Terminating contract with letting agent

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    Terminating contract with letting agent

    I have a contract with a letting agent to manage a property which was signed in 2016. The contract states:

    "...For a period of three years from the date here of 13/ "

    The full date hasn't been included in the above statement in the actual contract but anyhow it has been over 3 years. I wish to terminate this contract and manage the property myself as the agent doesn't really do much. The termination clause in the contract is as follows:

    "The agents employment hereunder may be determined at any time after the completion of this contract by either of the parties giving to the other two months in writing hereof unless a tenant placed by the agent is in the property then the agreement will continue to be binding on both parties until the tenant has vacated".

    Is the above clause reasonable or can it be challenged as it basically binds me to the contract forever until the tenant vacates. Its also come to my attention the agent hasn't placed the tenants deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme.

    Any advise appreciated of how I can end this contract.

    #2
    Also note the tenant has approached me multiple times and would prefer to deal with me directly instead of the agent.

    Comment


      #3
      That kind of clause is quite common in letting agent contracts, and, as it doesn't bind you forever, it is probably not unfair (although that's something only a court can decide, that's just my opinion).

      I'd talk to the agent, because not protecting the tenant's deposit is quite serious and they may be amenable to a sensible end to the relationship.
      If you end the relationship acrimoniously, there are potential problems getting copies of documents, and, if the agent made a mess of the deposit, there's a reasonable chance that there are other things that they should have done, but didn't.

      I am always concerned when a tenant would prefer to deal direct than through an agent.
      What has the agent done to make that happen that you don't know about, and why do you want it not to happen in future?
      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
        The agent doesn't own the tenant...if the tenant want to do business directly with me then thats his choice isn't it? You mention "it doesn't bind me forever" however the clause states the contract ends when the tenant vacates.

        What does vacate actually mean. I could tell the tenant he can live there for free for a while. Where does that leave this contract then?

        Comment


          #5
          Unless it's defined in the agreement somewhere, vacates would mean what it means in English.
          Living somewhere rent free is not my understanding of "vacating", which I would interpret to mean move out.
          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


            #6
            The agent has also never shared the contract he's signed with the tenant and says he's unable to share this with me under data protection. Is this normal practice that agents don't share the contract signed by the tenant. Apparently he's been getting the tenant to sign 6 month renewal contracts - information to which I have no knowledge. He's also showing rental payments collected to me as £10 less than what he's actually collected from the tenant and what he's written on the tenants receipt.

            Please note i'm taking ownership of this as my wife was previously managing this property with the agent and she's has no idea what she's discussed/agreed with him - basically she has no financial acumen!

            Comment


              #7
              I would say that failing to protect a deposit is such a fundamental breach of their contractual duty that you can treat their failure as a repudiatory breach and terminate the contract. As jpkeates said you could talk to them. If that doesn't go well write to them terminating due to the above.

              Get your tenant on board to sign a new AST, but you either need to get the deposit from the agent and protect it before the new tenancy commences, or take the loss yourself, and return it/protect it.

              Ensure you comply with all your other admin duties, gsc, how to rent, electrical safety etc otherwise you'll end up in a mess again.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Adam78 View Post
                The agent has also never shared the contract he's signed with the tenant and says he's unable to share this with me under data protection. Is this normal practice that agents don't share the contract signed by the tenant.
                This is complete and utter nonsense.
                The contract is (or should be) between you or your wife (whoever is the landlord) and the tenant.
                As such, the agreement is your property (if not your copyright).

                It makes me suspect that the agent is letting the property as a landlord, rather than as your agent.

                Otherwise, the personal data collected by the agent was collected at the landlord's request and belongs to the landlord.
                The Information Commissioner's Office made its position clear years and years ago, imposing a requirement on letting agents to secure tenants or prospective tenant's permission to share the data they were collecting.

                If the agent is acting as your agent, the £10 difference in the rent collected, passed on and receipted would almost certainly be a fraud and probably theft by conversion.
                Alternatively, if they are acting as the landlord, they may be renting it at a different rate than they rent it from you.

                If it is fraud, I'd say that's grounds for immediately ending any contract, and that you report the matter to the police (you can usually do that online).
                You (or your wife) could sue for the stolen rent.

                The only problem I can see in any of this is that the agent has no business relationship with you and might decline to discuss anything with you, on the basis it's - genuinely - none of your business.
                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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                  This is complete and utter nonsense.
                  The contract is (or should be) between you or your wife (whoever is the landlord) and the tenant.
                  As such, the agreement is your property (if not your copyright).

                  It makes me suspect that the agent is letting the property as a landlord, rather than as your agent.
                  Is the agent allowed to let the property as a landlord? He is refusing to supply me with a tenancy agreement. All he has provided after repeat insistance is a 6 month tenancy dated 2018.

                  I have checked with the tenant who confirms
                  he has a 6 month tenancy dated April 2021 but he is also unwilling to share this with me. When challenged he advises the agent advised him not to share the tenancy agreement. It makes me suspect both are involved in some kind of benefit fraud. All he confirmed was the name on the tenancy which was the agents.

                  What are my options as both appear to be rogues.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    If the agent has contracted with you to manage a property but is actually letting it out as the landlord, they are both in breach of the original agreement and, probably, committing a fraud.

                    Check the original contract and see what you actually agreed to.

                    Unless you've agreed to them subletting the property, at this point I'd contact a solicitor - the agent is in some serious trouble.
                    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


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
                      I would say that failing to protect a deposit is such a fundamental breach of their contractual duty that you can treat their failure as a repudiatory breach and terminate the contract. .
                      .

