Letting agent doing works without authorisation

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    Letting agent doing works without authorisation

    My letting agent has done this before and I asked that it wasn't done again. I had authorised a quote for a new outside light and I only had one quote. I am shocked to have been charged £45 call out fee to give a quote and £30 to put a new light in. I have not authorised the works and the agents know I always want more than one quote and I am not a rogue, but that I want to review the charges and authorise first. I am really cross about this. I wondered if they have the right to do this? I know I have obligations and I am not disputing what the tenant should have, I would be happy to provide a new outside light, but not at a cost of £75!

    So I just want to know- can letting agents do non-essential works without landlord authority? It doesn't indicate so in my contract and they provide a management service. I was going to contact the ombudsman but it doesn't appear they belong to one!

    Thanks for any advice.

    #2
    What do the terms & conditions of your relationship with agent say (or contract - with agent, not AST)??

    If unhappy with what is going on, have a chat with them then confirm, in writing (writing, keep copy) what you require in future?

    I would expect my agent to handle the sort of jobs you've described but I've never had cause to question any bills they've come up with (in over 10 years)
    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...

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      #3
      Thanks for your reply. There is nothing about them doing works without authority, unless an emergency and unable to get hold of landlord. But to be charged £45 to give a quote is rediculous in my mind. I am having rennovations in my own home and I would not expect to be charged a fee more than the work required for a quote. I wouldn't expect a charge for a quote full stop. This has happened numerous times before and they have it in writing, and I have confirmation that they will do as I request in future, but again they have not listened. I am tempted to try another agent as I don't make money from my rental, it wipes it's face so it's a shock when I have unexpected expenses without notice. I have in the past queried their quotes and they have found cheaper and just as good work from other people - sometimes it's been hundreds saved.

      Thanks for your advice.

      Comment


        #4
        A letting agent has to belong to a redress scheme, so you can complain to them if the agent's response to a complaint is unsatisfactory.

        There are all sorts of issues with ending an agreement with an agent while there is a current tenant, check their terms and conditions.

        To be honest, depending on where you are, would you have paid £75 to replace a light fitting isn't that bad.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          As jpkeates says, the agent MUST belong to a redress scheme. However, you will probably have to follow their internal complaints procedure prior to bringing any complaint to whichever scheme they belong to (unless they are a very small time, one-office outfit, it’s likely they do belong to one and just don’t advertise the fact).

          If you’ve had this issue with them previously and you’ve made it clear to them what you expect, then I would fire them (if you’re contractually able to) or go down the route of a written complaint.

          However, there are times when an agent must act as “agent of necessity”. That is, to act promptly so as not to put the tenant or the property (or you) at further risk through not acting.

          That doesn’t seem to be the case in this instance, as they reported the matter to you, you asked for a quote and then they proceeded with the work without your consent.

          If they’d called you to say, “the outside light was broken and we had to replace it quickly to avoid risk to the tenant and we weren’t able to contact you for authorisation” then it’d be a different matter.

          Comment


            #6
            Also, I further agree with jpkeates insofar as £75 doesn't seem extortionate to me to replace an outside light (depending on what type of light, geography, etc.)

            Arguably the breakdown of the invoices is a little silly (more for the initial call-out than for fixing the issue) but if I'd had an electrician give me an invoice for £75 I probably wouldn't quibble. Tradesmen don't work for free.

            Comment


              #7
              I would add that acting as agent of necessity requires not being able to communicate with your principal. Nowadays an agent likely has the mobile phone number of his principal so should usually be able to contact him even in an emergency.

              Comment


                #8
                It's an outside light.
                Who needs two quotes for an outside light that's broken.
                When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                Comment


                  #9
                  My thoughts too, it's not a bad price at all, certainly not a job that requires more than one quote.
                  <a href="http://www.manchesterpropertygroup.co.uk/" target="_blank">Manchester letting agents</a>

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Just to clarify a couple of points, did the agent charge £45 to get an electrician around to fix the problem, or did the electrician charge £45 for a quote?

                    Also, did they 1)simply change a light bulb, or 2) change an existing light fitting? or 3) add an additional outside light (including wiring it in)

                    if it's 1) then isn't that the job of the tenant? if it's 2)then it's not a bad price, if it's 3)then I reckon you got it cheap

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