Letting agent illegally sublet my property.

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    Letting agent illegally sublet my property.

    Hi,

    I was wondering if I could get some advice. I let out my property with a estate agent I found online which is a standard template by the looks of it and is a short hold tenancy agreement with a sub clause they added which allows them to sublet. My issue here is as per below:

    1. My agreement ends mid July 2019
    2. After speaking with them they have told me they have a tenancy agreement (with the tenants they put in my property) from Jan 2019 for 12 months
    3. The estate agent did not inform me that he wanted to keep tenants past July 2019 nor did I accept any contract past our fixed term end date
    4. I have never met the tenants nor signed any contract with them
    5. The estate agents have said the are not paying any court fees and that I would have to evict the tenants myself

    Does the estate agent contract stand even though I was not aware of any tenancy past the fixed term end date? and is the eviction of the current tenants a cost I have to bear?

    Also what would be the best course of action to take here? After doing some digging around I found that they are registered to a home address to a single individual who I have been dealing with and that his company is not registered with any redress schemes either

    The business is registered on companies house as:
    • 68320 - Management of real estate on a fee or contract basis


    Thanks in advance

    Shaz

    #2
    Originally posted by shazab _rafiq View Post
    .................... I let out my property with a estate agent I found online which is a standard template by the looks of it and is a short hold tenancy agreement with a sub clause they added which allows them to sublet. ....................
    So the letting agent subletting is an entirely legal tenancy between them & the occupants - who are their tenants. The occupants are not your tenant, that is the letting agent.

    Was this a "Guaranteed rent" scheme/scam?

    Suggest you engage a solicitor expert in such rent-to-rent deals (v dodgy..) and attempt to get everyone out and you contract with agent ended.
    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


      #3
      If they are not in a redress scheme, also inform Trading Standards.

      Comment


        #4
        If the contract with the company comes to an end, either because it simply ends or because one of you ends it, the tenants will simply become your tenants.
        That can cause you lots of issues - deposit, tenancy documentation, prescribed documentation etc.

        If the arrangement has been working fine up to now, I'd let it run and agree with the agent that when this tenancy ends, so will your arrangement with them.

        If you signed an agreement that allowed subletting, the subletting is unlikely to be "illegal".
        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


          #5
          Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
          So the letting agent subletting is an entirely legal tenancy between them & the occupants - who are their tenants. The occupants are not your tenant, that is the letting agent.

          Was this a "Guaranteed rent" scheme/scam?

          Suggest you engage a solicitor expert in such rent-to-rent deals (v dodgy..) and attempt to get everyone out and you contract with agent ended.
          The letting agent made a contract with the tenants for 12 months from jan 2019, I was only made aware of this by him recently. My contract is with me and him which ends in July 2019. What he has said to me is he cannot get them out until December 2019. I dont want those tenants as I have some family friends who are happy to rent from me. I rang him to let him know im moving family friends in after July 2019 when our contract ends and in turn he told me he renewed his contract with his tenants (who he sublet too) for 12 months without my knowledge or approval

          Yes this was a Guarentted rent scheme which is due to end in July 2019 (started July 2017)

          I think I may speak with a solicitor today just wanted to know if there is anything I can do without paying huge legal fees

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
            If they are not in a redress scheme, also inform Trading Standards.
            I am planning on doing so but im not sure if they classify as en estate agent as nature of business is:
            • 68320 - Management of real estate on a fee or contract basis

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
              If the contract with the company comes to an end, either because it simply ends or because one of you ends it, the tenants will simply become your tenants.
              That can cause you lots of issues - deposit, tenancy documentation, prescribed documentation etc.

              If the arrangement has been working fine up to now, I'd let it run and agree with the agent that when this tenancy ends, so will your arrangement with them.

              If you signed an agreement that allowed subletting, the subletting is unlikely to be "illegal".
              My contract ends in July 2019, I have other tenants and was not made aware of the current tenants. They have signed a tenancy with the letting agent until December 2019. This surpasses the end of my contract date which is what I thought has made it illegal

              The subletting was completely legal as I was aware of this in the contract

              Comment


                #8
                The agent may have been a bit stupid to rent to tenants for a longer period than their agreement with you, but that's all.
                Presumably, they had no reason to think it wouldn't simply continue because most other types of tenancy do.

                There's no reason that your agreement with the agent can't be extended.

                The agent is wrong about the cost of eviction.
                You would have had a loss arising out of your agreement with the agent that was not contemplated when you both entered the agreement and could demand compensation from the agent for your loss.

                But neither you nor the agent can end the tenant's tenancy until after their current tenancy fixed term ends (unless they stop paying rent or massively breach the terms of the agreement).
                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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                  The agent may have been a bit stupid to rent to tenants for a longer period than their agreement with you, but that's all.
                  Presumably, they had no reason to think it wouldn't simply continue because most other types of tenancy do.

