Letting agents behaviour!

by Readers Question

16:05 PM, 29th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Letting agents behaviour!

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Letting agents behaviour!

I am currently letting a 3 bed property to 2 reliable tenants. I wanted to cancel my contract with the letting agent as I recently relocated back to UK after being away for 12 years. They tell me due to the tenants having been found from their agency, I cannot cancel the contract until after 4 years if the same tenants remain. There is no mention of this 4 year arrangement on the contract I have with them.  Letting agents behaviour!

They are asking for a fee of over £1,000 to remain on a ‘let only’ contract where basically they do nothing. They have not been good agents and although I may have to submit to this fee the tenants have now asked if a 3rd person can move into the property.

Am I obliged to inform the agent or can I allow the 3rd tenant to move in and charge extra rent that would be paid directly to me? The tenant is the girlfriend of the existing tenant so I feel confident there would be minimum risk.

Thank you and appreciate your advice.

Regards

Jacqueline



Comments

Mark Alexander

16:09 PM, 29th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Jacqueline

The agent can only charge this fee if the contract provides CLEARLY for doing so.

The case law on this is OFT vs Foxtons - Google it or search this website for more info (the search bar is top right of every page here).

I suggest you get yourself some professional advice - FREE initially. See >>> http://www.property118.com/member/?id=1945
.

Rob Crawford

12:00 PM, 30th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Even if these terms were in the contract between yourself and the agent I would suggest that they would be considered as unfair. Also the agent was employed by you (at some cost I suspect) to find the tenants for you! As such they have no rightful claim to them. Arranging for the tenants to pay rent direct to you under your own tenancy agreement would not be an issue, however, getting the deposit back from them maybe more difficult. You may wish to seek legal help with that. I would start by detailing your intentions in a polite letter and see what response you get (you need evidence!). In your favour is the new legal requirement for them to be members of a redress scheme (as of 1st Oct). Depending on the response you get I would request a copy of their complaints (redress) process as this will indicate to them that you are serious.

Jacqueline Davies

12:11 PM, 30th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rob Crawford" at "30/09/2014 - 12:00":

Dear Rob,

Thank you so much. VVV helpful and I shall pursue as suggested. Appreciate very much. I'm going to be venturing into the BTL market a little further down the line (as I am currently starting BTS) and this kind of thing really puts people off using letting agents. Even those with a name and so called reputation.

Thanks again for your time.
Jac

Jacqueline Davies

12:12 PM, 30th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "29/09/2014 - 16:09":

Thank you Mark. This is exactly as I suspected. Having the case law is an added bonus. Much appreciated.
Jac

Michael Barnes

17:39 PM, 1st October 2014
About 4 years ago

Be careful of letting additional tenant in: it may make it into a HMO.

Puzzler

8:38 AM, 5th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes" at "01/10/2014 - 17:39":

Michael, it will be an HMO but not a "large HMO" so should not create a problem for the landlord or need to be registered

Jacqueline Davies

12:03 PM, 5th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Puzzler " at "05/10/2014 - 08:38":

Thanks for clarification here Puzzler!

Michael Barnes

22:42 PM, 5th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Puzzler " at "05/10/2014 - 08:38":

I was under the impression that HMOs placed additional requirements on Landlords, such as fire safety and room sizes, even if small HMO.

Rob Crawford

23:55 PM, 5th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes" at "05/10/2014 - 22:42":

Hi Michael, a small HMO with two floors (ground and 1st) that does not need to be licensed will not require much more than the average property let to a family. The requirements for a small licensed HMO will have additional requirements and a larger HMO more still. Local Authorities (LA) will differ so its always worth talking to your local PRH team to establish what exactly is required. The LA will define the minimum requirements, its up to the Landlord to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment to establish what should and should not be required. LACORs is a good source of info.

Rob Crawford

23:56 PM, 5th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes" at "05/10/2014 - 22:42":

Hi Michael, a small HMO with two floors (ground and 1st) that does not need to be licensed will not require much more than the average property let to a family. The requirements for a small licensed HMO will have additional requirements and a larger HMO more still. Local Authorities (LA) will differ so its always worth talking to your local PRH team to establish what exactly is required. The LA will define the minimum requirements, its up to the Landlord to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment to establish what should and should not be required. LACORs is a good source of info.

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