Terminating my useless letting agency contract?

by Readers Question

10:46 AM, 3rd November 2015
About 3 years ago

Terminating my useless letting agency contract?

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Terminating my useless letting agency contract?

I’ve been with my letting agent for just over 12 months and its time to terminate our contract, my 14 year old Daughter could do a better job, just one problem after another and I’ve had enough.fired

After speaking to them they say I have to give them one months rent for end the contract, this really is taking the proverbial micky.

First thing, last winter after a storm I had an email informing me the boundary wall had blown down (its around 100ft long so pretty expensive to repair) and this was a weekend so couldn’t confirm this so I drove 145 miles to my house only to find 4 bricks have come off the top. To say I was annoyed is an understatement,they then had the nerve to send a quote for repairs by their preferred builder, £340 plus VAT, a bit excessive to replace 4 bricks.I had strong words with them about this and was assured this wouldn’t happen again.

They have only carried out one inspection in 12 months and during this, the agent told my tenants to contact the council regards the leaking garage roof (I had already discussed this with the tenants and they were not concerned as they didn’t use it anyway and I said I get it sorted when my finances are improved, talk about a stitch up.

I had originally used the Agent to try to sell the house,a quick sale for £145000 they said, 5 years later it still wasn’t sold and against my better judgement I used them to manage it after deciding to rent it out. Should I pay up or tell them to swivel?

It seems I’m in an open ended contract that will only finish when the tenants move out, should have read the small print, but surely they can’t tie me up indefinitely or can they. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated in helping me to sorting this matter out,

Thanks in advance.

Robert



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:49 AM, 3rd November 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Robert,

We have had many many readers questions regarding letting agent termination clauses and renewal fees if you would like to use our orange article search tab at the top of the page.

However one months rent is the smallest termination clause fee I have seen so far so may be worth considering.

Mark Evans

12:41 PM, 3rd November 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Robert

I had exactly the same scenario. My agent was underperforming and in the end I wanted to manage the tenancy myself. I then fell foul of the small print whereby the agent wanted to continue charging a management fee or the equivalent of 1-2 month rent to cancel the agreement.

I refused and they issue a court summons. I went through the agreement with a fine tooth comb and realized it was full of unfair contract terms and despite being a member of ARLA they did not follow many of the ARLA and TPO best practice recommendations.

Suffice to say, when they saw my legal arguments backed up with so much legal precedents and supporting info from TPO/ARLA......they dropped the case entirely. I then counter sued.

Honestly it took me weeks to prepare my case but there was a lot at stake (as well as pride).

It's worth checking the agreement and pointing out it's frailties. I'm sure even if you were to offer to pay half a month they would accept.

Michael Barnes

14:21 PM, 3rd November 2015
About 3 years ago

If you have nly been paying monthly management fee, then it sounds reasonable. You will continue to benefit from he rent from the tenant they introduced.

If you paid an initial fee for finding a tenant, then it is less reasonable.

(all this is my personal opinion)

trevor white

19:42 PM, 3rd November 2015
About 3 years ago

Have a good read of Foxton v OFT.

Agents must now actively flag up any commission required from landlords before it signs them up to its service.

This case should answer your issues.

Let the tenancy lapse into a statutory periodic and work your way from there.

Robert Boulter

20:55 PM, 3rd November 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Michael Barnes" at "03/11/2015 - 14:21":

I paid £350+ Vat for them to place a tenant in my house,a finders fee I believe. I don't mind paying a couple of months management fee but certainly not paying a months rent.They charged my tenants over £500 in fee's at the beginning,wanted £60 from me to renew the tenancy agreement and £120 from the tenants after 6 months,needless to say,we are on a 1 month rolling contract-no fee's. I'm pretty sure their open ended contract wouldn't stand up in court.

Carol Duckfield

8:28 AM, 5th November 2015
About 3 years ago

I had a similar problem with a letting agent and after 4 months where I was doing more to manage the property that they were - with a trail of e-mail to prove their inability to manage - simply gave them 1 months notice that I was terminating their services. They accepted this without a fight and I now manage the properties and my tenants are much happier with the improved service although its been a steep learning curve to put all my processes in place esp as I've had to do right to rent checks as well!


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