Letting Agent Issues - Where do I stand?

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    Letting Agent Issues - Where do I stand?

    Hi all,

    New to the forum looking for some advise before I pounce.

    I rent out a 2 bed property with a local letting agency, they are a TPO member. Could someone please advise where I stand on the below?

    Firstly, the old tenant gave noticed half way through the month, they pay on the 1st of the month therefore owing me just over 2 weeks rents. The letting agency failed to realise this and are now chasing the payment, this was 3 weeks ago, no update, no payment.

    Secondly, the new tenant has moved in, I've not seen or signed any new agreement, no references, credit checks, nothing. I've been to the property this evening to fix the washing machine, a copy of the agreement was on the worktop (signed by the "landlord", not my signature), the tenant has paid 6 months rent in advance without me knowing, therefor the letting agent has £3600 of my money sat in his account.

    I'd already decided I was going to manage the property myself going forward but wanted to wait until my previous tenants money has been paid. Having found out that they have 6 months of my rent, I want to know where I stand with this legally, what I can do to exit the contract with the agency and get paid all I am owed.

    Thanks in advance.

    #2
    The terms of your agreement with the agent are specific to what you have agreed/signed with them.
    So you need to look at that agreement for how you end it.

    Experience tells me that leaving the agent when they've just found a tenant may be tricky or costly.

    There's no way a tenant on an AST can give valid notice to leave part way through a rental period. So that situation shouldn't arise.

    Agents are usually able to sign tenancy agreements on behalf of a landlord. However, signing a tenancy agreement before the tenant does is poor practice.

    What are you paying the agent for if you're fixing the washing machine?
    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
      Thank you,

      I've requested a copy of my original contract with the agency when they first took over the management.

      The previous tenant left after the original 6 months rental period. They were on a rolling monthly contract with 30 days notice. They pay me on the 1st of the month for the month, but gave notice on the 13th of the month. The agency failed to realise they have only paid me to the end of the month and I had to point out the date they gave notice and the fact they owe me almost 2 weeks rent. That's my first issue, mainly the fact it has taken me to point this out for them to realise. 3 weeks later I still have no payment.

      The other main issue I have is the new tenant has paid 6 months rent up front but the agency has not told me this. Ok, the agency may be allowed to sign on my behalf, but where is my copy of the contract and why have they not disclosed that the tenant is paying up front?

      Should the agency keep this money and drip feed it to me monthly, or should they take their cut from the lot and send me the rest? What's my legal standpoint here and why so secretive?

      Overall, I just feel the level of service is poor, I always have to chase my money, there is no set payment date. They screwed up my previous tenants rent letting them leave the property without paying what they should have, and finally, the issue above with the new tenant.

      My Dad's a plumber, it was an excuse to meet the tenant as I have lost confidence with the agency completely.

      Comment


        #4
        Unless the payment and the periods of the tenancy had gone out of sync, the tenant should pay rent on the first day of a tenancy period. A tenant can't give notice that ends on any date other than the last day of a tenancy agreement unless you or the agent agree otherwise, which means the payment issue should never arise.

        What the agent has to do with any advance rent should be in your contract with them. If it doesn't say anything to the contrary, they should hand over the advance rent in full less their fee.

        Go and visit the agent and demand an explanation. Wanting a lot of money up front is usually a sign that the tenant's credit rating isn't that good.
        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
          The previous tenant requested to change the payment date from the 16th to the 1st of the month but keeping the agreement start and end dates the same.

          I've got a copy of the contract now and nothing is mentioned regarding advanced payments so I'll be requesting the amount minus fee's. I have to give 3 months notice to terminate my agreement with the agent, so I'll be giving this asap.

          Thanks for your help today.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by whyleya View Post
            The previous tenant requested to change the payment date from the 16th to the 1st of the month but keeping the agreement start and end dates the same.
            Next time, don't agree to that.

            Agree that if the tenant pays early that's fine with you, but that the contracted dates don't change.
            Even agree that the payment will be a fortnight late and you'll wait before taking any action.

            It makes sense to synchronise rent payments with when salary is received (and it's something that is invariably overlooked when the move in date - and therefore the contract date is set), but if you allow the actual rent due date to change, the problem you have experienced tends to happen, and recovering the missing rent is tricky.
            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
              Thought I'd update the thread.

              The previous tenant still hasn't paid the agent the missing rent, but the agent has now paid it to me.

              I queried the 6 months in advanced with the agent, The tenant is self employed which is why they asked him to pay in advance, still not happy I wasn't made aware of this though.

              Anyhow, the agent has also sent on the remaining 5 months rent minus their fee.

              I've just given the agent my notice (3 months), so should expect to see a couple months fee back.

              I live 10 minutes drive from the rented property so I think I'm going to manage it myself going forward. Plenty of research to be done.

              Thanks for all the help and replies.

              Comment

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