                  There's no reason that your agreement with the agent can't be extended.

                  The agent is wrong about the cost of eviction.
                  You would have had a loss arising out of your agreement with the agent that was not contemplated when you both entered the agreement and could demand compensation from the agent for your loss.

                  But neither you nor the agent can end the tenant's tenancy until after their current tenancy fixed term ends (unless they stop paying rent or massively breach the terms of the agreement).
                  Thank you this is very helpful. I dont want to be dealing with this agent any more so after July i want to cut ties (when my tenancy agreement ends with the agent). He also put in council tenants without telling me

                  After July what happens with current tenants as they signed a contract with the agent until end of the year, however my contract with the agent (between landlord and agent) ends in July.

                  Am I right in assuming I can get tenants to leave after July as my contract has ended in July and I am not going to renew with that agent, I have my own tenants lined up who I will manage myself? The current tenants signed a contract with the agent but he had no right to my property past July

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Any law that allowed you to regain possession in July would conflict with public policy on security of tenure. I believe you take over the existing tenancies for their full fixed term and with the same notice requirements and potential possession delays as if they had always been your tenants. You should not commit to let it to anyone else until the you have actual possession.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      What does your agreement with agent say about how it continues after July 2019?

                      If it really does end the occupants become your tenants on same terms as their AST with agents. S18 Housing Act 1988
                      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


                        #12
                        Originally posted by shazab _rafiq View Post

                        Thank you this is very helpful. I dont want to be dealing with this agent any more so after July i want to cut ties (when my tenancy agreement ends with the agent). He also put in council tenants without telling me

                        After July what happens with current tenants as they signed a contract with the agent until end of the year, however my contract with the agent (between landlord and agent) ends in July.

                        Am I right in assuming I can get tenants to leave after July as my contract has ended in July and I am not going to renew with that agent, I have my own tenants lined up who I will manage myself? The current tenants signed a contract with the agent but he had no right to my property past July
                        First of all check the wording to ensure that it does actually end - if they've based the agreement on a residential AST it probably continues until someone ends it.

                        If your agreement does come to an end while the tenants are within the fixed term of their tenancy agreement with the agent, you become their landlord (which means there are a number of annoying things you would have to do) and you would only be able to serve notice for them to leave at the end of their fixed term

                        You will probably then have to go to court to evict them (if they are receiving benefits, they will be told to wait to be evicted otherwise they will deliberately be making themselves homeless, which affects their future support.

                        There's no way to end the tenant's contract early (realistically) - even if it's not your agreement, you inherit it and are stuck with it.

                        As they're currently not your tenants it's not really your risk if they're not the type of tenant you would prefer - the agent is taking the risk of non-rent payment or damage.

                        Your new tenants won't be able to move in until the current one's leave (and it's only March, which is a bit early for a tenancy in July anyway).

                        I think you're realistically stuck with the agent.
                        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
                          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                          First of all check the wording to ensure that it does actually end - if they've based the agreement on a residential AST it probably continues until someone ends it.

                          If your agreement does come to an end while the tenants are within the fixed term of their tenancy agreement with the agent, you become their landlord (which means there are a number of annoying things you would have to do) and you would only be able to serve notice for them to leave at the end of their fixed term

                          You will probably then have to go to court to evict them (if they are receiving benefits, they will be told to wait to be evicted otherwise they will deliberately be making themselves homeless, which affects their future support.

                          There's no way to end the tenant's contract early (realistically) - even if it's not your agreement, you inherit it and are stuck with it.

                          As they're currently not your tenants it's not really your risk if they're not the type of tenant you would prefer - the agent is taking the risk of non-rent payment or damage.

                          Your new tenants won't be able to move in until the current one's leave (and it's only March, which is a bit early for a tenancy in July anyway).

                          I think you're realistically stuck with the agent.
                          Thank you this is great info. However given that im stuck with this agent and he wont have a contract in place after July I feel he may go and secure more tenants after December. What happens if he then signs another contract with more tenants after these ones have left? He can endlessly carry on which doesnt seem right to me

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                            What does your agreement with agent say about how it continues after July 2019?

                            If it really does end the occupants become your tenants on same terms as their AST with agents. S18 Housing Act 1988
                            Nothing about any continuation in the contract. It simply ends in July and handed back to me

                            Comment


                              #15
                              In which case, I think it's in both of your interests to agree a new contract, which can have new terms, including that the property won't be let to anyone in future without your agreement and can be terminated at any point by either of you with a month's notice (and in the case of the agent only with vacant possession).

                              You'll probably need to get someone professional to draft the agreement.
                              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

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