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    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 22nd Jul 16, 12:11 PM
    • 60Posts
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    tadgh_99
    Problem Letting Agent
    • #1
    • 22nd Jul 16, 12:11 PM
    Problem Letting Agent 22nd Jul 16 at 12:11 PM
    Hi all,

    Wonder if any forum member could offer their advice or experience.

    We have let out our property whilst we are abroad and used a local letting agent / estate agent. We signed up to a fully managed service 19 months ago.

    Over the past 12 months, we experienced what we would consider very poor service from them. For example;

    - Not one property inspection report has been sent to us (and we doubt that any have actually taken place)
    - The tenants reported a leaking shower and it took 9 months to get it fixed (primarily because employees kept leaving & the contractors they sent weren't savvy enough to do the job)
    - We are suspicious that the gas safety check didn't happen on time and that the one they did produce was back dated (we asked for months for a copy and the original hadn't been dropped in by the plumber)
    - The renewal contract they were supposed to sign with the tenants mysteriously disappeared from tenancy file.
    - We've never received a copy of the inventory

    We understand that they found the tenants, but they just aren't providing a good service (the tenants have complained about them to us as well). We realise that as the tenants were found by the agent they are fully entitled to the renewals.

    What we'd like to do is move the management to a more reputable (and capable) company. We're being told that we can't terminate the contract as they found the tenants, but were' not trying to terminate the contract, just move it from "full management" to "introduction only" (& the fees that go with that).

    Are we realistically able to move to a different service with the same agent? Surely there must be some recourse against a poor performing agent?

    Any advice greatly appreciated.
Page 1
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 22nd Jul 16, 12:30 PM
    • 8,846 Posts
    • 11,854 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    • #2
    • 22nd Jul 16, 12:30 PM
    • #2
    • 22nd Jul 16, 12:30 PM
    Why is the letting agency entitled to the renewals? Why is the tenant signing renewals at all? How much are the tenants being charged every time they sign a renewal?

    Edit:

    Read Letting Agents: How a LL should select or sack.
    Last edited by Pixie5740; 22-07-2016 at 12:41 PM.
    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.
    • dc197
    • By dc197 22nd Jul 16, 12:37 PM
    • 781 Posts
    • 599 Thanks
    dc197
    • #3
    • 22nd Jul 16, 12:37 PM
    • #3
    • 22nd Jul 16, 12:37 PM
    What does your contract with the agent say about termination?
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 22nd Jul 16, 1:21 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    tadgh_99
    • #4
    • 22nd Jul 16, 1:21 PM
    • #4
    • 22nd Jul 16, 1:21 PM
    Why is the letting agency entitled to the renewals?
    Originally posted by Pixie5740
    In the landlord services agreement we signed, there is the clause

    "This agreement will continue for the agreed tenancy. and/or any subsequent renewal periods to a tenant introduced by Letting Agent." And this does refer to the fees (& full management service).

    Most of the letting agent contracts I've seen charge a renewal fee. Is this not the norm?


    Why is the tenant signing renewals at all?
    Originally posted by Pixie5740
    I'm assuming due to the rental increase that was put in place. We did give the tenants a really good deal as we liked them and knew they would look after our home

    How much are the tenants being charged every time they sign a renewal?
    Originally posted by Pixie5740
    I don't think they are being charged. But it is worth me asking.

    It would seem the agreement is very one sided. Basically it reads to me as, this contract is on going until such time as the tenancy is ended.

    What concerns me is that if this were to get nasty, then contract law is on their side. And I can see it get nasty (due to the amount of times I've called / emailed them)
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 22nd Jul 16, 1:30 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    tadgh_99
    • #5
    • 22nd Jul 16, 1:30 PM
    • #5
    • 22nd Jul 16, 1:30 PM
    What does your contract with the agent say about termination?
    Originally posted by dc197
    The landlord services contract doesn't mention termination. Only the following This agreement will continue for the agreed tenancy. and/or any subsequent renewal periods to a tenant introduced by Letting Agent.

    The contract does refer to "Your Guide to Landlord Services" from the Letting agency, which we do not have with us (have asked for a copy)
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 22nd Jul 16, 1:34 PM
    • 8,846 Posts
    • 11,854 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    • #6
    • 22nd Jul 16, 1:34 PM
    • #6
    • 22nd Jul 16, 1:34 PM
    If you think the letting agent is not charging the tenant every time a renewal is signed you are living in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land.

    There was absolutely zero need for the tenant to have signed any new tenancy agreement after the original fixed term ended. A new tenancy agreement is not required to increase the rent.

    Did you not read your contract with the letting agent before signing it? Have you read the link I gave you yet?
    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 22nd Jul 16, 1:56 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    tadgh_99
    • #7
    • 22nd Jul 16, 1:56 PM
    • #7
    • 22nd Jul 16, 1:56 PM
    Read Letting Agents: How a LL should select or sack.
    Originally posted by Pixie5740
    I did actually read this post and the OFT v Foxtons was most interesting. I will be raising that with them if they've failed to provide any termination clause.

    We did read the contract, but a lot of it came down to personal relationship and trust. The owner of the business is a neighbour (would have even said friend but that's no longer the case)



    I think the tenancy agreement was resigned as one of the tenants had moved out and a new one had moved in.
    Last edited by tadgh_99; 22-07-2016 at 2:09 PM.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 22nd Jul 16, 2:36 PM
    • 37,012 Posts
    • 40,934 Thanks
    G_M
    • #8
    • 22nd Jul 16, 2:36 PM
    • #8
    • 22nd Jul 16, 2:36 PM
    Do you have contact with the tenants?

