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A letting agent introduced me to a tennant, and has been technically managing my property for last 6 months - although they haven't done much but cause problems! The lease with the tennant was for 6 months, during which the Agent took a %. This expired about 6 weeks ago. Following expiry, I gave notice to the Agent and asked the tennant to pay directly into my account, which they have been doing. This is due to the poor service I have received from the Agent: not one month's rent paid on time (anywhere between 3-6 weeks late based on recieving rent a month in advance). Not sorting out gas & electric bills (they have been addressed to me until I recently resolved this directly with the utility companies - a nightmare in it self! This is despite several calls & e-mails to the Agent)... I could go on! Questions:

  • The Agent has written to me advising that I am in breech of the Agency Agreement as it states they should be given 3 month's notice, and asking for 1 month's rent- (or a negotiable figure) for continuing to use the client (as per their Agency Agreement). Although they e-mailed me terms and conditions (Agency Agreement) I have never signed it. Does this mean that the Ts & C within this still apply?
  • Their poor service has meant I have been continually overdrawn & incurred charges, caused myself and the tennants alot of stress, with particular reference to the utilty bills. As such, the tennants have ended up paying overdue charges to the utilty companies, which appear far too high (approximately double what I was paying when I lived there)! Agent has no readings for when tennant moved in, and their inabilty to tranfer bills to the tennant has left the tennants in an unfortunate position! Does this information hold any weight? If so in what context?
  • I have asked for information on the deposit, as has the tennant, and haven't recieved anything. The tennant (who has a reciept from the Agent) has chased this with them, merely asking where it is kept? But the Agent will not provide the tennants with this info,, and have said this is because they started paying directly to me, claiming they have thus breeched their agreement with them. Surely both the tennant & I have a right to know where the deposit is kept and that it is registered/secured into a deposit scheme?
  • I have asked the Agent for information on the inventory carried out at the beginning(which has been deducted from my rent) but nothing. Again surely they have to provide this?
  • Surely an Agent receives payment for providing a service, let alone a satisfactory one?

What is your overall opinion on this case? Thanks

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Hi Kamel,

What a sorry state of affairs -seems like another rubbish letting agent!

If you signed up with the letting agency there would have been a clause in the details saying something like 'if any person introduced to you and the property is to take up an AST or purchase the property then a charge is to be made of some sort by the agent'. If you entered into this legal contract then you have to abide by it so giving short notice to the agent and keeping same tenant is basically not on. You say you have signed no agreement but I think the agent might argue that since you accepted the tenant and the rent - late as it may have been - you had entered into the agreement and therefore should be bound by the agreement.

However, the agent is offering a way out by asking for a 'negotiable figure' and this might be cheaper than court proceedings. So negotiate and get any fee down to the minumum he will accept or be prepared to take court action.

Your being overdrawn is your own fault and not that of the agent. It is up to you to cover interrupted income like rent not the agent. You caused your own stress by not keeping enough money in your account and the agent is not liable for your bank charges.

You should have acted quickly when you realised that the utility bills were not going directly to the tenants. Just because you have intstructed an agent does not absolve you from any responsibility to your tenants. Prices have gone up a lot recently so this may account for the price hike. Always keep notes of meter readings at change of tenancy - just in case.

Write to the agent pointing out the failures of late rent, ask the whereabouts of the deposit and the the inventory which you have paid for.

On the matter of the deposit suggest the tenant complains immediately to the police as it may be that the deposit has been stolen by the agent if it cannot be accounted for and this will be a criminal matter. You and the tenant do need to know where the deposit is. Police intervention may resolve things very quickly in your and the tenants favour.

Yes, you have had poor service - so don't use an agent next time or use one for tenant finding only. This site is about self reliance - get it!

Good luck,


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