Is it reasonable to ask agent to modify letting agreement (and sack them if refused)?

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    Is it reasonable to ask agent to modify letting agreement (and sack them if refused)?

    I am using a new agent for a tenant-find only. (A national chain)
    When I was discussing their services I did ask for a copy of their letting agreement but I never received it and foolishly didn't insist.

    Now that I have accepted a tenant that they found and they have sent me the agreement to sign, I find clauses in it that I don't like.
    They refuse point blank to change or omit anything.

    Examples include a clause making me responsible to provide and maintain TV aerial (when I said please omit this as there isn't one, they said it's a legal requirement - nonsense surely)
    and a clause which appears to make me responsible for insuring tenants' contents. (I asked that if they wouldn't change that clause, they assure me formally in writing that I wouldn't be held responsible, but they won't do that either.) Plus some out-and-out errors in my details which they have said they will correct but not actually done so.

    We have been arguing for 2 weeks - though much of that has been deafening silence on their side --and they have done nothing to put my mind at rest, so that I am now considering sacking them and going to another agent. They will doubtless say I have to pay them because they found a tenant, but I feel they are not fulfilling their side of the agreement.
    I lost all confidence in their professionalism when they didn't understand about the "address for the serving of notices" needing to be in the UK

    If they fail to provide a suitable contract for me to sign in time for the tenant to move in on the agreed date, can I just say, well you are not doing what I engaged you to do?

    Thoughts please...

    #2
    Incidentally, the tenant they found did not fully meet my specification anyway, but that may not be relevant as I did accept them

    Comment


      #3
      There may be a practical issue if a branch of a national chain offers a contract different to the ones in use everywhere in the organisation.
      It might lead to the tenant being misinformed about something because the staff would be trained to answer questions and enquiries about their standard terms and wouldn't be aware that yours are different.

      That said, the agreement does sound odd.

      There is no legal requirement to provide and maintain a TV ariel.
      I doubt most people under the age of 65 know what a TV arial lead looks like.

      I've already responded to your question about insurance (and can't imagine any large chain would be so wrong).
      It puts an impossible requirement on you.

      You will owe them something for finding the tenant, but I don't think that they can ask you to agree to a tenancy agreement with at least one term you can't possibly fulfil.

      Be careful though, if they've sent the agreement to the tenant and the tenant has agreed it, you're going to be bound by the contract anyway.
      Unless it says it needs your signature to be valid, the tenant's agreement is likely to be enough.
      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


        #4
        Fire agent. Start again with an agent who's paperwork you are happy with. Poor old tenant.

        ​​​​​​Unless just this once a TV aerial provision is cheaper.
        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...

        Comment


          #5
          It has to be a basic principle that an agent cannot dictate to a landlord the terms on which he lets his property.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
            Be careful though, if they've sent the agreement to the tenant and the tenant has agreed it, you're going to be bound by the contract anyway.
            Unless it says it needs your signature to be valid, the tenant's agreement is likely to be enough.
            That sounds extremely scary as I know that the tenant already signed some time ago.
            Apart from the clauses I don't like, the agreement in its current, uncorrected form has my bank account details incomplete, and, most importantly, the "address for service of notices" as my overseas address when I TOLD them to use the UK address from which I have my mail forwarded. I believe this address being in England/Wales is a legal requirement. So if the agreement somehow goes ahead even though I Don't sign, what happens about this kind of error?

            I have, though written to the agent saying that they do not have any authority to sign on my behalf as I am not happy with the contract, and I also e-mailed the tenant to let them know that there may be a problem coming, and I told them that the agent cannot sign on my behalf.
            Surely that ought to make a difference?


            I do feel sorry for the would-be tenant but I have visions of this agreement being an unholy mess...

            Comment


              #7
              Trying to post but system is flagging it as "potential spam"!

              Comment


                #8
                Agreed with above. Write to them formally saying you wont agree to this contract. There is little they can do if the tenant has already moved in.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                  Be careful though, if they've sent the agreement to the tenant and the tenant has agreed it, you're going to be bound by the contract anyway.
                  Unless it says it needs your signature to be valid, the tenant's agreement is likely to be enough.
                  This bit is worrying - but I have specifically notified both agent and would-be tenant that agent does not have authority to sign for me, and tenant has not yet paid rent or deposit - so no contract, surely??

                  Comment


                    #10
                    errr.. if tenant and agent has signed contract surely there's little landlord can do??
                    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...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I just mailed tenant again re-iterating not to pay money to the agent unles they have confirmation that I have signed the contract.
                      At present agent is ignoring me again, and has not even corrected the most glaring errors - ie incomplete bank details, and "address for service of notices" given as my overseas address though I TOLD them the address in England and ~Wales to use!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                        errr.. if tenant and agent has signed contract surely there's little landlord can do??
                        But they sent contract to me for signature!
                        And said nothing about me being bound by it even if I decided not to sign!

                        (Bear in mind I hadn't even seen it though asked for it at least twice, but it was only sent AFTER tenant had signed)

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Right, I should be OK, as tenant has confirmed receipt of my e-mail telling them not to pay anything to the agent, and that the agent no longer has my authority to receive money for me, to enter into a contract, or to give access to the property. I have said same to agent, following up a more formal letter sent a couple of days back

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by slopemaster View Post

                            But they sent contract to me for signature!
                            And said nothing about me being bound by it even if I decided not to sign!

                            (Bear in mind I hadn't even seen it though asked for it at least twice, but it was only sent AFTER tenant had signed)
                            Fair enough, your decision what to accept or not: My agents sign people up without (usually) discussion with me - I trust them.

                            Good luck! Done any training as a landlord (eg NRLA courses...)
                            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...

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks all for the advice.

                              I have now sacked the agent, as they insisted the insurance clause had to stay "because it could be a condition of your mortgage".

                              Comment

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