Verbal letting agreement with one Agent vs signed agreement with another

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    Verbal letting agreement with one Agent vs signed agreement with another

    I've got myself in a pickle again. Please understand that I have been under significant stress, so not surprisingly I have made stupid decisions.

    In a nutshell, I made a verbal sole agency agreement with my usual letting agent last Thursday to market my property; the agent went away for a week and I had to deal with his colleague to clarify terms of business (TOB) which were quite different to what had been agreed. During the to-ing and fro-ing, I though it prudent to explore other agents' offerings to make sure I was getting a good deal. After a phone call with another agent yesterday, I got taken in by their selling pitch (I was stressed and exhausted), and even though I asked to get back to them, they said offer was a "one time only deal" (not even a good one) and I stupidly agreed and then felt duty-bound to sign the TOB electronically later that day. I honestly cannot understand why I did that. Still, it is done, but something I truly regret.

    Today, my usual agent returned and confirmed that wrong TOBs had been sent to me by mistake, and he was naturally upset that I had signed with another agent especially since I had given him (usual agent) the keys and he had taken photos for marketing - as far as he thought, we had a done deal. He has also been so very helpful in the past in many ways. I haven't met the new agent yet nor has he seen the property in person or taken photos and he has no keys. I explained to the new agent that I had made a mistake and that ethically I should honour the verbal agreement as it was simply a misunderstanding that stopped me signing the TOBs, but the new agent will not release me from the contract I signed. I even offered some financial incentive to no avail. There is no cancellation clause in the contract.

    My questions are:
    1. is there any cooling off period for contracts signed in this way?
    2. Does my verbal agreement with my usual agent, which I am prepared to stand by, render the new contract void (was I even at liberty to enter into it?)

    Not sure what to do from here.


    assume everything I write is preceded by IMHO...

    #2
    This is governed by the Consumer Contracts Information Cancellation and Additional Charges Regulations 2013 section 6 d which states the cooling off period does not apply to residential lettings. Whether that covers landlord to letting agent is unclear.

    The contract you entered into with the new agent is probably enforceable, but it isn't good business practice to pressure with the 'one off only deal'. Have you looked to see if the new agent is a member of any arbitration scheme?

    Perhaps a letter to the new agent cancelling the arrangement would be best stating you felt pressured and do not wish to continue with this arrangement etc. Will they sue, it's unlikely, but they may threaten. Have you checked them out on the review sites. If they have bad reviews you could also mention that has been a deciding factor as you are unhappy with the way they do business.

    Next time just hang up.

    Comment


      #3
      I don't see why the right to cancel doesn't apply here.
      The contract was signed electronically and remotely and there should be a 14 day cooling off period.

      The contract is not for residential accommodation or investment, the agent's services are ancillary to those purposes.
      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
        Many thanks for your responses.

        Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
        Have you looked to see if the new agent is a member of any arbitration scheme? .
        The new agent is part of a well established chain in London (70 branches) and are members of ARLA and TPO. With such a presence and reputation, I assumed their view was right - that I had no rights to cancel. There is nothing in the letter of appointment regarding cancellation.

        I contacted TPO but they said they could only lodge a complaint, not give legal advice as they were not legal experts. Fair enough. I imagine the same would be for ARLA.

        Nevertheless, I have now written to the agent asking to cancel under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013, but have also asked for them to explain why they think my situation is excluded from these regulations. Will post an update once I get their legal viewpoint.

        assume everything I write is preceded by IMHO...

        Comment


          #5
          if you haven't paid any money, i seriously doubt they would sue, the potential repurcussions to reputation would be high, and as has been said, i thought any contact had right to a cooling off period when done like that.

          Comment


            #6
            The new agent called me and said that he felt the regulations did not apply as the contract was signed after the telephone call, where I had time to read it and think about it before signing; in his view the regulations apply to pressure selling/signing over the phone. Despite this, he isn't going to push the issue and would be happy to be my agent when my usual agent fails to find a tenant.

            So the outcome is that I am out of the contract, but I would really like to know definitively who is right as in one scenario I have rights and am exercising them, and in the other scenario I am throwing myself at the mercy/goodwill of the agent where I have to grovel "please release me, let me go".
            assume everything I write is preceded by IMHO...

            Comment


              #7
              The agent is not correct.
              They're broadly correct about the purpose of the regulations, but not the timescale.

              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


                #8
                How can their agreement not have a cancellation option anyways? It would be highly unlikely that once signed you would be held indefinitely to that contract, without ever being able to terminate it.

                Comment

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