Poor letting agency but no signed contract

by Readers Question

11:38 AM, 21st October 2014
About 4 years ago

Poor letting agency but no signed contract

Make Text Bigger
Poor letting agency but no signed contract

Within the last month I became a landlord for the first time. I’ve had little or no communication from the letting agency since a verbal agreement to put the property with them and had to chase them for the move in date for the tenants. Their communication is terrible and has resulted in crossed words already because the property wasn’t left as they or the tenant wanted, but I had no guidance from them around this at all. Poor letting agency but no signed contract

Anyway, I have just received a statement which details a whole load of fees which I knew nothing about; ‘registration fee’ and a few others.

My question is this; can I ditch the letting agency and keep the tenant?

I don’t have a contract with them because they sent it to me after the tenant moved in and I haven’t signed it yet.

Many thanks

Kylie



Comments

Mark Alexander

11:40 AM, 21st October 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Kylie

I have invited Mark Smith from Cotswold Barristers to comment on this matter.
.

Steve From Leicester

14:47 PM, 21st October 2014
About 4 years ago

I'll be interested to hear Mark Smith's view.

I'm an agent and my view is that if the tenant has moved in then you've created what's known as an "implied contract".

You presumably handed over the keys to the agent, you allowed them to market the property, you allowed the tenant to move in and you've presumably accepted rent. By doing so the agent is entitled to charge you for the work he's done and, unless you've got something written down to the contrary he's entitled to be paid as per his standard terms and conditions, irrespective of whether you signed them or not.

The onus is on you to find out what the terms of business are before handing over your keys.

And why would you think it was reasonable to keep the tenant but ditch the agent? The phrase "having cake and eating it" comes to mind.

One of my pet dislikes is the small minority of landlords who are happy to have us work on their behalf when their property is empty and they need an income from it . . . but don't want to pay us once we've done the work.

Mark Smith (Barrister-At-Law)

14:58 PM, 21st October 2014
About 4 years ago

I agree in part. You will have to pay a reasonable fee for work done under the implied contract, but special conditions, cancellation fees etc are not payable. The standard terms are not enforceable without written or implied agreement to them.

I would imagine Steve does not lift a finger until his clients are safely signed up. The only way to be.

Mark Alexander

15:24 PM, 21st October 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve From Leicester" at "21/10/2014 - 14:47":

To an extent I agree with you Steve.

However, we've all come across agents who don't act professionally and who prey on naivety and claim naivety as a defence for extortionate charging.

Failing to obtain a contract for work and then to levy extortionate charges and provide a shoddy service should not be acceptable in my opinion.

I suspect a Court would side against the agent if it was to get that far.
.

Steve From Leicester

17:19 PM, 21st October 2014
About 4 years ago

The legal position as outlined by Mark Smith is what I expected.

Mark A is coming at it from a different angle to me. I agree that an agent who takes advantage of a novice landlord's naivety, deliberately fails to explain his charges properly, and raises unreasonable fees in return for poor service is wholly unacceptable.

I'm talking about situations where a landlord knows - or should reasonably be expected to have known - the fees and the terms of business, who doesn't ask questions, then wants to have the benefit of the work an agent has done (by keeping the tenant), but doesn't want to pay for it.

Kylie may well have had poor service from the agent, and she may have a case for negotiating a settlement with the agent but I stand by my view that she can't, in her words simply "ditch the agent but keep the tenant".

Mark Alexander

17:40 PM, 21st October 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve From Leicester" at "21/10/2014 - 17:19":

Then we are in agreement 😀
.


Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Nottingham Council - Why do you refuse to work with Good Landlords?

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More