Battle with estate agent over fees due to change in tenancy agreement

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    Battle with estate agent over fees due to change in tenancy agreement

    Dear All,

    I'll be brief. The estate agent found tenants under a tenant finder only service - no rent collection etc. I stated I wanted at least a stated minimum rent and that the property would be unfurnished. They came back with a rent under my stated minimum and that tenants wanted it furnished for two years with no break clause. The tenants signed an agreement to that effect. I refused. I sent through my own tenancy agreement to the estate which stated my minimum rent and unfurnished with a one year break clause (for my sake and that of the tenants'). I have no idea at the moment whether the tenants signed that one, the estate agent never sent it back to me signed.

    Come move in day, due to swap over in estate agent rep as the original one moved offices, the tenants turned up on Saturday shocked to see the place unfurnished. They were young graduates, I could hardly leave them on the doorstep, they had no beds no furniture at all, they'd be sleeping on wooden or tiled flooring. They had somewhere else they could stay for that night, so I produced another tenancy agreement saying part-furnished with the beds etc I sourced on a Sunday (which was incredibly hard work and completely messed up my weekend), this time just for a year for the day after the original (their argument was why would they pay for a day that they couldn't actually stay in the property, which I thought fair enough).

    Now the agent is chasing me for fees across a two year tenancy agreement but the one we have all signed is just for one year (I didn't sign the original incorrect estate agent produced tenancy agreement) and say they'll take the extra year from the tenants' deposit if I don't pay. Our current signed agreement has a new start date and is for just one year part-furnished, nothing like their patently incorrect two year contract with incorrect rent and furnished status.

    Can I lawfully stand my ground and demand they release the deposit now that I have paid them fees for the one year?

    #2
    I don't see how they can take it from the tenant's deposit, as that is the tenant's money, not yours, or the agents.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi there,

      I agree - but I looked at the terms and teh conditions I signed with them and it says they can do this if they have the written consent of the tenant. I imagine that means it is on the T and Cs the tenants signed with them. Seems strange though, that they can take what the tenant believes is for a deposit and that it will be protected and then they do not protect it.

      Comment


        #4
        Although I don't know the details of the law on this, I can't see how a clause that gives pre-authorisation for this would be acceptable in a tenancy agreement. It would undermine the whole deposit system.

        Comment


          #5
          I agree!

          Any thoughts on the fees question? I don't really see how they can enforce the two year fee when their own tenancy agreement was wrong and not signed by me, but wondering whether I'm missing something.

          Comment


            #6
            You would need to go through the fine print of the agreement with the agent.

            Comment


              #7
              Ah, ok.

              I didn't sign their incorrect tenancy agreement and the one I sent them for the tenants to sign (I hadn't signed yet) they have not returned to me. So for all they know their is no current tenancy agreement.

              It's a mess and crappy estate agents. I don't want to pay them double fees when the agreement is only for one year, I just want to know where I stand. They have been negligent for not sending back a signed agreement!

              As far as I can tell, the fees are calculated on the tenancy agreement and the only one signed by all is the one I have which is for one year.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Conflicted View Post
                I agree - but I looked at the terms and teh conditions I signed with them and it says they can do this if they have the written consent of the tenant.
                That doesn't tell you much. That just describe how deposit work, it can (only) be deducted with the consent of the tenant.

                You probably do need to pay some commission, since they did find the tenant. OTOH, they completely ignored your instructions which they are required as agent to act in accordance with, and it ended up costing you time and money (to pay for the bed).

                Personally, I'd tell them you require them to transfer the deposit to you (assuming that was going to be the arrangment), you'll pay the commission for the one year, and everyone call it quits there else you'll sue them for the deposit and commensation for breach of fiduciary duty.

                While we're here. Make sure you protect the deposit correctly and give full deposit prescribed information within the time limit, whether the agent have given you the deposit or not.

                Oh, I hope a valid GSC have been given to the tenant whether by the agent or you before the tenant moved in (and you have proof of that), else no s21........
                I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Conflicted View Post
                  I didn't sign their incorrect tenancy agreement
                  It wouldn't matter whether you signed it or not if the agent did on your behalf (whether with your permission or not), you would probably had been bound by it in relation to the tenant. However, since the tenant have signed a new one with you, at least you don't have to worry about that from a landlord & tenant point of view.
                  I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                  I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Agent charging by length of tenancy for tenant-find only?

                    Round my way it is a fixed charge: they find; tenant signs; I take tenant away and have no further contact.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Dear All,

                      Thank you for your advice and messages.

                      Yes, I have a gas safety certificate. I live a few moments from Grenfell, I'd never put my tenants in harm's way intentionally. And yes, if I get nothing from the estate agent's by way of deposit, I'll protect it myself within a week or two.

                      The agent has been cunning because on signing with them I stated I would NOT pay renewal fees, so having the tenant agree to two years and then charging me for a % of 24 months instead of the usual 12 was there way of getting around that I believe.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        "Personally, I'd tell them you require them to transfer the deposit to you (assuming that was going to be the arrangment), you'll pay the commission for the one year, and everyone call it quits there else you'll sue them for the deposit and commensation for breach of fiduciary duty."

                        This was my intention, even though I don't think they deserve eve that. The new furnishings cost me £1200, and I sourced them as cheaply as possible given the short notice!

                        Comment

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