Can a landlord 'impose' an agent on a tenant mid-way through a tenancy?

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    Can a landlord 'impose' an agent on a tenant mid-way through a tenancy?

    Hi,

    I'm new to this forum but I just haved a simple question. I have a tenancy agreement with a private landlord that was directly ebwteen us, no letting agent involved. After a couple of months (due to some problems with the tennacy that the landlord didn't agree with) the landlord has now informed me in writing that he has handed mamnagement of the property over to a letting agent - this letting agent bnow being responsible for collecting rent and all other issues pertaining to the tenancy.

    Personally I thought my tenancy was on a 1 to 1 basis with the landlord and this was a legal agreement between landlord/tenant, only we two being parties to that legal contract. Can the landlord do this, effectivly impose a letting agent (ie: a third party) a couple of months into the tenancy against the tenants wishes?

    I've checked the gov legislation 'Contracts (Rights of third parties) Act 1999', and this sort of arrangement doesn't appear legal to me, but maybe I'm not reading the legislation correctly.

    Just seems to me that by doing such a thing the landlord has interposed a third party (who has absolutely no knowledge of the original agreements, both written and verbal) with a view to 'washing his hands' of his responsibilities.

    Thanks in advance to for any advice.

    #2
    Your tenancy is still with the landlord but he can appoint whoever he wants to handle it. The landlord is still fully liable for the agents actions and you still have all the rights laid out in the tenancy agreement.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi,

      Many thanks for the reply. I appreciate a landlord can indeed appoint a third-party to act ion their behalf, but to my understandinmg that third-party (ie: in this case a letting agent) cannot be granted 'rights' in terms of any clause in a tenancy agreement that doe sno thave such a right implied in any of those clauses. Consequently, it seems to me, whilst a landlord can appoont a letting agent to 'negotiate' for them someway into a tenancy, in much the same way as a landlord can appoint a solicitor to act for them, that letting agent cannot be givewn the 'right' to effect any of the clauses (eg: payment of rent) if such a right had not been implied in the contract when it was oginally signed by landlord and tenant.

      The "Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999" states -

      "1 Right of third party to enforce contractual term.E+W+N.I..(1)Subject to the provisions of this Act, a person who is not a party to a contract (a “third party”) may in his own right enforce a term of the contract if— .
      (a)the contract expressly provides that he may, or .
      (b)subject to subsection (2), the term purports to confer a benefit on him. .
      (2)Subsection (1)(b) does not apply if on a proper construction of the contract it appears that the parties did not intend the term to be enforceable by the third party. .
      (3)The third party must be expressly identified in the contract by name, as a member of a class or as answering a particular description but need not be in existence when the contract is entered into. .
      (4)This section does not confer a right on a third party to enforce a term of a contract otherwise than subject to and in accordance with any other relevant terms of the contract. .
      (5)For the purpose of exercising his right to enforce a term of the contract, there shall be available to the third party any remedy that would have been available to him in an action for breach of contract if he had been a party to the contract (and the rules relating to damages, injunctions, specific performance and other relief shall apply accordingly).
      " Source - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1999/31

      This appears to me to say that a third-party only has a right to enforece a term of a contract (to which he/she is not a party) in the event of a breach of contract. In the event of no breach of contract thrid parties have no rights, and cannot be given rights (eg: by a landlord), to enforce any terms/clauses.

      Well, that's how it appears to me - but I accept I could be wrong in this. Just seems to me if a tenant did the same thing to a landlord and said, for example "As landlord I'm changing a clause in the tenancy agreement and you now have to collect the rent off my brother, and speak to him for all matters relating to this tenancy. Any problems you have with me as tenant you must now sort it out with him and him alone!" it wouldn't be legal, therefore I can't see how a landlord can legally do essentially the same thing via a letting Agent.

      Any further comment/advice/opinion would be welcome.

      Comment


        #4
        The agent isn't a third party per-se, they are the landlords representative, they are exercising 'his' authority on 'his' behalf. They can not do anything unilaterally and they have no 'right' to benefit from the contract unless is specifically states so - and even then I suspect courts may have variable opinions on that.

        The example you cite in the last paragraph is okay, except for the "and him alone!" bit. Your contract is still with the landlord and, lets say you had a legal dispute, it would be the landlord you took to court, not the agent.

        You might find it useful to google on the 'law of agency' which is the relationship that exists.

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