Severance fees with Haart, Norwich

Severance fees with Haart, Norwich

9:37 AM, 26th September 2014, About 9 years ago 17

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We are new to this forum but were recommended by a work colleague following our difficulties with Haart’s full management service. Severence fees with Haart, Norwich

Not to go into the whole long and laborious story but we have been using the full management service for the past year and are now coming to the end of the contract. The tenants are wanting to stay in the property, however Haart are increasingly proving ineffective and pretty much useless, so we want to continue the rental with ourselves managing the property.

We have been told we have to pay severance fees, despite our understanding that we are not severing a contract as it is due to expire anyway. In negotiation talks, we were initially quoted a severance fee of 7% of the rent for a period of a year that would be deducted from the last month’s rent.

My husband and I were speechless at this and are trying to negotiate but not getting much communication back from them.

Has anyone had similar experiences or have any advice?

We have made a formal complaint and have simply now told them we will be speaking to the tenants, issuing our own contract and advising them to pay us directly when the contract ends.

Many thanks


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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

9:50 AM, 26th September 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi Rachel

It's not often that I run "name and shame" articles but I'm going to make an exception on this occasion because I've heard this story all too often. I am also a Norwich based landlord.

In the eyes of the law Haart are doing absolutely nothing wrong and the fee is due if your tenant remains. Fight it as hard as you like but you will lose because it is clearly in their contract with you.

It's a hard lesson to learn but the Courts will tell you that you should have read the contract more carefully before you entered into it. I know that's not what you wanted to hear but that is the reality of the situation I'm afraid. Your only real hope of reducing a claim from them for severence of contract would be a realistic counter-claim for damages caused by their negligence. If you have what appears to be a valid case they may settle with you out of Court to avoid bad publicity.

We have a related discussion thread on Property118 which has been read by over 25,000 landlords and over 60 comments have been posted. Please see >>>

Unless you are experienced landlords, members of a landlords association and have completed a landlords accreditation training day I really don't recommend you to self manage. The law is becoming increasing full of holes to trip and injure landlords. The letting agents I recommend work on a monthly rolling contract after 12 months, you can exit when you like after that without penalty. Before you decide yo self-manage, please take a look at this >>>

Ian Cognito

11:34 AM, 26th September 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "26/09/2014 - 09:50":

Hmmmm. Are you suggesting, Mark, that no one should start self-managing? Or are you suggesting that no one should start self-managing without becoming a member of a landlord's association and completing an accreditation training day?

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

13:22 PM, 26th September 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Cognito" at "26/09/2014 - 11:34":

Both to an extent, obviously there will always be a few exceptions but most new landlords I talk to get their fingers burned unless they are very lucky.

Outsourcing management is also fraught with danger though because there are so many bad agents. Basic knowledge is vital whether an agent is to be employed or not, otherwise you're shark bait.

BTW, I started with an agent, then did it myself, then employed a person, then invested into a letting agency. My properties are managed but I continue to keep a close eye of things.

Rachel Starling

22:35 PM, 26th September 2014, About 9 years ago

Thanks so much for the advice Mark - much appreciated and most definitely food for thought.

Adrian Bond

11:33 AM, 27th September 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi Rachael,

I'm sorry to hear of your predicament. I interviewed haart in Norwich as a potential lettings agent (my first property recently let) but decided not to use them as they seem very estate agent focused. I also spoke with mark Alexander (see above) regarding Norwich letting agencies and how to do it yourself. As it is my first place and I'm very new to this world I decided to use a lettings agent in Norwich called topcitylettings which so far have proved to be 100% better in all respects and get the rent level expected for the property (heart et al averaged estimates at approx 15% less than I achieved when marketed for 12 hours!)

I'm expecting to self manage in the future once I have a couple more properties as and when required but so far I'm very pleased with them. I used the tennant finding service only as its cheaper and I know enough at the mo I think to manage it effectively.

As mark had mentioned, I have recently attended a landlords accreditation training day which helped to cement some of my book learnt knowledge as well as forum based learning. I joined the NLA for this purpose and are planning to join the ELA in due course (it's also Norwich based). So mark you might get even more annoyed with me face to face 😉

I guess the predicament you're in will be very painful short term, but by spreading the word on bad practice by these people we can share know she and make more informed decisions in the future. It's very difficult to find accurate reviews on letting agents I've found. Word of mouth is best as always!

I'm only just starting out but learning so much each day but its very exciting and Norwich is a lovely city with everything going for it. Thank you mark for setting up this website; its a light in the storm of "buy my course" noise!

Keep positive Rachel, things will get better!


Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:43 AM, 27th September 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Adrian Bond" at "27/09/2014 - 11:33":

When I purchased a flat on Ashman Bank about 10 years ago I let it via Top City Lettings. They've done such a good job that this is the only property I've left with a Norwich office based agency. I'm loyal in that way. The staff are great but, as with any agency, you have to keep an eye of their charges. For example, if you don't discuss your strategy they will impose theirs and charge you for it accordingly. Renewal of contracts is is my biggest bug bear as they are often unnecessary and create risk as opposed to reducing it. I also have my say with regards to conditions by which I will accept tenants (e.g. guarantor required) but I am the one making these demands, they don't suggest them to me. To give them their due, they do listen to and implement my requests.

Adrian Jones

11:54 AM, 27th September 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "26/09/2014 - 09:50":

Hi Mark,

Would you recommend involving ARLA in this type of case?. I just wondered whether they have any teeth

Have a good weekend.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

12:01 PM, 27th September 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Adrian Jones" at "27/09/2014 - 11:54":

No point because in the eyes of the law the agent is doing absolutely nothing wrong so ARLA will back their member.

You and I may see it as being immoral but they will see it as being commercial.

Adrian Jones

12:08 PM, 27th September 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "27/09/2014 - 12:01":

But what about Rachel's comments that they are increasingly ineffective and pretty much useless?

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

12:18 PM, 27th September 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Adrian Jones" at "27/09/2014 - 12:08":

That's subjective, ARLA are more likely to deal with the matter as a disciplinary issue if the Courts agree with Rachel. Otherwise, I think ARLA are a biased paper tiger when it comes to dealing with operational complaints against their members, particularly the larger players. Just my opinion, they have the right of reply of course and I remain open minded if they want to attempt to convince me that my perceptions are misplaced.

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