Dodgy agency, complications leaving. advice needed!

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    Dodgy agency, complications leaving. advice needed!

    Hi there world of landlord zone...

    Im in need of some desperate help!


    long story short I'm a landlord I currently let two properties to long terms tenants, both using the same agency.

    However in the last year the agency has given me countless headaches with their mismanagement & negligence.

    Im in the process of trying to take over the management of the properties myself and keep the current tenants,
    However the agency is not being at all helpful.
    They want over £1500 of fees (stated in the contract at £600 per property)(£180 each property for check out) for me to exit the contracts, I’m stating that because of their incompetence & mismanagement I am not prepared to pay that money. Ive offered £600 as a settlement offer.

    Now the agent has taken it upon himself to withhold my rent monies (£636) to compensate his fees and still wants the rest to be paid, he’s also refusing to pay back tenants deposits held in the DPS scheme stating a proper check out is needed (my argument is a check out is N/A as the tenants are not vacating the property and I am assuming responsibility from here on in).

    Im trying to gather as much info as I can so I can come to a conclusion if I have a case or not or if I should bite the bullet and up despite the blackmail from the agent.

    If someone could get back to me or point me in the right direction it’d be much appreciated!

    other points: The agent has given me 3 different sets of fees for leaving. firstly £1320 - I asked for a breakdown, he sent me...
    second £1560 (£600 per property plus £180 check out fee.

    after previously expressing I was unhappy with the service I was getting months ago I was assured things would change, naturally mistakes are still being made, ie rent money forgetting to be paid into my account, not sending landlord statements with the payments) so ive written the agent a 3 page letter detailing many occasions of negligence and poor management also claiming I wish to bring our contract to a close. ive also given written permission signed by myself and the tenants for their deposit to be paid back to them directly in full (so they can be re invested into the DPS under my account)

    ive also signed new contracts with the tenants from the 1st of feb to reassure them that despite what the agency may throw, they are not being evicted. the contracts were drawn up with the idea to take over as soon as the current contract with the agency ends (if people suggest this is a bad idea then I'm happy to destroy these new contracts)

    the contract I have in place states no where the amount of time given to end the contract. therefore I could potentially give formal notice to end the contract at anytime.

    The agent has since replied to my letter obviously not apologising or taking responsibility for my allegations, also claiming everything ive set up is void and my letter wishing to leave the agreement is not valid... also threatening court if the leaving fees are not met. as well as that he's also claiming that if the tenants do not pay the rent to him as normal (11th of the month - roughly in two weeks since this was posted) then his accounts will be in areas and the tenants are liable etc.

    my argument is I am the actual landlord and my accounts will not be in areas. and also he shall no longer be employed to manage the properties so how is that applicable?

    like I stated earlier, despite my written permission to him (and DPS) to release the deposits back to the tenants, he is unwilling to proceed and won't play ball until his fees are met. also is he not willing to negotiate the fees at all and is now claiming I'm in breach of contract for going behind his back.

    Any suggestions, pointers and even solicitor recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
    I fully understand Im not perfect and I may well have made some mistakes here but I'm willing to learn and I'm eager for any help.



    Many Thanks & Take Care

    787Gr

    #2
    You can complain about the poor service to whatever redress scheme the Agent belongs to but if you dont want to pay a fee to which you are contractually bound, you will probably need the help of a solicitor, which could cost you more than the fee.

    Comment


      #3
      Tell the agent that he is your agent and therefore he is required to do what you instruct, as long as it is not illegal.

      It is not illegal to return the deposit to the tenant, and therefore that is what agent must do.

      If the tenant has signed a new contract with you, then that is binding even if you destroy the copies.


      You need to ensure that you get all the documentation you require from the agent (if you do not already have it), such as
      • record of service of applicable documents.
      • inventory/condition report at start of occupation.
      • Proof of right to rent.
      • proof of deposit protection and Prescribed Information

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
        if you dont want to pay a fee to which you are contractually bound, you will probably need the help of a solicitor.
        Exit fee might be deemed an unfair term?

        787greenliner, my personal view is that if the agent has been demonstrably ineffective / negligent you should be able to end your agreement without any exit charges and that is probably what I would be pushing for in that case.

        You need to be very specific about everything they have done wrong in order to make a case. There are a few codes of practice in existence (e.g. https://www.tpos.co.uk/images/Codes_..._June_2019.pdf) which can be a very useful reference. You might do well to find the most relevant one and list instances where your agent has not complied.

        I would say definitely pursue the redress scheme route. It is slow but it can be effective.

        And yes the agent works for you. They cannot start running the tenancy as if it were their own.

        The documentation MdeB mentioned has the potential to strengthen your case with the agent (while weakening your position with the tenants, although it sounds as if that is not a major concern here) since they might not have it. Were they found not to have done e.g. Right to Rent checks - or be unable to prove it - that provides ammunition for you.
        There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

        Comment


          #5
          I doubt it would be considered an unfair term, its pretty standard practice for agents to charge a fee if their client wants to end the contract early. However, I agree that where there has been incompetence this should be challenged by a landlord.

          Comment

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