Minimum agents term in their policies but not my contract?

by Readers Question

11:02 AM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Minimum agents term in their policies but not my contract?

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Minimum agents term in their policies but not my contract?

I have been renting out my house for 20 months and am on my second set of tenants. I have been happy with the estate agents who deal with sourcing and checking tenants and collecting rent as I manage the property myself.min term

Two of the four tenants are moving out and the remaining two have sourced new tenants they would like to share with.

I would like to take over rent collection so I really only need credit checks and referencing which I could source separately, but on discussion with the agent they say I am in a 3 year contract with them from the date of the second set of tenants moving in ie January 2016.

I asked for a copy of the contract dated May 2015 which does not state anything about 3 years. When I questioned this they say they have updated their policies to include this but my contract gives me no options for release

Could anyone advise me about the legality of this contract and also whether I am automatically upgraded to their new contract although I have not signed anything since the original contract?

Many thanks

Gill



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:06 AM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Gill,

Normally the minimum contract terms are clearly stated in the contract you signed.

If not I think it would need to clearly refer to a separate document and have signed confirmation that you have read the said document in order to hold you to a alternate term or clause.

I am not however a Lawyer and have not seen your contract so please do be careful of acting upon any advice.

Rob Crawford

13:00 PM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

There should be at least a reference to the policy document in your contract with the agent. Otherwise they don't have any grounds to dictate the term stated. The are likely to be non compliant with ARLA/NALS/UKALA/RICS (as applicable) code of practice. You can't possibly know what their policies state unless informed prior to contract agreement. If you are happy with their service to date I would write a letter addressed to the principle referring to this and remind them that if they persist that they could face court action and loose a good landlord altogether plus bad PR etc. I am sure they will back down very quickly!

Graham Bowcock

15:55 PM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Gill

Any reputable agent should agree terms of business at the outset of any letting, management work which will include any notice period. They cannot unilaterally make changes to that agreement. Hopefully you will have a copy of what you actually signed up to and can see the notice period.

Three years is quite a long lock in; these things have to be fair. It's okay to have a long lock in if you are, for example, getting the first six months free (which it doesn't sound like you are) or some other obvious benefit but if you're paying the usual rate what is the lock in for?

In our firm we don't argue with a client who wants to leave. As long as we're not massively out of pocket it's not usually worth the hassle! Often they just want to save some money, like you probably do, rather than having some gripe on service. They often then come back when they have a problem that they can't handle.

I suggest you find out what you actually agreed then have a polite conversation with your agent about you leaving.

Good luck

graham

H B

20:55 PM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Based upon what you said, the agent does not have a leg to stand on.


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