Rights against unauthorised deductions by Managing Agent from rental income?

by Readers Question

10:02 AM, 9th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Rights against unauthorised deductions by Managing Agent from rental income?

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Rights against unauthorised deductions by Managing Agent from rental income?

In January 2015 I bought two properties and contacted a letting and management agency to help in marketing the properties. They also offered a service to manage refurbishment works for a fee.unauthorised

Part of that service was to get competitive quotes etc. After they arranged an initial meet with a builder to initially spec the scope of works, I clearly communicated with the agent (email on 19th February 2015) that I would manage the refurbishments myself and would only require their services to let and manage the letting (letting agreement signed 2/2/15).

No agreement was signed regarding managing the refurbishment work and indeed no service was provided by them. In my email of 19/2/15 I offered to discuss an introduction fee however they did not follow up on this.

My properties have been let with this agent since last summer and today I received an email (nearly 13 months on) from the company stating that they were proposing to deduct a “fee” from my next rental statement for “consultancy/introduction services”.

Today’s email did not even state what “fee” they were proposing to deduct. Please can someone advise what rights I have to stop them taking what I consider to be an “unauthorised” deduction off my next month’s rental income and where I should go for advice should they decide to take this matter further?

Many thanks

Sheree



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:05 AM, 9th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Shree,

My first move would be to make an official complaint to the agents in writing. If the response is not acceptable to you I would then take it to the Agent's Redress Scheme that they belong to. It may be the TPO, but do check.

Gary Nock

10:11 AM, 9th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Sheree depends on the terms and conditions you may have signed upon the commencement of the let. If it says you pay an introduction fee then you may be stuck with it. As to what that is depends on their scale of charges which under new consumer law should be clearly displayed on websites and in the letting agents premises. If you didn't sign one then they are struggling. Even if you did then if the agent is a member if a redress scheme ( which by law they must be) then you can raise a complaint with the agent first and if they fail to resolve it you then go to the redress scheme. This could be ARLA or The Property Redress Scheme or another one.

Romain Garcin

10:12 AM, 9th March 2016
About 3 years ago

You can also write to your tenant to instruct them to pay the rent directly to you from now on.

That way you are in charge and you decide what your agent receives, not the other way round.

Gary Nock

10:12 AM, 9th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Neil I really must type faster to get my answer in before you ☺

Ian Ringrose

13:01 PM, 9th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain Garcin" at "09/03/2016 - 10:12":

Romain,

What stops me writing to someone that is not my tenant to instruct them to pay the rent directly to me? Therefore would a tenant take notice of such a letter......

Romain Garcin

13:38 PM, 9th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "09/03/2016 - 13:01":

Nothing prevents you from doing it.

However, a tenant should know who their landlord is, and in any case can verify and confirm the instruction.

If they are confused (e.g. agent refuses to disclose landlord's identity) they can also withhold payments until the situation is clarified.

Dave Baker

14:09 PM, 9th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Slightly of piste but I'm frequently pleased that my daughter looks after my properties and hence never a problem that cannot be resolved.
The feedback I hear about agents is usually negative.

Kate Mellor

12:00 PM, 10th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Surely your first step would be to pick up the phone, or email the agent asking for a full explanation of the fee. How much it is, what it is for and if you aren't happy with their response then ask them to point you to where this fee is set out in their terms, or their specific agreement with you before you do anything else.

Reread the letting agreement you signed very carefully.

You must first gather all the available information before you decide what action is necessary.


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