How should we go about a change of letting agent?

by Readers Question

8:21 AM, 17th July 2019
About 3 months ago

How should we go about a change of letting agent?

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How should we go about a change of letting agent?

Recently we have had quite a few incidents with various agents performing disappointingly.

Such as delaying a few months in paying rents, changing tenants without prior notice to us landlords.

I’m wondering what rights we have as landlords to fire our agents?

Can we do it midway in a tenancy agreement?

How should we go about doing it?

Cindy

Editors Notes:

>> https://www.gov.uk/redress-scheme-estate-agencies

Registering with a redress scheme as a property agent

You must join a redress scheme if you’re:

  • an estate agent dealing with residential properties in the UK
  • a letting agent or property manager in England or Wales

If a customer has a complaint about your service that you cannot resolve between yourselves, they can complain to the scheme.

The approved redress schemes are:

You may be fined up to £5,000 and have your licence revoked if you do not join a redress scheme.



Comments

Neil Patterson

8:27 AM, 17th July 2019
About 3 months ago

Hi Cindy,

Your experience does not sound like the normal actions of a reputable lettings agency.

You need to check the terms and conditions of the contract you signed with this agency as they may have clauses tying you in with penalties. However, this may be negated by a complaint to the redress scheme they must belong too. See .Gov notes above.

Please also check they have Client Money Protection insurance.

Mark Alexander

8:32 AM, 17th July 2019
About 3 months ago

In the first instance you should follow the complaints procedure of your agent and their Ombudsman. There are likely to be penalties for switching agents unless the Ombudsman upholds your complaints and rules that penalties should not be applied.

Also see https://www.property118.com/letting/

Mark Alexander

8:55 AM, 17th July 2019
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 17/07/2019 - 08:32
Further note, if your agents are not Members of an Ombudsman I suggest that it should be safe to switch immediately. If they try to sue you for breach of contract your defense is a good one, i.e. they are not members of a redress scheme, which is illegal and subject to a fine of £5,000, hence you have switched to a compliant agent. They would be shooting themselves in the foot by trying to enforce their contract, which would probably be regarded as null and void anyway if they do not subscribe to a redress scheme. Your other reasons for switching would be secondary to that and probably of no interest to a Judge.

Tim Rogers

13:46 PM, 18th July 2019
About 3 months ago

I'm fortunate in as much as my letting agent came highly recommended from 3 sources, gives excellent service, is compliant in all matters and there is no signed contract between us.

However, Marks knowledgeable second comment prompts me to wondered if there might be some kind of 'idiots guide' to the questions to ask and the things to establish whilst selecting an agent?

Mark Alexander

13:54 PM, 18th July 2019
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Tim Rogers at 18/07/2019 - 13:46
There is indeed, it's called the Prperty118 Lettings & Management web-page - see https://www.property118.com/letting/

Stewart W Campbell

10:48 AM, 20th July 2019
About 3 months ago

I recently won a case against my Agent via the Property Ombudsman.

My agent had a clause in our contract which said I could only fire them when the tenants had left and were not returning for over a year.

I contended that was an UNFAIR contract clause and offered to pay a termination fee of 3 months. The agent disagreed and relied on his contract.

The Ombudsman agreed with me and awarded me a small compensation and an acceptable termination fee.

Mark Lynham

9:20 AM, 23rd July 2019
About 3 months ago

Sounds to me like you're struggling with numerous letting agents which is a bit odd... im assuming you've tried resolving matters with them?..

Stewart W Campbell

9:35 AM, 23rd July 2019
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Lynham at 23/07/2019 - 09:20
NO, I only had the one AGENT, for over 10 years.
It was working OK until they tried to raise the Fees Percentage via a news letter, They reverted when I complained. Then they started failing in their Mgt role, Maintenance items were delayed, Safety issues went months without resolution, they lied multiple times to my tenant saying they were waiting for me to authorise a repair, when they had not even tried to contact me. I gave them notice, they replied on their clause which was found to be an UNFAIR clause by the Ombudsman.


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