Managing agent without written contract

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    Managing agent without written contract

    The managing agents for a block of leasehold flats don't have a written contract. Are they still legally obligated to abide by the terms of the leases and/or the Landlord and Tenant Act and/or the terms of the RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code?
    Hope someone can chip in here. Lawcruncher perhaps?
    Links to any guidance on this would be welcome also.

    The landlord has to abide by the lease and so it follows that any agent of the landlord must do so.

    Everyone is bound by statute.

    The RICS Code certainly binds firms of chartered surveyors. Reading the preamble to the Code it does seem to apply to others engaged in residential property management. However, the Code does not have full legal force and does not override the law. The court is required to have regard to it in any proceedings, but is not bound by it as that would usurp the power of the court to be the ultimate judge of whether a professional has been negligent or otherwise unprofessional.


      In short:
      A lack of a written contract between freeholder and managing agent doesn't really affect leaseholders at all, they still have all of the protections provided by the lease, the law, and 'the RICS code'.
      A written contract really only helps the freeholder and managing agent if their is a dispute between them.

      Anyone who is managing leasehold properties has an implied obligation to abide by the terms of the leases, but ultimately the obligations fall on the freeholder and leaseholders (depending on the particulars of the lease).

      Managing agents carry out the instructions of the freeholder (or perhaps a RTM company that acts as freeholder), and any contract that they have, whether written or verbal, is to protect the interests of the freeholder and managing agent.

      If a managing agent doesn't carry out any obligations that the freeholder has, either under the lease or in applicable law, they leave the freeholder open to potential legal action (and in some cases it will result in the managing agent leaving themselves open to legal action).

      If the managing agent carries out work that leaseholders aren't required to pay for under the terms of their leases, and the leaseholders realise this and don't pay, the costs will have to be met by either the freeholder or the managing agent. Having a written contract should make it easier to determine who has to pay if their is any dispute.

      Anyone managing a property with residential leaseholds, regardless of whether they are self managing or are employed by a separate freeholder, is generally advised to follow the RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code.
      If there is any dispute about the services charges raised by leaseholders, being aim to show that they have followed the terms of the lease and 'the code' will usually help to defend against the dispute.


        Alternatively, read what Lawcruncher posted (the reply wasn't there earlier)!


          Thank you both Macromia and Lawcruncher . This is a great help.


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