Letting agent closed their office?

Letting agent closed their office?

10:18 AM, 24th January 2022, About 4 months ago 3

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Hi – my letting and managing agent closed their local office and made the staff redundant, without informing me, or other landlords and tenants.

They tried to keep it secret, by re-routing phone calls and emails and saying the local manager was away, but after much digging and delving, I managed to find out that they’d been attempting to sell that office, but it fell through at the last minute, and they’d therefore decided to run it from another one, over 100 miles away!

It goes without saying that didn’t work very well and led to lots of problems and loss of income for me – properties remaining empty and not advertised or re-let, other properties not being properly managed and works neglected etc.

A couple of months later, they did manage to secure a sale, but the new agent was not given assorted important pieces of information – some tenancy agreements were missing as well as assorted inventories, photos, check-in / out reports, contact numbers for tenants, their referencing details, rent payment dates, copies of Gas Safety Certs, EPC’s and Electrical Condition Reports, missing records of inspection visits and details of repairs and maintenance, as well as keys that were jumbled up, un-labelled, or missing which all led to further problems and delays.

6 months later, the new agent has finally nearly managed to get the empty flats re-let, but it’s left me with missing rent, as well as other expenses, such as council tax and utility bills during the void periods.

I haven’t yet done all the calculations, but my guestimate is that I will be 8 – 10k out of pocket, as a result… plus all the stress and hassle?

My question is, can I take them to the small claims court?

And is it worth the extra hassle??

Thanks.

Ricky



Comments

by Graham Bowcock

11:00 AM, 24th January 2022, About 4 months ago

Hi Ricky

The first thing to do is look at your contract with the original agent and see what they are obliged to do. If they have failed under their agreement then you may have a case for losses.

As for the business sale, again you need to look at your contract. If you signed up with a limited company and that company has been sold, then nothing has changed. If the original company (or partnership) has simply sold the clients then the agreement you have with them needs to have this covered (perhaps an assignment clause). If not, then you have no contract with the new firm. Pursuing them may prove difficult as you can't prove what they were supposed to do for you.

In terms of mitigation, your post begs the question as to why you waited so long whilst things were going astray. Notwithstanding that, the original agent appears to have behaved very poorly.

by David Judd

11:17 AM, 24th January 2022, About 4 months ago

Always, always get copies of all documentation, even if you use an Agent to fully manage your properties. Look at your agreements with the Agent, the directors should still be liable in case the company goes bust, but thats not always the case. In terms of litigation, depends, if the company has no assets and the Directors don't either, youre not going to get any money back, and taking them to court may not secure payment, but you will incur huge legal fees - weigh up the pros and cons

by Judith Wordsworth

11:49 AM, 24th January 2022, About 4 months ago

Claim the council tax and utilities as allowable rental expenses against tax.
If rent is missing then is not declared as income until you have received it or had it refunded by the letting agent.
One of the pitfalls of using management services as opposed to just a letting fee


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