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Getting rid of bad letting agent


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Hi, help/advice please.

I have been letting out my Essex home using an agent, who has messed me around. I want to end my relationship with them asap. Here are the important points:

1. The agents originally let the house to tenants for 12 months. After six months the agents let the tenants move out without telling me. Then they moved in new tenants on a new 2-year contract, with a two week gap (and loss of rent) between. They didn't tell me about this for two months.

2. There are at least six people living in my three bedroom house, although there are only two names on the contract. I have told the agents this is unacceptable, but they have done nothing.

3. The rent has always been about 2 weeks late coming to me.

4. I spoke to the agents a month ago, saying I wanted the tenants out, my house back and my agreement with the agent terminated. They agreed. I wrote to them asking for this in writing; they have failed to do this.

5. Yesterday they said they will do this (get the tenants out on their six-month break clause), but I will have to pay them their management fee for the next 18 months.

6. I have a contract with the agent that states I need to give them 12 months notice. It also states in the small print (yes, I should have read it!) that they can do pretty much everything they have done.

7. I cannot afford a lawyer (I recently lost my job and have just had a baby).

8. The agents has always been unhelpful, intransigent and generally avoids answering my calls.

I am planning on sitting in the agents office, talking to them and then trying to get them to sign an agreement that gets them to wind up our relationship at the tenants six-month break clause, so I have stuff in writing.

If the agents refuse to do this, or demand large amounts of money I don't have, can I: take over the management myself and wash my hands of the agent and hope he doesn't take me to court?

Is he likely to take me to court?

ps they are a backstreet-type agent (not registered with ARLA, etc)

Any advice please.

ps I just remembered this extra info/detail:

When the previous tenants left, they took the lawnmower and all the gardening equipment. I asked the agent to take money out of their deposit for this. He said he would but he didn't.

The agent has failed to carry out repairs he said he would.

The house is joint owned by my ex partner, who didn't sign the contract with the agent. Could this nullify the contract? Or just put me further in a mess?

Could I take the agent to court to claim he has acted so badly that I am justified in terminating my contract with him?

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Hello Nick,

Big mess from what you write but you are probably hormonal from having had a baby (I'm taking it you are female) so try to keep focused on what is important and some things in this list of complaints you will just have to let go.

The main thing is to get posession of your property and get shot of the agent.

If the first set of tenants wanted to leave after 6 months it was their perogative (usually there is a 6 month break clause in a 1 year tenancy). You can't make tenants stay if they don't want to. It took the agent 2 weeks to re-let - sounds quite reasonable but they should have informed you of change of tenants. 2 week late rent is also average with an agent - could have been far worse.

So you are getting rent regularly but don't like 6 persons in the house - is this all one family? If not then I would suggest you have good grounds for saying the agent is is breach of his/her contract in allowing this - what does it say in the contract about choosing tenants and number of persons in the dwelling?

Write to the tenants giving them notice that the tenancy will end at the 6 month break. Don't forget they have to have a clear 8 weeks notice. Send a copy to the agent and tell him he is breach of contract an therefore your agreement with him is to be terminated. I would argue that because of this breach he cannot enforce the 18 month term as he has acted unreasonably.

You need to make sure you get the rest of the rent minus the charges to the date of the tenants leaving. With the tenants gone and you not using this agent he would have to pursue you for any charges. Is he likely to? - I'll take a guess not as he seems to not want to answer your calls even now.

Forget the lawnmower and repairs stuff - use this against the agent as evidence of a failure of the contract but you are not going to see any of that money back.

Forget taking the agent to court it will just give you more stress and you probably won't get anywhere- just try to settle things and get the property re-let without the agent.

Is your co-owner aware that you are letting the property? Even if he is then there was no need to sign the agreement with the agent.

Good luck,


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