Are We Bound to Pay Letting Fees? Agency Dispute Over Who Found Tenant

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  • Are We Bound to Pay Letting Fees? Agency Dispute Over Who Found Tenant

    Hi there: we never signed a contract with a letting agent as we had decided not to use them. They did however stop by with a potential tenant to our property and as we were there showed it to them. Unbeknowst to us at the time, the potential tenant had emailed us to see the flat through a web site we'd advertised on. The potential tenant wants to deal with us directly, though we were hesitant as we thought we might have to pay the letting agents a finder's fee--though neither we nor the potential tenants have signed any contracts/agreements with them. My question is, are they legally entitled to the finder's fee? They did show the flat first, but the potential tenant did also contact us via our private listing. Help! Many thanks.

  • #2
    I assume by "they did show the flat first" means they had a key: If you gave them key I think you've agreed to their Terms & conditions...

    Either get key back & state you never wish to have any further contact with them (they'll fight..) and find another, different, tenant or try & negotiate a deal on how much they want for the bloke they found.......

    If you didn't give them a key how did they "show the flat"???

    Cheers!
    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


    • #3
      The agent has to show that you appointed them by way of sending you a terms of business, and confirmation letter, but you have to be given time to read them and agree to any such terms (up to 7 days is considered reasonable). There is no legal requirement to have a TOB nor is there any requirement that you have to sign them, just that you agree to them.

      Just because the agent on the off chance showed them the property does not in itself consititute a contract even though they clearly were the introducers.

      Did your agents "jump the gun" and anticipate you were going to instruct them because if so then they will find it very difficult to command any introduction fee.

      As your now tenants e-mailed you with an enquiry completely separately via a private advert on a website I feel the agent might be on thin ice. Agents sometimes get it wrong in being over eager without obtaining the right (signed preferably) paperwork concerning instructions first.

      It might be the case here but you need to consult any correspondence or terms of business you might have received from the agent.
      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


      • #4
        Thank you all for the advice. No, we did not sign any paperwork with the agent. We have told them after initial meeting, it was unlikely we'd appoint them as we had interest through a friend. But we live just above the flat, so on a Sunday, he stopped by and knocked on the door with the potential tenants, and we let them all in! The tenant hasn't signed any agreements either, but am very paranoid that somehow they can claim the introduction.

        Comment


        • #5
          They will claim the introduction fee if you proceed with that tenant.

          They found a potential tenant and organised a viewing. You accepted it and let them in to conduct the viewing.
          I don't see how you would not be liable to pay them at least something, since you did accept that they act on your behalf and work for you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Just because you did not sign any agreement, does not somehow avoid you liability, to me it sounds as though the agent has done what you expected of them - ie found a tenant, and you're simply trying to avoid paying a fee.
            [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
              Just because you did not sign any agreement, does not somehow avoid you liability, to me it sounds as though the agent has done what you expected of them - ie found a tenant, and you're simply trying to avoid paying a fee.
              Doesn't actually work like that now. See the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
              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


              • #8
                Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                Doesn't actually work like that now. See the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
                Which part of the Regulations do you consider applies?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                  Doesn't actually work like that now. See the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
                  I am perplexed as to what part would be relevant so as to mean that a written contact would be still fundamentally required based upon the statute listed.
                  [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
                    I am perplexed as to what part would be relevant so as to mean that a written contact would be still fundamentally required based upon the statute listed.
                    I have a Power Point presentation written for NAEA Members on the regs but don't know if I am able to upload it so you can have access.
                    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


                    • #11
                      I think a LL is stretching it slightly trying to be a "consumer".

                      If you are an accidental LL with a single property it would help.

                      ML
                      Refer Mad Regulators to Arkell vs Pressdram.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                        I have a Power Point presentation written for NAEA Members on the regs but don't know if I am able to upload it so you can have access.
                        I have read the parts of the Act which I thought maybe relevant, but have as yet not seen that a formal written contract is required. Service of a simple letter or verbal agreement could be sufficient. Whilst best practice maybe to have a written contract, it must be inequitable for written contracts to be compulsory, so far as the terms are clearly spelled out.

                        I would be interested to read the .ppt though if you're able to upload. Thanks.
                        [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

                        Comment

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