    If you intend to sack the agent, and the agent claims/believes you cannot legally end your contract with them (eg while the tenants they found remain), you will need to tenants on your side:

    Very often tenants believe they must do as the agent tells them. After all, it was via the agent that they found the property, signed the contract, pay the rent, and get repairs done (or not!). So if some overseas bloke suddenly tells them something different, who are they going to trust/believe/obey?

    So if the agent tells the tenants to continue paying rent to them (the agents), the tenant are likely to do this. the agent will then continue to deduct ther commission, and you will be left fighting to get your money back because you think you've sacked them but they refuse to be sacked!

    So the first step is to get the tenants to recognise who you are (their landlord), and to understand what it is you are planning to do - long before you actually do it.

    Once you have the tenants on your side, you have won half the battle, because you can then tell them to stop paying rent to the agent, and strt paying

    * your new agent
    * your mum
    * direct to your bank

    Though beware rent payment going direct to an overseas landlord; read:
    HMRC (Non Resident [= overseas] Landlord Scheme)
    Last edited by G_M; 22-07-2016 at 2:40 PM.
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 22nd Jul 16, 3:47 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    tadgh_99
    • #9
    • 22nd Jul 16, 3:47 PM
    • #9
    • 22nd Jul 16, 3:47 PM
    Hi G_M,

    We are in regular contact with the tenants. After the facade that was the leaking shower, we had direct communication with them. In fact they were asking us if they could pay us directly as they were fed up with the lies and fabrication being fed to them by the letting agent.

    Recently, they've been reporting faults to the Agent and then following up with us directly the following day to ensure the agent had made us aware (and I don't blame them).

    I'm of the opinion that the agent will !!!!!! all to try and resolve this (the manager has said as much). The contract states that even on renewal 10% commission is due. I think that's quite excessive.

    The contract itself has no mention or provision of termination at all. It's all very one sided.

    From reading the OFT v Foxtons case, I thought that this type of practice ((i.e. unreasonable charges & on-going fees was unfair and unenforceable) or am I wrong on that?

    What I'm planning to do is;

    1. Make the tenants aware of the situation (and line them up to start paying rent to us directly)
    2. Appoint a new management agent (but not press the button yet)
    3. Write a letter of complaint to the manager
    4. Take it to the ombudsman

    However, what concerns me is that if we sack the agent, and get the rent paid to us directly, we will be in breach of contract and the court of law will back them entirely? Also, how would we handle the DPC? That's registered to the agent. I doubt they'd hand that over?

    The HMRC are aware that we are abroad and we have an accountant in the UK that we use. All the rent is paid into a UK account, so there shouldn't be any tax issues.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 22nd Jul 16, 6:04 PM
    • 37,012 Posts
    • 40,934 Thanks
    G_M
    Hi G_M,


    However, what concerns me is that if we sack the agent, and get the rent paid to us directly, we will be in breach of contract and the court of law will back them entirely?

    If as you say the contract has no terms relating to termination (check, then read and check again), then you should give 'reasonable notice'. I'd guess that would be either one or two months. Why not give one months notice but be prepared to concede when they complain, and pay them a 2nd months commission?

    But as my other thread suggests, make sure you have the rent by then so that you are paying them, rather than trying to re-claim rent from them.



    Also, how would we handle the DPC? That's registered to the agent. I doubt they'd hand that over?

    Can't help here as I've never been in that position, but
    a) keep writing to them and insist, and
    b) contact the scheme for advice, and/or
    c) seek advice from your new agent (if you apoint one)

    The HMRC are aware that we are abroad and we have an accountant in the UK that we use. All the rent is paid into a UK account, so there shouldn't be any tax issues.
    Originally posted by tadgh_99
    If the UK account in question is in your name, the fact that you are abroad means the Overseas landlord rules apply. Read the link ad ensure you have the correct paperwork from HMRC togive the tenants, otherwise the tenants should deduct your tax from the rent.
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 23rd Jul 16, 4:33 AM
    • 60 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    tadgh_99
    Hi G_M,

    Thanks for the useful post. The contract has no reference to termination whatsoever. Red, re-read, re-re-read. And there's nothing.

    Have read your other post again and we will be using another agent in the UK.

    I am expecting a call from the owner of the agent company at some point today and will use your stance off offering a a months notice.

    Personally, I think a contract that doesn't offer termination clauses is unenforceable due to it's unfairness.

    Next time, I won't be so trusting of so called friends.
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 18th Oct 16, 12:25 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    tadgh_99
    Thanks to all that offered advice.

    Have done some further research into this and (apparently) a contract that doesn't have a cancellation clause is deemed to be unfair by the OFT (as per the consumer rights act).

    As it happens, the tenants handed in their notice now. It has taken a lot of phone calls to the LA to get the outstanding rent. But apparently we are not the only ones affected by this bunch of clowns. Inventory clerks won't deal with them and a large number of landlords are actually taking the LA to court for non payment of rent.

    Oh, and they've also been banned from using DPS (Deposit Protection Scheme) and have had to move all of their deposits over to an alternative scheme.

    Personally I am in the midst of complaining to the property ombudsman about them (will also throw in the local trading standards for the unfair contract).

    These guys have caused us so much stress that I feel it only fair to throw some back at them.
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