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claire12

Problem with Letting Agent

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I have two properties which I let through a local Letting Agent , I have recently visited both properties to do minor work , the first property informed me that they had just signed a new Tenancy Agreement , but were asked to go to the Letting Agents office to sign, so no inspection of the property was undertaken , the second property's Agreement ran out in May 2014 and has not been renewed , again no inspection has ever been made at this property

I sent an email to the Agents telling them that I no longer wanted them to act for me , they have replied stating that they are entitled to a withdrawal fee of one months rent per property

Any thoughts ?

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Have you checked the terms & conditions of the contract between you and your agent ? The contract should show what is included in the price you pay (inspections) and any withdrawal fee due on termination.

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The contract states that the Agent will undertake a property inspection before each tenancy renewal

It also states that should a landlord wish to withdraw for whatever reason a fee equivalent to one months rent will be payable

Have they broke the contract by not inspecting the properties ?

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Possibly but have you asked the agent for their inspection reports or are you relying on info' from the tenants ?

Personally I'd want more than one inspection every 6 or 12 months.

* Normally inspection frequency is 3 monthly and

* You don't need a new tenancy when the old one expires....its ok to let the agreement go periodic.

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The devil is in the detail of the T&C's you signed with the agent but saying that they cant put whatever they want and expect it to be valid and not an unfair term.

1 Were you asked first before the new AST was signed if not the agent should have asked you (the client) first.

2 Was the condition of the property so bad that if you did have a inspection prior to the renewal you wouldn't have agreed?

3 If the T&C's state they include inspections as part of the paid service but didn't do them why didn't you pick up on that earlier and address the issues? Surely you noticed you didn't get a report.

4 Have you suffered a material loss/cost by the agents actions?

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Are they a member of ARLA or the NAEA - if so and it appears there are discrepancies tell the agent you plan to report them - see if that makes a difference to their attitude.

If not write a letter before action saying the firm are in breach of contract and either make them a small offer to leave or bring a small claims action to let a judge determine the matter. I'll take a guess the company will not want the small claims action.

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Also it has just become law that from 1 October 2014 all agents who carry out letting agency or property management works will be required to join a redress scheme such as the Property ombudsman, Ombudsman services or the property Redress scheme .

https://www.theprs.co.uk/

http://www.tpos.co.uk/index.htm

http://www.ombudsman-services.org/property.html

Ask them which one they belong to and also ask the agent for details of their complaints proceeedure. Once you have got as far as you can with the internal complaints proceedure you can progress to the redress scheme and/or ARLA/Nals if they are members.

If they arent a member of a redress scheme you can report them to trading standards.

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