Letting agent hasn't been paying me? What are my first steps?

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    Letting agent hasn't been paying me? What are my first steps?

    Right, sorry for first post being a rant, but I'm on a number of hobby forums where great advice is given freely to newbies so I have high hopes for you lot.

    I rent out just one house - I'm far from being a professional land lord. I only rent as we had to move in a hurry and it was easier to remortgage and move than wait for a sale.

    Anyway (won't name and shame at this stage) the property is in South Wales and I now live in Gloucester. I pay a monthly fee to the letting agency of £50 and the tenant pays by DD on the 16th of the month.

    It's my fault for not keeping my eye on my account (stupidly busy for the last 16 months with a new company) but over this period I've not been paid my rent for eight months (wondered why I was poor!).

    Rent is £565 a month meaning that they owe me over five grand.

    The letting agency is a member of The Property Ombudsmen. Chase it through them or use a lawyer and the courts?

    Advice much appreciated.

    #2
    First step is to tell tenant to pay you instead, isn't it?

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      #3
      Thanks JKO

      It is, and done. Just wondering how best to get my money back (not the tenant's fault, she's been perfect).

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        #4
        Letter before action, then county court claim if no joy.

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          #5
          Thank you for your advice sir.

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            #6
            Sorry, one last question. Letter should be headed 'notification of legal action' or similar? Is there a template I should use?

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              #7
              What it contains is more important: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/la...r-before-claim However CAB also has a template, which is linked to from that page.

              Also, although some may call you an accidental or amateur landlord, as far at the law is concerned, you are a professional landlord, and subject to all the relevant. laws.

              If you agent has not being paying the rent over to you, they may not have done other things that are legally required.

              You need to take a crash course on landlord law and check the agent's actions. Many people on this forum say it is important to manage your agent.

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                #8
                Oh, I always head it 'Letter before action'. Then details of tenancy etc.

                Then something like:

                Further to our previous discussions, I have not received rent due for my property for the last 8 months.

                This letter is to give you notice that if I do not receive it within the next 14 days, I will be forced to issue a county court claim without further reference to you.

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                  #9
                  That's too brief. Do not say "further to previous discussions". Set out the whole basis on which you expect to be paid, and details of how much you should have been paid, and how much you have actually paid. Sate the amount you consider to be owed and how it is calculated from the other figures.

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                    #10
                    Rent isn't collected by Direct Debit (the payee can cancel a direct debit, so they're not appropriate).

                    If the agent hasn't been paid, neither will you be.
                    So make sure you're suing the right party.

                    Anyone who doesn't notice they've not received rent for 8 months has been complicit in the problem.
                    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).

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                      #11
                      Thanks for all of the advice above.

                      I'm pleased to say I turned up on the agents doorstep at nine am this morning and had a frank conversation. He held his hands up as to fault (had no excuses or explanations) but notably some of the payments I have received we paid by card - I suspect his business is on the rocks.

                      Anyway money is now in my account and a replacement letting agent instructed.

                      And yes, you're right, as an 'accidental landlord' I am complicit. I'm also going to be putting the property on the market with a sitting tenant.

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