Letting agent merged with another

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    Letting agent merged with another

    Hi all , I have been with my letting agent and had the same tenant for 9 years , this week I was notified that my old letting agent had merged basically sold out to a new letting agent , they gave no notice and no option to opt out from them , I said I didn't want to merge with them as we were going to do it from now on privately but they said the contract had a clause in it saying that I am to pay commission to them for the life of the tenancy , we have a contract with the old letting agency not the new one how do I get out of this , am I stuck with them till my term of tenancy then I lose my trusted tenants of 9 years ,

    #2
    Technically it depends on two things. What your agreement with your agent says, if anything, about a change of ownership (which is probably nothing) and how the “merger” was accomplished.

    It’s very rare for two companies to merge, one usually acquires the other, and there are lots of different ways to achieve that.

    If your contract has nothing about what happens when the ownership changes, if “your” agent is now still in existence but owned by someone else, the agreement is probably still current and valid. If “your” agent no longer exists or is no longer trading, you probably don’t have a contract with the “new” company.

    One practical issue is that taking over a tenancy or evicting a tenant faced with an uncooperative agent is remarkably difficult. You need things from the agent and if they refuse to supply them it can get very messy. You need to make sure you really want to end the relationship.
    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


      #3
      Check to see if the T&Cs of the new agent differ from the original one.

      If they do, you can opt out and end the relationship.
      My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Aly View Post
        they said the contract had a clause in it saying that I am to pay commission to them for the life of the tenancy
        And... does it?


        A similar thing happened to me. My agent sold out without prior warning to another firm which I had no particular wish to deal with. I was able to give the new agent notice, though, and I did.

        It was messy, for a couple of reasons. Firstly my tenants had two changes of agent in quick succession. Secondly I had to get the start-of-tenancy documentation from the outgoing agent. They provided it on request and and it was pretty much in order. Could have been really problematic otherwise.
        There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

        Comment


          #5
          Got this myself. A new agent seems to be acquiring or has acquired. I had vague indication six months ago during an unrelated, informal and coincidental conversation started by me, nothing in writing to myself or the tenants. The old agency’s website is gone. I’ve tried the government’s Courts Service and a solicitor and advised to agree to agree to mediation, however that was before I found out the website was gone. The new agent’s site states they’re in the process of taking over but trading under the new name. I suspect they can argue they acquired me as part of goodwill. I’m sceptical due to lack of formal notification.

          My agreement says I have to go on paying for renewal during the present tenancy, so indefinitely. However at the last renewal they never issued a tenancy. As a response to my court claim six months later they said despite not providing a tenancy contract ‘nevertheless a tenancy was created’.

          The situation seems to be one of money for old rope if all they do (and are entitled to do) is switch on a computer once a year for two minutes, print a tenancy and collect £1,400 for the last twelve years but it seems worse than old rope if they don’t even do that and then sell the business without notice and tie me in to the new agent’s terms.

          It’s probably not that helpful if I just say it seems dodgy (putting it mildly) because it’s likely to be a common reaction. My thought is that it seems to me (acting naively as a consumer) an agent out not to be able to sell you on without notice. As it’s a naive view it’s probably where the lol reflex gets activated. However I think there ought to be a legal remedy. I didn’t find the solicitor I consulted helpful.

          From reading above the advice seems to be give notice to the new agent. Maybe so. I think it’s conceding too much myself given the lack of formal notice (the deal between them could have gone nowhere).

          The only other thing I can think of is to try switching to a periodic tenancy but I’m assuming I’d have to wait until the end of the present 12 month agreement that wasn’t actually issued. I don’t want to give notice to the tenants. I’m wondering if they can give notice to the agency because they don’t want to go with the new one.

          It’s a real mess because I’ve got loads of housing management things to get done (the agent doesn’t do property management, lettings only), I live four hundred miles away and really need to appoint a full service management agent urgently.

          if anyone has a similar experience or is able to give additional advice it would be very much appreciated.

          Thanks for reading.

          Alan


          Comment


            #6
            The general rule is that the burden of a contract cannot be assigned without the consent of the person who has the benefit of the contract. If the terms of the contract allow the burden to be assigned then consent is deemed to have been given. What does the contract say?

            It is though important to establish if there has been an assignment. If the former agent is a company and the new agent has bought the shares then there is no assignment of the contract simply by the buying of the shares. You therefore need to establish how the "merger" was set up.

            Apart from the above, it is pretty much established law that "perpetual commision" is allowed but only if it is clearly flagged up before the landlord signs the agency contract.

            Comment


              #7
              I would've thought that if the new agent doesn't offer the service the old agent did then you are entitled to give notice and remove your property. They cannot hold you to a contract where they don't abide by their contractual obligations.

              When it happened to me I argued I had not signed a contract & after they botched a couple of issues early on I terminated the agreement. I got my new agent to liaise with them and they did transfer everything eventually.

              I think the best thing to do is to just politely say that you do not wish your property to be managed by the new entity and ask what notice period they require. Anything more than 3 months has to be unreasonable doesn't it?

              Comment

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