Can I deal direct with tenant and jettison my agent?

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    Can I deal direct with tenant and jettison my agent?

    Sorry in advance for a long post.

    A friend of mine is letting out her property through an agent for a three years contract since last year. The problem is that the agent has never paid her the rent on time (sometimes they did not pay for months), so she has to keep coming to the office and ask for the monies, and if she is lucky then they give her a cheque. They always come up with excuses and try to pass the fault onto someone else in their own company. I told my friend to drop the agent but she was scared. The last straw was just before Christmas when she went to their office and they handed her a letter and stated that they would keep all the monies because they realised that they forgot to take 15% from the rents for the services they provided which was incorrect as they already took it in the first few weeks of last year. Luckily, she still keeps all payment statements from them.

    Neither myself nor her know that if she could sack the agent or not and the consequences of doing this. I am just thinking of helping her by writing an ultimate letter to the agent to warn them that they need to act properly before taking legal actions and hope that they would change. Can you please give some advice of what I should write in the letter. For your information, she does not have any written contract between her and the agent, only between her and the tenant with agent is the witness.

    Thanks.

    #2
    The lady should write recorded delivery to the agents a letter saying that she wishes to terminate the agreement for them to act for her with immediate effect and that the agents should within 7 days account for all monies received and spent or retained for their fees and remit the balance to her.

    Let the agents then come back with any notice requirements - if however there is no written agreement, there is no reason why the dismissal should not be immediate. If there turns out to be a written agreement, or a deemed acceptance of the agents terms, then a notice period will be in there somewhere.

    Also, the question as to which professional body they belong to should be asked in case a complaint needs to be referred to them! That in itself might galvanise them into activity!

    Comment


      #3
      It would seem quite obvious to me, generally speaking, that the agent is at least negligent, and is probably breaching their own terms also - in this case, the contract is already breached anyway. The way they are acting is ludicrous. I would wait for more specific advice though
      Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

      Comment


        #4
        Hi,

        I appericated for what Davidjohnbutton said but did not want to cause her too much issue for now by terminating the agreement as I said in the post I would not know what she should do after that. Therefore I would prefer to write them a strong letter to let them know that she means business and see what they say.

        She certainly has no written agreement with the agent.

        Thanks.

        Comment


          #5
          With respect martin, I see no point in her keeping the same agent - they are obviously extremely lax, and will only cause her more problems in the long run. Despite the initial "upheaval", it will be better in the long run to take advantage of the lack of written agreement, fire them, and get a reputable agent to take over the property.
          Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

          Comment


            #6
            Just follow Mr Shed's advice and appoint an NAEA/ARLA/RICS agent asap.

            If the current agent is not conducting affairs to the satisfation of the landlord, and as you say there is no wirtten terms of business then there is nothing to worry about; give them the push! Continue with this agent and you might have plenty to worry about. You could have posted this in the lettings agents questions forum for more responses.
            The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

            Comment


              #7
              Can landlord sack unsatisfactory agent?

              As I posted the issue below in another section of this forum and was advised by Pau F as it would be more appropriate to post in this section. So most of the replies I got from other section would sack the agent, so if I advise my friend to go down this route then could someone please just give me brief steps how she should follow i.e.:

              1) How long does she need to give the agent the notice, considering that there is no agreement contract between herself and the agent???
              2) Can she ask the agent to send all the remaining monies to her? If they refuse then does she has any rights to take the agent to court considering that there is no agreement as mentioned above?
              3) I guess she needs to contact the new agent to inform the tenant that they would take over from the previous agent? Let me know if you have a different view on this???
              4) Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

              Thanks in advance.


              ----------------------------------------------------------------------
              [Original post]
              Sorry in advance for a long post.

              A friend of mine is letting out her property through an agent for a three years contract since last year. The problem is that the agent has never paid her the rent on time (sometimes they did not pay for months), so she has to keep coming to the office and ask for the monies, and if she is lucky then they give her a cheque. They always come up with excuses and try to pass the fault onto someone else in their own company. I told my friend to drop the agent but she was scared. The last straw was just before Christmas when she went to their office and they handed her a letter and stated that they would keep all the monies because they realised that they forgot to take 15% from the rents for the services they provided which was incorrect as they already took it in the first few weeks of last year. Luckily, she still keeps all payment statements from them.

