Letting Agent seeking to unilaterally change terms without my consent

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    Letting Agent seeking to unilaterally change terms without my consent

    Hi all, My first post on this forum although I have lurked for a while. I have a question for experienced landlords. I am the landlord and my letting agent is seeking to unilaterally change the terms of the contract, primarily for their financial benefit. I have challenged the letting agency on this and they give me a response that they can effectively change the terms if they want.

    This is the response I had from the letting agent (I have XXXXX the name of the agent):

    "I have attached your signed Confirmation of Marketing which was done on the 5th December 2017, together with the Terms of Business which are linked with it.

    As per the Terms of Business, clause 7, does confirm that we have the right to make changes to our services to reflect the changes in law and adjustments and that you will be notified in writing, which is the exact case with the new Terms of Business you have received.

    XXXXX has not breached any contract, has followed the law and have provided written proof of the new services.

    Hoping this has now clarified our position."

    My draft response is as follows:

    "Your recent email fails to address my legitimate issues of concern and again demonstrates to me that XXXXX is acting in bad faith.

    I contend that since the beginning of this tenancy XXXXX has been grossly negligent in various respects, including XXXXX's failure to provide the tenant with the signed contracts in a timely manner; the fact that XXXXX provided the tenants with inaccurate and false information, and apparently continues to do so; XXXXX's abject failure to provide the tenant's with pre-paid parking permits that I had delivered to XXXXX's offices; etc. Hence, I reject your assertion that XXXXX has fulfilled its obligations of the contract.

    XXXXX's attempt to unilaterally change the terms of the contract in their favor for financial gain, and without any legal basis, constitutes the last straw. XXXXX's unilateral changes to the contract have in fact created 'unfair terms' to our original contract dated 5 December 2017, which violate my legal rights under the "The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999". Accordingly, I again hereby notify you that I do not accept XXXXX's unilateral changes to the terms and conditions of the contract and that XXXXX's actions constitute a unilateral breach of contract.

    Given where we are at, you are hereby requested to provide me a downloadable copy of the your new 'Terms of Business', as the link you provided doesn't allow downloads and is extremely difficult to read in the format provided. This is further evidence that XXXXX is not being at all transparent in their business dealings.

    You are also requested to provide me with a copy of your formal complaints procedures, including those that relate to any professional organisations to which XXXXX belongs.

    Given that these materials should be readily available to you, I would ask that you please provide the requested materials via return email by on or before 17:00 GMT on Friday, 26 April 2019.

    I trust this clarifies matters."

    So am I missing anything? Also, any suggestions on what else I can do in this case.

    I really feel the letting agent it seeking to take advantage of me (and the tenants), and I really don't want to continue with them any more. I know most agents are the same but this just seems so wrong to me.

    Your advice and feedback are most welcomed!

    Thanks in advance for your input

    For me it would depend on what they are trying to change. The tenant fee ban has meant that agencies will need to think about how they want to operate as for years many agents have overcharged on tenant fees in order to reduce fees paid by the landlord. I have not yet heard of an agent who is suddenly willing to pay for things like referencing and check-outs so I would guess that your agent is simply looking to pass these costs on to you?

    As an agency we have simply told landlords what the costs are and it will be up to them to cover the cost if they want references Perhaps other firms charging ridiculously low fees to landlords have woken up to the fact that their charging structure will need to change in order to remain in business?

    I think you are making it unnecessarily complicated as ultimately you could always just vote with your feet and change agent.It sounds like you are unhappy with them anyway so that may be the best solution all round?


      Thanks Goobs27 for your thoughts. Yes, I am pretty dissatisfied with the letting agent, as all they ever did was find the tenants, run some basic background checks, and all the rest was done by myself (my own contracts, check-in/out, etc). This latest increase in fees just has me livid. Yet, from reading the forum and elsewhere, it would seem getting rid of an agent isn't straightforward.

      Suggestions on best approaches to get rid of such an agent would be most welcomed.


        Write back and explain you are changing the terms of the contract, reducing their % to 0.05%.
        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...


          Contracts have to change if the law changes, and a clause saying that would be reasonable.

          But that's limited to changes required by law, so that (and I guess this is relevant) anything in the contract about the agent collecting fees from tenants or charging a deposit of six week's rent would have to change.

          What the agent can't do is use that clause to then change the fees charged to a landlord as a consequence, because that's not a change arising from a change in the law, it's a commercial decision arising from a change in the law.

          And wording that allowed a change in fees being imposed unilaterally without a corresponding right to end the agreement would probably be unfair.

          In this case, it's clear that the relationship has completely failed and should be ended.
          The kind of bespoke service that the OP requires would be hugely expensive if it were available at all.
          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).


            Please could you tell me if you sorted this out. I have similar problems


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