Letting Agent Changes Terms and Conditions

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    Letting Agent Changes Terms and Conditions

    Hello

    Can someone please advise. I am using a Letting Agent to manage a few of my HMO properties and it has been a good relationship so far. Recently they have sent out revised terms and conditions to take into account a more inclusive service which covers the extra legislation and inspection requirements of a HMO property. I am not happy with the terms and conditions, they are very lengthy and have high exit penalties. In the document it basically states I have one week to decide or I accept these new terms and conditions. Isn't this a very short time and feels like I am being railroaded into accepting them. On another note they do give the option to cancel their management service but it specifies a higher rate than was detailed on the original instructions. They never sent out a letter saying that their cancellation rates were changing. Any advise from other landlords would be great. I liked working with these guys but need to make a wise decision so I don't get tied into a service which has huge penalties to get out of.

    Cheers
    Raji

    #2
    Sounds an unreasonable timescale and not the behaviour of anyone I'd want to do business with.

    In your shoes I'd send (letter, keep copy, and email also..) a short note stating you have received their offer, are taking legal advice & will get back to them in good time but you are not yet agreeing to any changes.

    What "extra legislation" do they think requires changes in T's & C's??

    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
      If they don't have proof they informed you of the increased charges, they'll be hard pushed justify them. I'm sure they can't say "accept my new terms or pay an exit fee."

      Re the new T&Cs do as advised above by theartfulldodger, then put a line through any terms you disagree with before signing, making a copy and returning them. They don't have to accept your revised terms, but they may just file them and forget about it!
      IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Anything I say here is just an opinion, so should not be relied upon! Always check your facts with a professional who really knows their onions.

      Comment


        #4
        lodger not dodger ...
        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


          #5
          Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
          lodger not dodger ...
          Ahh....I see what u did there
          IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Anything I say here is just an opinion, so should not be relied upon! Always check your facts with a professional who really knows their onions.

          Comment


            #6
            Basically the need for the managing agent or rent collector to do monthly fire and safety inspections and taking complete responsibility for making sure the property is meeting HMO requirements. I was doing all this and correctly but in the councils view the rent collector should be taking ultimate responsibility for all of this, hence via they have changed their terms and conditions to incorporate all this and a fee increase.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by RajK View Post
              Recently they have sent out revised terms and conditions
              Whether, and if so when and under what circumstances, they can change terms and conditions in the contract that you and they have depends first and foremost on that contract. Normally a party cannot unilaterally change terms in a contract without the other party agreeing to them, so your first port of call would be to analyse your existing contract and see what this stipulates.

              As regards to exit fees, again the question is the same - what does your original contract stipulate, this is the only relevant document, not anything else they may claim has arisen in the meanwhile.

              Comment


                #8
                The current instructions that I have with them do not have any wording about terms and condition changes. In all the instructions the exit fees were stated at currently x% of the annual rent. It is only in this revised terms and conditions they have sent that basically if you do not accept the cancellation fee is a higher % than the original instruction.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by RajK View Post
                  The current instructions that I have with them do not have any wording about terms and condition changes.
                  None at all? This is very unusual.

                  Well in that case what are the terms around termination then? Because it would look like the only way that the letting agents can create new terms in such a case would be by terminating the existing contract and offering you a new one.

                  In all the instructions the exit fees were stated at currently x% of the annual rent. It is only in this revised terms and conditions they have sent that basically if you do not accept the cancellation fee is a higher % than the original instruction.
                  Well, this will not be binding for you then as clearly they had no possible way to change the terms of the contract you entered into.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    If you were previously doing all the inspections before, what was the agent doing on your behalf? Just collecting the rent? Why don't you take that on yourself too and sack the agent - it would be much simpler.
                    IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Anything I say here is just an opinion, so should not be relied upon! Always check your facts with a professional who really knows their onions.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Since the contract does not contain any provision to changes the terms (which would in any case be subject to the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations) then it is clear that the agent cannot change the terms. All they can do is give notice to terminate the current contract and invite you to enter into a new one. Suggesting that the new terms will apply unless they hear within a week is very dubious, especially given the short period of notice.

                      What I suggest you do without delay is reply along the following lines:

                      Thank you for your letter of...setting out revised terms for the management contract. Those terms are unacceptable and accordingly the existing contract continues until either of us gives notice terminating it.

                      Comment

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