We want out of contract but where do we stand?

by Readers Question

10:22 AM, 1st June 2016
About 2 years ago

We want out of contract but where do we stand?

Make Text Bigger
We want out of contract but where do we stand?

We own a flat, rented to a great tenant, found by an agent, who don’t manage it, we do. We pay them quarterly and they get the tenancy signed and find us a new tenant if we need one – they’ve found us 2 in 6 years.leg

Several months ago they stopped billing us quarterly and we didn’t notice. Then they sent several bills all at once – for a few thousand.

They also forgot to get the tenancy agreement renewed in October 2015 so there’s not one in place. Our relationship has become tense and we wish to end their seemingly useless role being paid for nothing.

Of course they sent me ts&cs showing how they still have to be paid, regardless that there’s no tenancy agreement in place and are being very aggressive about the outstanding money with no mention of a sorry about the lack of tenancy agreement renewal.

We’re ending the relationship and the tenant has told them he’s leaving, which he’s not, to support us in ending the relationship. I wish he hadn’t as I hate lying. But where do we stand, they’ve now told him he has to do an inventory and professional clean which we don’t need. Does he have to do anything without a tenancy agreement?

I am about to check the entire statement against our bank accounts and then pay them. To end the relationship by giving notice I have to give three months and pay them even more, hence the tenant saying he’s leaving.

How can I get this horrible situation ended quickly, especially if they gather the tenant isn’t leaving?

Lucy



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:33 AM, 1st June 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Lucy,

You may not have a new fixed term tenancy, but you do still have a Statutory Periodic tenancy in place. Does the contact say explicitly that there has to be a fixed term contract in place to to satisfy the agents side of the contract?

It is obviously not helpful that you were not sent bills, but I would think you are also partly responsible to at least notice and question this if it is a long standing relationship.

It is very common that you will be locked into the contract whilst you are renting to the tenant that the agent found for you and if you were to provide false information about the status of the tenancy then they could pursue you for payment in court.

I would try to mend the relationship with the agents to at least have a business like conversation and try to negotiate a mutually beneficial compromise if possible.

Lucy Leslie

10:53 AM, 1st June 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "01/06/2016 - 10:33":

Yes, I read up last night & see all that you say.
I agree we should have noticed & have owned that but am getting nothing but aggressive, nonchalant replies.
The tenant saying he's leaving was a misunderstanding & I wish he hadn't.
I'll check the statement, pay them & hopefully they'll want rid of me as much as I do from them.
I shan't antagonise them because as usual I see that I am small fry & need to pick my battles & these guys aren't bound by owning anything, much less do they understand the concept of humility.
Thank you. I'm clear & appreciate your expertise.
Lucy

Mark Evans

10:05 AM, 2nd June 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Lucy

I was in the same position a few years ago with a letting agent. I wanted to cancel my agency agreement with them and manage the tenancy myself. I felt they were not doing a good job and I could do better. Of course they referred me to the T&Cs which locked me into a management fee where they found a tenant that stayed in the property even after the agency agreement ended.

I spent several weeks researching my legal position and successfully got the agent to withdraw their court action after I presented the court with a body of evidence that showed their agency agreement was invalid and unfair. I used historical cases such as the Foxton's one to validate my claim. I also demonstrated that the agreement did not follow the TPO's Code of Practise and ARLA guidelines.

So in a nutshell, go through your contract and determine if it's right, proper and fair. When I did this I was shocked at how unenforceable many of the clauses were.

Mike

22:15 PM, 4th June 2016
About 2 years ago

What If it is the other way around, and that happened to me when my lettings agents (Belvoir lettings in Harlow) just terminated my contract as from immediate effect.

In other words when one of my tenants became a problem, they just abandoned a sinking ship, I had to later of deal with this tenant and ended up losing well over 9 months rent. I will of course not be using belvoir ever again.

As for your agent not billing you for a long period and then suddenly he bills you all at ones, he cannot expect you to pay all outstanding amount at ones, so arrange to pay him for his useless service and for his incompetence, (for not raising bills on time is nothing pother than incompetence) AND give him notice and tell him you will no longer need his services as from such and such a date and you will be dealing with the current tenant yourself.
As for your tenant lying for you, you can come out very easy, tell your agent you don't need or require an inventory check, or professional clean up as you will be renovating your property and going to put it on the market, you are selling it and you have already served the tenant a notice, (a section 21 notice) and send the agent a copy of this notice to prove your intention, but tell your tenant to ignore that particular notice, as it is intended only to satisfy the agent in order to get rid of the incompetent good for nothing agents. get rid of him sooner the better.

Your Tenant doesn't have to leave even if that was a genuine S21 Notice as many tenants wait to be evicted by Courts and bailiffs, so if ever the agent finds that the tenant is still living there, just say it has nothing what soever to do with him any longer, as the tenant left but as you changed your maid about selling, you offered him a new tenancy agreement and so it is now a new tenancy and has absolutely nothing to with this dubious agent. Be tough, stand your ground, and they can do absolutely nothing, if they take you to court they will lose and they won't.

Mike

22:42 PM, 4th June 2016
About 2 years ago

My apologies for typing the above in a haste, with lots of spelling mistakes and so on and also please if any mod can correct it for me and remove the agents name, as it is not my intention to defame a particular bad staff that may defame the whole company.

Mike Amapola

10:11 AM, 6th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi !. We have used an agent to do a 'Tenant Find' for us in the past. This has cost us a one only fee NOT a monthly one.
I cannot see how they can be charging you on a monthly basis and not actually providing any service. Could it be that you accepted this present arrangement - payment by installments in effect ? - rather than a 'one off' payment ?

Lucy Leslie

12:03 PM, 6th June 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "01/06/2016 - 10:33":

Thank you again.
One of my considerations is how much of my time I want to give to it & how much peace of mind I am willing to lose.
I got my tenant to retract his end of tenancy, preferring to be honest.
I asked when I could end the contract with the letting agent.
I got a sarcastic email about my varying wishes & told I couldn't get out of the contract.
They have offered to drop from 8% to 4% as the tenant has been in place for 5 years.
Knowing myself I have to be careful not to 'get into it' only to lose the battle & waste a tonne of my time/energy so we accepted.
Looking at my part, I didn't understand the contract, I didn't watch the bills not arrive & I am apathetic.
In future I will need to be more attentive to my part.
I want to sell it & put the money towards a family home, husband & I are both self employed & I can't even begin to imagine the stress, fees & nonsense that whole rigmarole will bring about.
Buy a home, live in it, die seems to be the most peaceful way to final this.
Thank you all.
Lucy


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

Shelter’s Head of Research misled public on TV

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