Letting agent ‘decorated’ my flat without consulting me

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    Letting agent ‘decorated’ my flat without consulting me

    Hello and Happy New Year. I recently had a new tenant move in to my London flat, and as part of the tenancy agreement I said I would redo the skirting boards and replace the curtain rail. I duly contacted both the tenant - whose details the agent supplied - and the contractor who takes care of all the work on my property, and the last I heard from him, he had spoken with the tenant and arranged a visit. I do not use the agents’ contractors at all. That was at the beginning of December, and I haven’t heard anything since, but with the season and everything I didn’t think much of it. However I now see that the agent have charged me £1100 on December 14th for ‘decoration’ - works about which I was never consulted, for which I never received a quote and which I certainly didn’t authorize their contractors to carry out. What I am trying to establish is, from a legal standpoint if nothing else, can they do this? Thanks very much.

    #2
    Please edit the question to remove the actual agent's name.

    What does your agreement with the agent say about decoration and maintenance?
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      Works over £1000 12% (10% + VAT) of invoice total
      Our vetted contractor may pay a referral fee to [us]. The fee paid will be included within the contractor's invoice and could be up to 25% of the total invoice amount depending on the service provided, the details of which are available on request. This does not affect the final amount you pay.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

      Comment


        #4
        Doubt such agreement was party of any formal tenancy agreement. Where/how was it agreed --eg email?

        Check the wording , I suspect you agreed to it ".....being Done...." - or similar wording - rather than specifically you arranging it yourself, specifically not being arranged by agent.

        My agent often asks if I agree to something being done, almost always being done by their contractors.
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

        Comment


          #5
          The last point in the formal tenancy agreement is:

          “The Landlord agrees to repair the skirting board around the kitchen and install a curtain rail at the Landlord’s cost” - no ambiguity there that I can see

          The T&Cs say that the agent reserves the right to carry out any work up to the value of £250, and to any value where works are required to comply with a statutory notice issued by the local authorities, or to comply with any obligation relating to any licence held for the property under the Housing Act 2004 - none of which apply here. In any other case they say they will secure permission from the Landlord before proceeding.


          Comment


            #6
            Who have you received the invoice from, the agent or the contractor?
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              The agent deducted the money directly from the incoming rent before paying to me what was left over. That’s how I noticed it, just because the rental payment was so low I went and checked the statement. I never received notification re commencement or completion of the work, no quote, no invoice.

              Comment


                #8
                When you asked them why they did this, for a copy of all invoices & to withdraw the charge, what did they say? (All in writing/email)

                Follow agent complaints procedure: If not satisfied, then go to letting agent redress scheme - see...
                https://england.shelter.org.uk/housi...edress_schemes
                I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'd write to the manager of the agency and make a formal complaint and ask for the money to be reimbursed as it was not authorised.

                  The (very) least the agent could do is send you the "referral fee" and "admin fee" they've made.
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I think this is something you have to accept sometimes on a property a long way away.

                    Yeah, I know the agent is possibly on the fiddle, but London tenants are a fussy bunch.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Totally disagree. You don’t have to allow agents to help themselves to your money. Being ‘on the fiddle’ is not something we should simply accept, in London or anywhere else. My question was are they legally entitled to do this - if they are ‘on the fiddle’ then I would take that as a ‘no’...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        It's not a legal issue, it's a contractual issue.

                        Legally, they're your agent and can take decisions and act on your behalf.
                        Contractually, they're meant to do what they've agreed with you and not do what they've agreed not to do.

                        From the sound of it, they've gone outside the agreement you have with them and could demand compensation for your loss as a consequence.
                        Have they broken a law? Hard to see that they have.
                        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Is the contract not legally binding? Surely if one party or the other is in breach of contract it can be pursued - if only as a last resort - through the courts? Or - conversely - can I put myself in breach of contract and be assured that there is no possibility of legal action against me?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            There is a limit to the compensation you could obtain. As you intended to do the work, anyway, the main thing you could claim for would be the difference between the quote from your contractor and the one through the agent. Although the agent may get commission, it is unlikely that you would be able to get the same discount, going directly to a contractor. Also, the 25% figure is an upper limit.

                            The other option would be to get an injunction against further such breaches, but that is likely to be costly, and the easier remedy would be to change agents, although watch out for ant-poaching clauses, which may require you to change tenants, as well.

                            Although you can't name and shame here, agents that ignore contracts, particularly national ones, will eventually get a bad reputation and find it difficult to get clients.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I repeat.....
                              Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post

                              Follow agent complaints procedure: If not satisfied, then go to letting agent redress scheme - see...
                              https://england.shelter.org.uk/housi...edress_schemes
                              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                              Comment

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