Letting agent changes the locks to our property! What are my options?

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    Letting agent changes the locks to our property! What are my options?

    hi all some advice appreciated. We gave a set of keys to a letting agent to allow them easy access to do viewings for prospective tenants. Today I went to show the property to some interested couples I found myself, but found the locks had been changed. Unfortunately I had to tell the interested parties that I could no longer do the viewings because I couldn’t get in, it was hugely embarrassing and they are obviously no longer interested. (Some had travelled far).

    Anyway I had to arrange for someone to break the lock to get in, and I found that someone had been in as lights were left on and the alarm had been wrongly disabled and hence it was flashing. I also found a contract on the table stating a licensing agreement for a room between the letting agent and two named individuals who were supposedly going to move in today. I immediately changed the locks. Luckily these individuals have not yet moved in.
    I am livid because the agent is meant to keep me informed of any interested persons and we get the final say in renting the property out. They had changed the locks without telling us and agreed a rental period with these tenants without telling us. I also found out the tenants had paid a deposit as there was a receipt there.
    What shall I do? This clearly is out of order.

    #2
    Errrr, speak to the letting agent? Probably your best course of action, get the full picture.

    Comment


      #3
      It sounds like a scam to me. Report agent to regulator.

      Comment


        #4
        Obviously your going to have to ring the agent and raise several major points with them, why on earth did they change the locks? What gives with the tenancy ready to go without your authorisation? Leaving the property unsecured with an unset alarm?

        as JK has suggested. This may well be a scam of sorts.

        Comment


          #5
          Yikes...... Is this some sort of fly by night agent or a plausible high-street one. If the former why did you choose them.

          A lot comes down to your contract with the agent and whether you can PROVE that you did not give them authority to act on your behalf. If you cannot prove that, you are likely in a heap of trouble - they will have created a binding contract on your behalf. Even if they did not have authority to act you may have to sue them.

          Lesson 1 -- never hand keys to a tenant or to an agent unless you have a proper agreement with that party.

          Lesson 2 -- many agents are crooks -- choose carefully.

          Lesson 3 -- Don't use an agent in general.

          Lesson 4 -- If you use an agent -- even for a fully managed service -- you should still take complete control of the selection of tenants, including showing them around yourself. In my humble opinion if you cannot do that you should not be in this business -- it is just too dangerous. You must also take complete control of collection and protection of any deposit.

          Sounds as if you are headed for a major problem -- sorry.

          Comment


            #6
            Did that agreement you found name the agent as the landlord, or you as the landlord?
            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.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by security2 View Post
              Errrr, speak to the letting agent? Probably your best course of action, get the full picture.
              I called them after I changed the locks. The person I spoke to claims to have no knowledge of this happening and wants to investigate further, he’s asked for the contract so he can “check it”. I call BS

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by dazwalsh View Post
                Obviously your going to have to ring the agent and raise several major points with them, why on earth did they change the locks? What gives with the tenancy ready to go without your authorisation? Leaving the property unsecured with an unset alarm?

                as JK has suggested. This may well be a scam of sorts.
                I rang them. The person I spoke to claims he wasn’t aware of it, and he didn’t deny or admit to the locks being changed, just said he wants to look into it. We didn’t sign any agreement with them not written or verbal; I have no idea what their intentions are. Everything seems to suggest they were trying to rent to tenants without us knowing.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by KTC View Post
                  Did that agreement you found name the agent as the landlord, or you as the landlord?
                  It named a business but I didn’t recognise the business name and didn’t match the letting agents name, however they had left a “with compliments slip” which they attached to the contract and this had a personal message from the agent with the agents logo and was signed off by one of the agents staff. The contract was signed by the agent staff member under the “landlord” section. Which is so ridiculous as we didn’t give them any permission of the sort.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                    Yikes...... Is this some sort of fly by night agent or a plausible high-street one. If the former why did you choose them.

                    A lot comes down to your contract with the agent and whether you can PROVE that you did not give them authority to act on your behalf. If you cannot prove that, you are likely in a heap of trouble - they will have created a binding contract on your behalf. Even if they did not have authority to act you may have to sue them.

                    Lesson 1 -- never hand keys to a tenant or to an agent unless you have a proper agreement with that party.

                    Lesson 2 -- many agents are crooks -- choose carefully.

                    Lesson 3 -- Don't use an agent in general.

                    Lesson 4 -- If you use an agent -- even for a fully managed service -- you should still take complete control of the selection of tenants, including showing them around yourself. In my humble opinion if you cannot do that you should not be in this business -- it is just too dangerous. You must also take complete control of collection and protection of any deposit.

                    Sounds as if you are headed for a major problem -- sorry.
                    Thanks for your advice. It’s a high street agent which was recommended by one of our trusted builders but to be honest I don’t trust them because they had bad reviews to begin with (albeit from tenants) but as this is my parents property I left the decision to them. I never would have expected they would stoop to this level.

                    We have not signed any contract with them, no written contracts nor have we agreed anything verbally. We merely said that they can show some tenants around but everything has to go through us for approval. Then we would discuss contracts.

                    I just want to know If I can report them to anyone. Who would be the regulator?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                      It sounds like a scam to me. Report agent to regulator.
                      Thanks...yes looks like it. Who is the regulator?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        what does your Agreement with LA say about selection of Ts?
                        Are you certain LA is not your legit T?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by mariner View Post
                          what does your Agreement with LA say about selection of Ts?
                          Are you certain LA is not your legit T?
                          We have not signed anything with the agents, there is no agreement. They said that they will help find us tenants and then seek our approval, before drawing up any contracts.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by mlsmith View Post
                            Thanks...yes looks like it. Who is the regulator?
                            There may be a logo on the door.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by mlsmith View Post
                              We have not signed anything with the agents, there is no agreement.
                              Then you would be well advised to avoid taking on any tenants with this agent and finding another agent. If they can't do this part of the process properly, then how can you trust them to do any of the more complex parts?

                              Comment

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