Nasty Estate Agent Fees and Terms and Conditions

by Readers Question

16:30 PM, 14th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Nasty Estate Agent Fees and Terms and Conditions

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Nasty Estate Agent Fees and Terms and Conditions

I have asked an estate agent to help me to find tenant for a flat in London. Initially I was looking to pay for full management as we are not from London, so negotiated rate 8% inc VAT with no additional charges (ie. finders fees, inventory etc) which I understood would be deducted from the rent every month. From the beginning I have to chase for everything (credit check, inventory, rate negotiation and contract with tenants). Once the tenants moved in I did not receive any money / invoice and for first 2 weeks they dodged my calls and said finance department looking into it and will pay you ASAP with out any further delays and this will not happen next month.

The estate agent sent me Business T&C’s two weeks after the tenants moved in. I have since read these and asked them to amend few things. At that point I was not comfortable to sign the contract and commit myself to an agent who is not paying rent on time. This would put me in very difficult situation in terms of mortgage commitments, maintenance charges and insurance etc. I have explained my decision to the agent and explained my concerns. He got very angry and started saying if you want your money you need sign for the full management service with us.

At that point I demanded to speak to his director to complain about the rent situation and the agents behaviour. The Director took the call started saying….

This is a recorded call anything you say will be held against you in Court. I am a lawyer, I work in Court and I am not new to the system. We have sent you Business T&C’s by post and email (they did not have corresponding address to post I had to give them 3 weeks after tenants moved in), you have accepted T&C’s since you have not responded within 3days upon receiving them. If you want we can remove the tenants for you but it will cost for that service. If you want to receive your rent sign our Business T&C’s for full management service”

During the conversation I tried to object to some of above statements but he got very angry started yelling, threatening and started saying he will see me in court.

I am bit confused, is there any clause in estate agents codes of conduct where it says after receiving T&C’s you have to sign them within 3 days otherwise have accepted all the T&C’s”?

If an agent finds a tenant and you sign the contract with tenant for 3ys does this means I have accepted all their T&C’s and charges? I was not given these before the tenants moved, neither were they explained to me. Most of these charges I cannot afford, that is why made a deal over the phone 8% inc VAT no additional charges. Nasty Estate Agent Fees and Terms and Conditions

The estate agent is refusing to give me keys or transfer the deposit to my DPS account. Clearly I don’t want to do business with them. Where do I stand legally on all these points? I have proof (emails and texts) for some of it, but discussed commission over the phone and in person.

The Estate Agent has now sent me a invoice for find tenant service £3,888 + full management fees for 4month £575.94. I don’t understand these charges because the tenant can give months notice and move out, meanwhile I am being asked to pay the estate agent for a tenant based on a 3yr contract.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks

Anitha



Comments

Mark Alexander

16:34 PM, 14th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Anitha

From what you have said it appears you are dealing with a nasty con artist, I suggest you get legal representation ASAP because it will minimise your losses in the long run. Have a chat with Paul Shamplina at Landlord Action, he's the man for this job. Google him.

Also have a look at http://www.allagents.co.uk/ to see whether there are any other reviews and post one of your own.

Good luck and please keep me up to date with what happens next.
.

Londoner 43

13:16 PM, 17th May 2015
About 4 years ago

No reputable London letting agent would agree to find tenants and manage the property for 8% plus VAT. The usual fees are 9-11% plus VAT for just finding tenants. Did you not check with several agents before you decided on this one? As Mark said, this is clearly a con artist and you should take legal representation in order to minimise your losses.

Nick Pope

23:37 PM, 17th May 2015
About 4 years ago

It would be interesting to check upon the director to see if he really is a lawyer. It is criminal offence to claim to be a solicitor http://www.sra.org.uk/bogus-solicitors/

Anitha Pathipati

11:23 AM, 18th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Thank you Londoner 43 and Nick for your suggestions.

They have 3 different branches arround Mill hill area so I assumed decent enough company to deal with and they would look after my flat.

I was looking for estate agent who can find tenant, collect rent and take calls from tenant for repairs etc. it is new flat so first 2yrs covered by builders for repairs etc. agent said he would do all that if we go for full management service with no additional charges so assumed everything included in 8% inc vat personally and via email.

I have looked in "code of practice for estate agents", they have broken quite a few rules according to them. With my little knowledge I think they have broken rules under section 5l, 5m, 13f, 17b, 18, and 22a.

I have8 informed lawyers now. Hopefully they will be able to resolve it.

Will post the out come.

Many thanks
Anitha


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