'd ever get involved in this issue. If a tenant hands you over a thousand pounds and five minutes later steals it off you in the street, they can be arrested. If they never gave it to you in the first place - which has the same result for you as a landlord - then it's not theft...
I'd look at the Small Claims guidelines as my first step - and I'm pretty sure they say you should first write to the defendant.

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