Stuck in agent contract with same tenant

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    Stuck in agent contract with same tenant

    Hi I am a new landlord and have found this forum online an I hope you may be able to help and answer my question below.

    I have a tenant who has written to me privately asking if I will deal with him directly rather than him using the agent I have, as he says the agent is unhelpful, rude and does not pass on queries from him to me etc.

    My agreement with my letting agent has a clause that says the agreement with the agent cannot be cancelled until the tenant leaves the property. So this implies that I cannot get out of the contract with my agent, but I am finding that nearly everything I have done is with me being pro active and the agents I do know haven't passed on some of the tenants queries as when I have been to the tenants property he has told me this.

    I thought there would be a break clause of some sort to cancel the agreement but I cannot see one and so it seems I have to stay with the agent regardless of the service they provide to me or the tenant.

    I am thinking of asking the tenant to provide proof i.e emails etc. to the agent to confirm that they are not helping him and then take it up with the agent.

    So in summary does anyone know that despite my contract saying I am stuck with this agent until the tenant moves out, can I at some stage keep the tenant and let the agent go. If the agent was keeping my tenant happy (which also keeps me happy) I wouldn't need to consider this.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    #2
    A contract with no mechanism to end it is probably not enforceable, but that's not a simple black and white argument.

    Personally, I'd do two things.
    Consider if you believe the tenant - the agent may simply be doing their job, or what they think is their job - the tenant's queries may not have got the desired result, but it may have been the correct one.
    Then, if you do want to end the relationship with the agent...

    Contact the agent and discuss the tenant's complaints and tell them that you want to give them notice (say three months, and you'll pay the fees now and end the agreement - you're negotiating so you may end up paying more).
    The biggest issues are the deposit (which the agent probably has) and the tenancy agreement, which may contain references to the agent (as having some responsibility or where the rent should be paid).

    Extricating yourself from a contract with an intransigent agent can be a difficult process (you signed the contract in the first place, and there's nothing in it for the agent to end the agreement).
    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


      #3
      As per jpkeates advice, talk to the agents and get their side of the story.

      Decide who is in the wrong.
      If the agents are in the wrong and are not passing on complaints that they should had asked you about, consulted you on, then it could be the agents are in breach of contract, by not supplying services they promised.
      If that is the case, you can end the agents involvement due to breach of contract.

      It works both ways. They promised to give you certain services, even if undocumented, such as to rectify small faults without your agreement if under, say
      £ 200. or to evaluate a problem knowing any sane landlord would not entertain silly requests, or malicious requests, and know they can answer on your behalf to reject some claims.

      So get ALL the facts from both parties ( tenant first ) then decide if the agents were in error, therefore in breach of contract.

      Comment


        #4
        You should read: Competition & Market Authority guidance for Lettings Professionals on Consumer Protection Law

        Then see what the Agent done wrong or which contractual clauses are abusive. 1st: rise a complaint with the Agent. 2nd: check if they subscribed to any Property Ombudsmen and rise a complaint with them. Depending on Ombudsmen findings take legal advice if you consider taking further to the courts.

        All the best

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