Management Agent failed miserably & now wants to charge excessive exit fees...HELP

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    Management Agent failed miserably & now wants to charge excessive exit fees...HELP

    Hi All,

    I wonder if anyone could shed some light on whether we have any rights or not.

    We have a property which is 'managed' by an agent who has caused us nothing but problems and since being with them we have lost in excess of £5,000 which has left us in serious financial difficulties.

    A very complicated & long story, the first tenant who was found, credit checked and referenced was placed in the property in July 2011, by November all rent ceased. It then became apparent that the identity of the tenant was questionable and that they had been deported by UK Border force, however the tenants partner and children were still resident in the property and we were unable to remove them until the beginning of March 2012. During this time we were threatened by the tenant and the police were involved. We eventually re contact border force with the believe details of the squatting family and they were removed. During the time that we didn't receive any rent we did not pay a management fee, however we did pay in the beginning all finders fees, referencing, credit checks etc.

    Later in March 2012 the same estate agent found us another tenant who they processed through a scheme known at the time as 'Fasttrack'. We once again paid full finders fees etc for the new tenant.

    On a number of occasions the rent has been late, withheld, the agent has privately contracted jobs we already had a homecare agreement for (which they had a copy of) etc.

    We decided to visit the tenant to talk things over and she was most distressed asking us why we are not attending to basic repairs, a couple of door handles, a plug socket etc. and that she in fact had withheld her rent for these repairs which hadn't been fixed. We were shocked as we knew nothing about them and on top of that we had a full homecare agreement for a lot of the socket problems which the agent was authorised to use whenever they needed.

    We then found our that in fact the tenant had paid a large amount of money to the agent to in order to cover the fees of the fast track which we really don't believe were fair or justified as her benefit could have been switched from her former landlord who just happened to be the MD of the management company.

    The agent was playing devils advocate between us and the tenant for over 12 months to the point where we served her a section .21 and nearly a section .8. Once meeting the tenant and getting everything out we withdrew the notice. Both us and the tenant have decided that we are better off without the agent.

    The tenant has lived in the property for 19 months now and the agent wants us to pay in excess of £650 exit fees to end the management, we believe that one month notice would be fair but they want one months notice, 2 weeks rent & VAT.

    Hubby is absolutely livid as they have cost us hugely and he feels that it was a bit cheeky charging us a full finders fee for a tenant who was know to them and paid her own costs. We have a copy of a signed contract with them which states only that they need a months notice from the rent due date on page 2 of their contract, but the have sent us a revised terms of contract since which we have not agreed or disagreed to as to be honest we never ally spotted the change.

    My question in short is...do we have to pay them this or is there a legal way to contest the fees they want because of the level of service & losses we've incurred?

    Most grateful for any advice as it feels like we're damned if we do and damned if we don't!

    Many thanks in advance.

    #2
    Get copies (ideally originals) of ALL paperwork from agent.

    Fire agent.

    Evict any remaining tenants.

    Start again - after having done some courses in how to be a landlord.

    See if agent sues you.

    Who signed or agreed to the agent's T's & C's?

    Why, given problems since November 2011, have you continued with this agent for well over 18months - i.e. why not even start taking action even now?

    Were deposits protected within 30 days? If not tenant can sue YOU for up to 3x deposit.

    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
      Hi there,

      Thank you for your honest reply.

      My husband is in the the forces and we have had 4 postings 1 overseas in 2 years along with loosing a child we were not physically or mentally able to take control until now and unfortunately the only family member who lived in the area also moved overseas. We felt at the time like they were trying to help us but with a clear head we are seeing it for what it is.

      There was no deposit for the current tenant as she was fast tracked, however we do have an indemnity insurance for her for 2k. After some more research last night it seems the fast track company have gone bust which we were never told but her indemnity insurance cover has been picked up by another insurance and will be honoured until the end of her term.

      We have our original paperwork but never signed the revised terms of biz. Only the original which stated 1 months notice of termination.

      We were thinking about writing to them giving them the notice and asking them to reduce the fee but hubby's opinion this morning is to cut all ties and let the chips fall where they may, I'm unsure as not sure the family can cope of afford any legal proceedings, despite the fact I think we may have a case.

      Many thanks.

      Comment

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