Leaving agent that is a late payer

by Readers Question

9:09 AM, 16th September 2018
About 2 days ago

Leaving agent that is a late payer

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Leaving agent that is a late payer

I have a property which I have leased through the same agent for the last 3 years. I have never felt like that I have received a great service, although paying a premium rate (12% plus VAT). The last few months the payments from the have been late, only by a few days, but it states on their terms and conditions that payment will be made on the last day of the month.

There has been various excuses for the late payments
i) The tenant made a card payment and this takes 14 days to clear. (Does it??)
ii) A new IT system has been installed.

Anyway, alarm bells were ringing for me and so decided to not have any further dealings with them once the tenants current short tenancy agreement came to an end. I informed them of my decision a month before the tenancy was due to end.

The last rental payment has still not been paid and the agent is asking me to pay 3 months rental income (plus VAT) as I am keeping the tenant as their terms of conditions. This is noted in the terms and conditions, I had not noticed it prior to this, but feel not only is this charge exceptionally high, it shouldn’t be valid as they have not stuck to their own terms of business.

I have spoken to another letting agent who has told me 3 months management fees would be the normal charge for this, which I would be happy to pay, but can I really be asked to pay the equivalent of 28 months management fees?

What is my best option to go forward with this? I have a young family and being threatened of being taken to court is a big worry for me.

Any advice would be appreciated, thank you.

Duncan



Comments

Mark Alexander

9:31 AM, 16th September 2018
About 2 days ago

Ask for details of their Ombudsman scheme and file a complaint.

Also contact your tenant and have a discussion with them about what is going on.

Rob Crawford

9:36 AM, 16th September 2018
About 2 days ago

If in the terms of business, I am not sure you have a case. I would consult with a solicitor and establish if you have a valid complaint. If so a letter from the solicitor will normally sort the problem out. Alternatively you could consult through the agents complaints process and then with the agents ombudsman. I am not sure that a couple of late payments out of a total 36 payments justifies this. Were there other issues? Remember that unless already transfered, they also still hold the deposit. I think you may have been a bit hasty in changing agents.

Mark Alexander

9:39 AM, 16th September 2018
About 2 days ago

Further thought, did your agent ever mention Rent Guarantee Insurance to you?

Also, do you know for certain that your tenant didn't pay?

silversurfer2017

11:24 AM, 17th September 2018
About A day ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 16/09/2018 - 09:36
Many years ago I owned 2 properties in Manchester. These were rented out via an agent called Homes Direct. They went bust in 2004 with £6 million in debts, mostly to landlords. Rent collection payments did start off on time but then got later and later until they stopped. I had to take HD to court to get the money owing to me but unfortunately was not able to recover all my legal costs. This agent is perhaps paying other landlords late as well? I would definitely change agents or even consider not using an agent at all and in future just use an online tenant find and reference service.

Rob Crawford

11:50 AM, 17th September 2018
About A day ago

Reply to the comment left by at 17/09/2018 - 11:24...."late by only a few days".... I am not sure this warrants a change in agent. An investigation and raised concern maybe! Duncan: more info required!

MasterG

12:24 PM, 17th September 2018
About A day ago

Lesson learnt in going through the terms in fine detail before agreeing to anything. My letting agent initially wanted the same condition in the contract re 3 months rental payment if i terminated the contract. I told them i was happy to pay them to do things for me but i wasn't going to pay them 'not' to do things. They had the choice of getting their monthly commission for the length of the contract or getting nothing. They chose the former. They also don't get to charge me fees for finding new tenants. If i don't have tenants in they don't get paid either. We also agreed 10% commission rather than the 12.5% they initially wanted. These things are always open to negotiation. .


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