Can a Letting Agent change a contract with a Landlord? Is it legal?

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    Can a Letting Agent change a contract with a Landlord? Is it legal?

    Good afternoon, I have had a property rented out through an agency for several years and, just before the property was let out, we signed and agreement for the terms and conditions of their service. I have received a letter with a new contract from them indicating a change increase in the agent fees as well as other changes in the terms and conditions which are not at all in my interest. I have been asked to sign it for them to continue with the full management of the property. I am not in agreement with the new conditions given and further more, I am in real doubt if what they are doing is legal.... Can someone help with information related to this? Thank you very much.

    #2
    They are free to ask you to agree to a new agreement. You are free to agree or disagree. If you don't, they are free to terminate your previous agreement in accordance with the terms set out in that agreement. Similarly, you are free to terminate the previous agreement likewise.
    I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

    I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

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      #3
      Thank you very much for your help. If I don't sign the new contract with the agent, what is the procedure to continue with the same tenant? I have to pass the deposit to the legally registered insured account and, do I have issue a new tenancy agreement with my tenant or the first one done through the agent is still valid? In the second case should I simply inform in writing to the tenant about the changes?

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        #4
        Who holds the deposit, now, and how is it protected?

        What type of agreement does the tenant have? Is there a fixed term, coming to an end, or is the agreement already periodic? If the latter, there is no need to do anything (except perhaps serve notice about the change in agency and future rent payments). Either way, you could offer the tenant a new arrangement, and he may choose to accept the offered terms, or not - just like your agency agreement.

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          #5
          The agreement is a "Assured Shorthold Tenancy under Part I of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended by the Housing Act 1996)" . It was done for 6 months and from there we have a months notice. I imagine is the already periodic agreement so I only should serve notice about the changes then? the Deposit is with a DPS account organised by the agent. I think I will need to open one in my name and give the new number to the tenant. Is there anything else I should know? Thanks ever so much to all for your help

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            #6
            When you tell the agent that you do not wish to sign a new agreement, they may very possibly "suggest" that this means you are ending your agreement with them.
            That is not the case, but I have seen it happen.

            What is actually happening is that they are seeking to change the agreement, not you, so they can decide to continue on the same terms as before or end the "old" agreement.
            If they end the agreement there's usually no penalty, but there will be fees if you end the agreement.
            But they are making the choice, not you.

            I wouldn't expect them to want to end up with nothing, so I'd expect them to continue with the old terms and conditions still in place.
            But be careful of them trying it on.
            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).

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              #7
              Originally posted by Idor2017 View Post
              It was done for 6 months and from there we have a months notice. ... so I only should serve notice about the changes then? the Deposit is with a DPS account organised by the agent. I think I will need to open one in my name and give the new number to the tenant.
              Yes, then, periodic - so there is no need to have any new agreement, as long as the tenant is notified about the change of agency and rent payment arrangements. If the DPS scheme is the custodial one (ie DPS already have the money), then once you have registered your own account, the agent can arrange to transfer the deposit directly to your new account if you let him know the account number. Make sure you serve the Prescribed Information (using the template provided by DPS is the easiest way), reflecting the changed arrangements.

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