                      The agent is now claiming he has protected it with dps but unwilling to provide details so that i can check. I've tried to check online using the tenants details but i cant find it has.

                      In the event he has how can i get the dps to transfer the deposit to the landlord or at atleast prevent the agent releasing back to tenant as both the tenant and agent are trying manipulate the contract for their own personal benefit. My concern is i've issued a rent increase notice to tennant as well as notice to vacate in 4 months. The tennant is refusing the rent increase and will only pay the agent. If the tennant is goes in arrears and runs after the notice to vacate i wont have any leverage to recover the monies owed?

                      Also to whom do i report the agent if he has indeed failed to protect the deposit?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        1. Terminate the contract with the agent in writing and copy in the tenant. Ask for them to provide all correspondence tenancy agreements and PI and associated documents. State legal proceedings will commence if they don't.

                        2. Write to the tenant incl a copy of the land registry entry and advise all monies should be paid to you. Failing to pay you will result in possession proceedings for arrears.

                        3. Once arrears are at 2 months commence possession proceedings against the tenant but join the agents as interested party. Pp should be for 2 months arrears ground 8 plus 10, 11 and 12 as soon as possible.

                        That should force the issue, and if it's not sorted by time to go to court, you can ask the court for directions.

                        It's the tenant needs sorting really, just sack the agent as 1.

                        Edit - s21 notice is a waste of time without proof of meeting administration requirements i.e. PI, how to rent epc . . .

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
                          1. Terminate the contract with the agent in writing and copy in the tenant. Ask for them to provide all correspondence tenancy agreements and PI and associated documents. State legal proceedings will commence if they don't.

                          2. Write to the tenant incl a copy of the land registry entry and advise all monies should be paid to you. Failing to pay you will result in possession proceedings for arrears.

                          3. Once arrears are at 2 months commence possession proceedings against the tenant but join the agents as interested party. Pp should be for 2 months arrears ground 8 plus 10, 11 and 12 as soon as possible.

                          That should force the issue, and if it's not sorted by time to go to court, you can ask the court for directions.

                          It's the tenant needs sorting really, just sack the agent as 1.

                          Edit - s21 notice is a waste of time without proof of meeting administration requirements i.e. PI, how to rent epc . . .
                          What does PI stand for?

                          Pp should be for 2 months arrears ground 8 plus 10, 11 and 12 as soon as possible - Can you clarify what ground 8, 10, 11 and 12 are. Is there a document I can refer to which explain these grounds?

                          Whose responsibility should the administrative requirements (PI, how to rent, epc etc) have been when letting the property - should this have been the landlords or the agents responsibility?

                          For reference I've attached a copy of the original management agreement signed between the landlord and agent. The agent never once shared the original tenancy agreement up until now when I've taken over from my partner who is the landlord and insisted he provide one however the one he has provided last week is dated 2018 which was for a 6 month fixed term signed by him -see attached. He's been refusing to share any later agreements making excuses about data protection and all sorts but it did come out of the tenants mouth during a conversation that a tenancy exists from April 2021 for a fixed 6 month which for some reason is claimed to be between the tenant and agent - I have no proof of this as neither is willing to share it and I suspect when the agent is forced to share it he will simply amend it to state it's between Landlord and tenant and managed by agent similar to the 2018 tenancy.

                          The question here is can the agent continue to renew tenancies without first seeking approval from the landlord first as up until now he has never done so? And is this supposed April 2021 tenancy valid if it exists?



                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
                            1. Terminate the contract with the agent in writing and copy in the tenant. Ask for them to provide all correspondence tenancy agreements and PI and associated documents. State legal proceedings will commence if they don't.

                            2. Write to the tenant incl a copy of the land registry entry and advise all monies should be paid to you. Failing to pay you will result in possession proceedings for arrears.

                            3. Once arrears are at 2 months commence possession proceedings against the tenant but join the agents as interested party. Pp should be for 2 months arrears ground 8 plus 10, 11 and 12 as soon as possible.

                            That should force the issue, and if it's not sorted by time to go to court, you can ask the court for directions.

                            It's the tenant needs sorting really, just sack the agent as 1.

                            Edit - s21 notice is a waste of time without proof of meeting administration requirements i.e. PI, how to rent epc . . .
                            What does PI stand for?

                            Pp should be for 2 months arrears ground 8 plus 10, 11 and 12 as soon as possible - Can you clarify what ground 8, 10, 11 and 12 are. Is there a document I can refer to which explain these grounds?

                            Whose responsibility should the administrative requirements (PI, how to rent, epc etc) have been when letting the property - should this have been the landlords or the agents responsibility?

                            For reference I've attached a copy of the original management agreement signed between the landlord and agent. The agent never once shared the original tenancy agreement up until now when I've taken over from my partner who is the landlord and insisted he provide one however the one he has provided last week is dated 2018 which was for a 6 month fixed term signed by him -see attached. He's been refusing to share any later agreements making excuses about data protection and all sorts but it did come out of the tenants mouth during a conversation that a tenancy exists from April 2021 for a fixed 6 month which for some reason is claimed to be between the tenant and agent - I have no proof of this as neither is willing to share it and I suspect when the agent is forced to share it he will simply amend it to state it's between Landlord and tenant and managed by agent similar to the 2018 tenancy.

                            The question here is can the agent continue to renew tenancies without first seeking approval from the landlord first as up until now he has never done so? And is this supposed April 2021 tenancy valid if it exists?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              These are the links to the original management agreement and a tenancy agreement dated 2018 which is the only one he's shared with me - names redacted:

                              https://landlordbucket.s3.eu-west-2...._agreement.pdf

                              https://landlordbucket.s3.eu-west-2...._agreement.pdf

                              Comment

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