Is landlord's agent responsible for damage?

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  • Is landlord's agent responsible for damage?

    Hi guys,

    I'm new to this forum and would really appreciate some advice....

    Basically, often when renting out an apartment the letting agency collects the rent from the tenants before passing it on (minus their commission) to the owner of the property (so the owner is paid by the letting agency). In a way this means that the letting agency is renting the apartment from the landlord before renting it to the tenants. Therefore who is responsible for any damages incurred?

    The reason for asking this is that I'm looking into starting an online company focussing on renting apartments. However, I'm unsure as to whether I'd be able to act as a 'middle-man' (i.e. collecting the rent before passing it on to the landlord minus our commission) and if I did this whether we'd be held responsible for any damages claims?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    What rubbish are you spouting! ... You really need to get your facts right before you go any further with this venture! A letting agent is in no way renting from the lL and then onwards! There is a contract between youa nd the LL which will state that you will collect rent on the LL behalf and forward it minus any fees etc. The AST is then between the LL and the tenant. The letting agent is simply the middle "man". Unless the letting agent broke the terms of the agreement with the LL, and they had carried out all relevant checks on the tenant then they cannot be held responsible for any damages the tenant cause.

    You really need to research and learn more about this business BEFORE you go any further down the line! .. Take time to read forums like this and the LLzone site.
    GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

    Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!


    • #3
      Ok thanks for clarifying that...basically their service is just to collect the rent and pass it on whilst making the relevant checks.


      • #4
        In its simplest form Yes.
        GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

        Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!


        • #5
          The clue is in the name: Letting AGENCY. There's a whole field of law about agency that goes into responsibilities, rights, duties etc etc of an agent so I suggest you look at that in depth.


          • #6
            I can expand on the last post as it's quite a dangerous route to take for landlords as there is no control who occupies the property, and landlords don't realise that many agents get it wrong! Landlords are often impressed by guaranteed income, but who is actually guarantor? You only have the agent's promise which means it is tenuous to say the least. These agents are rarely "regulated" ones.

            The main problem is the agent presents a tenancy agreement drawn up by themselves to the landlord for him to sign where no deposit is lodged by the agent (as tenant) with the landlord, often for a three years period (sometimes longer). You can guess whose interests are paramount here and it's not the owner's! They then re-let the property on ASTs (as landlord) to tenants who come and go as normal, and take a fairly hefty deposit each time it is let, and over which the superior landlord (the owner) has no control whatsoever.

            If the property is left in a poor condition (this often happens) after the fixed term of what should have been drawn up as a tenancy at common law the superior landlord has no funds to retain from the agency to rectify this, and such agents have probably retained some of the deposits they held without the landlord knowing any detail about this whatsoever. If the agent hasn't seen to it that the property is returned in good condition then the landlord is left in the worst possible position.

            The other point is that regaining possession from the agency if something is very wrong during the fixed term is nigh impossible.

            Agents who do this fail to explain all the potential pitfalls and only emphasise the "rent guarantee".

            The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


            • #7
              Im a little surprised with a lot of posts about letting agents that no-one has taken any legal action or there is very limited case law.Paul f your actually talking sense for once and I agree with what you say.But would you not agree that the law should be tightened with regard to letting and estate agents.
              Disclaimer:I have over 30 years experience in housing(both social and private) as an EHO and Building Surveyor.I am also a certified expert witness having spent the last 15years working in housing litigation.The advice I give is from experience in working for various Local Authorities and how the law is interpretated.Housing Law is a minefield and is continually being amended if in any doubt you should consult a solicitor or someone of equal legal standing.


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