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Ditching management agents


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I've let out a 3 bed flat for 5 years to the same (generally good) tenants, but have always been frustrated by the level of service from the management agents. They've done nothing illegal (AFAIK) but I feel their 6% charge is unreasonable, since I have to chase up pretty much everything, and any questions from me need to be asked many times.

Now the next 12 month AST renewal is coming up, and I was wondering if I can ditch the agents but keep the tenants, and take on another management agent? Or at least, on the basis of the following, suggest a reduction in the fees they charge?

Relevant para in T&C from 2006: "In the event of the initial letting period being extended, or the tenant(s) remaining in occupation, whether or not negotiated by us, our fees become due and payable..." Mind you, I've just noticed that that document (on plain - not headed – paper) says the mgt fee is 5% and I've been paying 6%.

And the signed letter from 2006 says: "…as Letting agents our fee would be 8% plus VAT, and should you require our management services, our fees would be 4% plus VAT, Rent collection only will be an addition of 2% plus VAT." [Yes,their grammar generally is that bad!] Surely this means that I should be paying 4% since I don't require "rent collection only" on top of that...?

As far as I can tell, they're not affiliated to any trade associations (on their website there are logos – but no links - for "The Property Ombudsmen Sales" and "OFT approved code", whatever they are). For the record, of the original 3 tenants, only one is still there, and 2 new tenants are moving in in January to join her.

Thanks in advance for any assistance!

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Generally if an agent sets up a tenancy and you want to dispense with the agent you need to part company with the tenants as well or pay their fees.

You can look at the documents now and think you can find all sorts of errors......but when you were asked to sign them ......that was really the right time to do that.

You could call their bluff but if their documents are OK they'll take you to court and probably win.

Remember, if they have been in business for more than 5 minutes they will have been in this position before so, why not just talk to them. You may be able to negotiate a better service, at a lower cost or even a lump sum payment that will release you and your tenant.

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