              Neither myself nor her know that if she could sack the agent or not and the consequences of doing this. I am just thinking of helping her by writing an ultimate letter to the agent to warn them that they need to act properly before taking legal actions and hope that they would change. Can you please give some advice of what I should write in the letter. For your information, she does not have any written contract between her and the agent, only between her and the tenant with agent is the witness.

              Thanks.

              Comment


                #8
                Can you help this lady................

                Look on the paperwork she received when she first let out her property, there must be some Terms of Business or Conditions of Engagement or something similar to that to refer to that would tell her how much notice they would require to stop using them. Usually, agents require three months' notice. Quite honestly, I think I would go straight to the tenant and ask that they pay the landlord direct and stop paying the agent - that's the first thing I would do. It sounds like the contract is between the landlord and the tenant not the landlord and the agent - in which case, just cut out the agent. I would then write a letter to the Agent saying that because of all these instances, and you should list them, saying that because of their inefficiency, non-payment of rent and withholding monies and that they are just not doing the job which they were employed to do, and receive the money straight from the tenant. Just get rid of the agent - they sound highly inefficient and completely avoidable at all costs and should be sacked!

                Comment


                  #9
                  I have put come answers here in red so that you might be able to grasp the legal position
                  Originally posted by Sheila Harmon
                  Look on the paperwork she received when she first let out her property, there must be some Terms of Business or Conditions of Engagement or something similar to that to refer to that would tell her how much notice they would require to stop using them. Usually, agents require three months' notice. There is no requirement as yet for an agent to give a landlord any written terms of business, so without one the landlord can terminate it immediately without notice.Quite honestly, I think I would go straight to the tenant and ask that they pay the landlord direct and stop paying the agent - that's the first thing I would do. It sounds like the contract is between the landlord and the tenant An AST is between these two people.........not the landlord and the agent .........but a terms of business (if it had exisited) would be between the last two!- in which case, just cut out the agent. I would then write a letter to the Agent saying that because of all these instances, and you should list them, saying that because of their inefficiency, non-payment of rent and withholding monies and that they are just not doing the job which they were employed to do, and receive the money straight from the tenant. Just get rid of the agent - they sound highly inefficient and completely avoidable at all costs and should be sacked!Yes! I do agree with this!
                  The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks Sheila Harmon and Paul_f. I passed your advises to the lady and she contacted the tenant directly and the rent is currently paid directly to her which is good news. I am helping her to write a letter to the agent to terminate their services.

                    Thanks.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Hi,

                      I raised the question below quite a while ago and followed the recommendations from various people below and now the tenant is paying the rent directly to the lady which is a good news. However, the lady sent the agent two letters to demand the outstanding monies back but they did not response, she has just sent another one today and gives them two weeks to sort it out. I guess they will ignore again so she has to take legal action against the agent.

                      As she has never don't this before and the oustadning monies is around £3000, so if she hires a solicitor then by the end she would not have much left. Could you please recommend the best way she should approach so hopefully she would get something back.

                      Thanks in adavnce for any adivce.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        You can make a claim yourself through the county court (you can do it online) for the amount of money owing you wont need a solicitor as it would almost certainly be allocated to the fast track.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I think you will find it is the Small Claims Track and not Fast Track, but that’s by the by. Cost to issue would be £120 and there would be another fee if you need to fill out the allocation questionnaire.

                          One trick that has helped me in the past, is to fill out the forms as though you are going to file them, (you can download them from the court service web site,) then send a copy to the other party saying that you will be starting proceedings if they have not paid the monies that they owe. It can sometimes act as the kick up the behind that jolts them into doing something.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks for the replies.

                            She believed that they still owed her £3000 (she also mentioned in the letter) but because they did not reply to any of her letters so if it turned out they owed her like say £2000 then does it do her any harm??? The reason I ask this because they never paid her properly so she had to work out by herself.

                            Thanks.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              If she issues for £3000 and they think it only £2000, they have the chance to say so in their reply. She can then accept the £2000 if she wants. If she does ask for £3000 and it is only £2000 and they do not reply to the summons, she can ask for judgement by default for the full £3000. If it does go to trial, she will need some proof of what is owed or be able to show how the monies she is owed is made up.

                              I have an interesting situation at the moment where I am suing ex-tenant and guarantor. Ex-tenant has replied to summons, but guarantor has not. If he, (guarantor,) has not by Tuesday, I will be asking for judgement against him. I think that that he is thinking that if she at last starts to deal with the sh!t she left, he will be off the hook. Not so.

                              Comment

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