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nerms19

How to end agreement with Letting agent

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Hi

Due to various issues I have decided to end the agreement with my letting agent. I have checked the contract and there is no mention of termination by the landlord, only that the LA must give me (the landlord) thirty days notice if they wish to terminate. Would I be correct in assuming that I can give notice to terminate with immediate effect?

I am considering including the following in the termination letter:

1) Asking for the deposits relating to current tenants and previous tenants (which is being disputed) to be transferred into a scheme in my name

2) Asking for any keys they hold to be sent to me or for me to pick up

3) Asking them to send me details of any expenditure that they have not recharged to me (electrical certificate, repairs carried out)

I also am planning on writing to the current tenants, requesting that future rent payments should be made direct to me and any further issues to only be discussed with me.

I also want to be reimbursed for part of the management fees, on the basis that they have breached the agreement (for example, not passing on all of the rent from the previous tenants, having work carried out that has not been authorised, never carrying out agreed property inspections, very rarely answering the telephone or responding to emails, the list goes on).

If they do not agree to reimburse a % of the management fees, I will consider taking legal action using moneyclaim. I just don't know how to time all of this (i.e. terminating the agreement, writing about the reimbursement, issuing a moneyclaim order, writing to the tenants).

Any thoughts would be great!?

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First of all before you do anything you must inform them in writing and list your complaints and issues you have with them and allow them 7 days to respond. Tell them in your recorded and signed for letter they MUST within the 7 days though respond back to you. Keep a copy of the letter......not an email though.

From what you are saying you sound as if you have the perfect right to terminate your contract BUT be aware the tenant belongs to the LA and not you and they may counter claim if you take legal proceedings against them and once again it all depends what you have signed up for from day 1 with your LA in your contract.

Name and shame?

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Thank you Meboy for your post.

I have written (by post, recorded delivery) to them, stating that they have not passed on all of the rent they have received from the ex-tenants (that moved out of the property over a year ago), giving them fourteen days to respond.

I stated that if I did not hear from them, I would consider taking legal action, which would then include a claim for reimbursement of fees, loss of earnings for attending court, interest on rent arrears, moneyclaim costs etc.

I have paid the full years management fees upfront (the current tenants only moved in a month ago) so not sure that the tenants do belong to them, especially as I understood they represent me? What claim could they have?

I am happy to name them but not until the current issues are resolved - either by negotiation or by taking a more formal approach.

Any advice??

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You can almost guarantee that within their contract with you the tenant is theirs by virtue of the fact they have provided the tenant.

If they have not clarified this then your right they are a slap-dash letting agent. :D

You have the ball rolling so it's wait and see time isn't it.

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You can almost guarantee that within their contract with you the tenant is theirs by virtue of the fact they have provided the tenant.

If they have not clarified this then your right they are a slap-dash letting agent. :D

I'm not sure I agree with that statement or think it is that common. We don't have it in ours and don't find it necessary as we rarely lose landlords. The three other agencies I have taken over or purchased their portfolio's didn't have that restriction either. I think it is the bigger muti office or national chain companies that are more inclined to feel they have to tie clients in because they don't have the personal touch or flexibility which doesn't inspire loyalty.

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So Grampa if a landlord decided to quit the LA for whatever that reason might be and it is usually from the reports you read on this forum because the management charges the landlord is paying doesn't meet the quality of service expectations, then the landlord can just say sorry LA I don't want your services anymore and quit after say a few weeks and take rent direct from the tenant?

"I also want to be reimbursed for part of the management fees, on the basis that they have breached the agreement"

Nerms 19 has paid management charges and is asking for some of that money back for poor service.

What do you think his chances are?

If the LA belongs to a professional organisation like the ARLA there is a slim chance of success or if a non member I would say virtually zilcho chance of any success.

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We have it in the T&C'c that the landlord is signed up for at least the first six months of the tenant moving in just to cover ourselves in case you got a smart arse who tried to terminate after a couple of weeks and we have put all the work in setting up the tenancy and advertising, inventory, etc. After that we have a standard 30 day termination clause that can be used by either party. Thought I am toying with the idea of increasing it to 2 or 3 months. I have never had a new landlord (that I can remember) who did terminate after 6 months and 99% of dis-instructions are due to having to sell and then we do that as well most times so get the sale commission. Every agencies T&C's are different some will even have questionable, unfair terms or no T&C's at all

If he wants a portion of the management fees reimbursed I guess it would be down to how much or little of the service he actually got and to equate that to a monetary figure.. A lot of it will be down to the T&C'S with the company and how specific it states what they do or don't do. For example if it said the agent would do 5 inspections a year but only did 2 you could easily put a price to that. Or if the agent kept funds that should have been passed over and there is evidence to prove it.

If the agent is a member of ARLA or the ombudsman there is a code of practise they have to follow (down-loadable) and you can put a complaint into them but there are timescales to complain by.

As mentioned unless you can equate a cost, material loss and justify it I think the chances of getting a punitive award from a judge at county court level is not good because the landlord has received a service or part of it, it just happens it wasn't very good..

This is just my opinion and if it did go to court I would be interested to see how a judge interprets it.

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Thanks for the replies guys.

To provide a little more info:

  • The agreement with the LA only specifies that they must give me thirty days notice on termination - there is no mention of what the timescale/process is for me to terminate. Does that mean I can terminate with immediate effect?
  • There is no mention in the contract that the tenant belongs to them. The only related clauses are that should the tenant stay beyond the initial 12 month period, there will be a (reduced) management fee payable for each year - I assume this is only if they are still contracted as manaing agents. I would have thought that the full years fee that I have already payed covers both a finders fee and management throughout the year - as a result, if they have been disinstructed one month into the year, I should be able to claim back 11/12th of the management fee proportion?
  • I am mainly interested in claiming back (via the courts if necessary) the rent that they have received but not passed on, costs for items/repairs not authorised and the costs incurred in taking this to court. The reimbursement of the management fee would be a bonus but not expected as it's a bit of a grey area.
  • The agent has signed up to the Property Ombudsman scheme. I have spoken with them and based on the circumstances, I have a good chance of the ombudsman being on my side, but it can take upto six months apparently, especially with a non-responsive agent (such as mine)

What would be great from you guys is whether there is anything specific I should mention in the termination letter (over and above what I mentioned in my original post). I don't want to be in a position where I am jeapordising my chances of success if this goes to court - based on a basic technicality/step missed.

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I would have thought that the full years fee that I have already payed covers both a finders fee and management throughout the year - as a result, if they have been disinstructed one month into the year, I should be able to claim back 11/12th of the management fee proportion?

This is where I think you might have a problem in claiming back quite so much of the money. There will be deductions for tenant finding if you do cancel the 1 year management fee which you have paid up front ?

Just a sideline on this topic I have just paid today £456 inc VAT for a tenant finding only fee from my LA...... 80% of the first months rent plus the dreaded 20% VAT.

First time I have used an LA in 8 years but I am very happy with the service I received and the tenant they found for me but I did of course cross all the tee's and dot all the i 's for them. :D

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Hi

I have a contract with a company who manages my 2 studio flats but I am not happy with them so I decided to cancel the agreement. I am new in this business so if there is anyone to help me with a sample I would be grateful.

 

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