Can landlords claim back overpaid EA fees if the tenant terminates early?

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  • Can landlords claim back overpaid EA fees if the tenant terminates early?

    Hi there,
    My tenant has given notice and we have agreed for him to leave the property on 18th May 2011 rather than 27th August 2011 (some 3.5 months early).

    My question is: I have paid the Estate Agents fees based on him staying 12 months - am I legally entitled to ask the EA to reimburse me for a proportion of that back (i.e 3.5 months) or can I pass this on to the tenant and deduct it from any monies we have to give them back?

    I will not be letting the property out again but moving back in instead.

    I don't see why I should pay 3.5 months too much in EA fees.
    I feel like passing it on to the tenant.

    Can anyone offer advice on how I might stand on this and what are the legalities?

    Any info is gratefully appreciated.
    Thank you

  • #2
    Did T use any existing legal rights (e.g. a break-clause) in giving Notice; or was it just by agreement with you?
    In the latter case, and as you'd have no obligation to agree, you can stipulate any provisions you like as a condition for accepting (voluntarily) T's surrender of the unexpired term. If you've already told him the agreed provisions, you're probably much too late now if you want to go back to him and demand more!
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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    • #3
      You should check with your agent what terms you have signed with them also. If August was end of the fixed term contract then agents will most probably be entitled to their fee despite you agreeing to end the tenancy sooner. However like Jeffrey states you could stipulate that the T covers these costs but it may be too late as I assume your tenants have already left?

      Comment


      • #4
        T did not use any existing legal rights in giving notice. His reason for giving notice is that he was unfortunately made redundant. Whilst I can empathise with his predicament, I am still out of pocket for 3.5 EA fees that I have paid and the EA will not refund.
        EA say that they will use the additional 3.5 months I paid against my next tenant but I have a friend of mine is going to move in so I will not be using them to take that up.

        I have told the EA to give back to T their deposit in full as I do not have any issues with the T leaving the property in bad order.
        T left a week ago but I am withholding the May rent he paid for the whole month in advance.
        I feel that T has left and even though he gave me a months written notice, he has still terminated his contract prematurely.

        I am thinking of deducting 3.5 months EA fees approx £210 from the reimbursement of May rent to T??

        Comment


        • #5
          If May rent was due on or around May 1 for one month in advance and paid in full I think you would be entitled to retain all May's rent as recompense for early surrender if T moved out on 19 May. After all T got his deposit back in full.
          Why did you pay all EAs monthly fees in advance? (£50-60 pcm?) I would try to get some/all of it back from EA depending on terms of EA/LL Agreement.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Greggyfh View Post
            T did not use any existing legal rights in giving notice. His reason for giving notice is that he was unfortunately made redundant. Whilst I can empathise with his predicament, I am still out of pocket for 3.5 EA fees that I have paid and the EA will not refund.
            EA say that they will use the additional 3.5 months I paid against my next tenant but I have a friend of mine is going to move in so I will not be using them to take that up.

            I have told the EA to give back to T their deposit in full as I do not have any issues with the T leaving the property in bad order.
            T left a week ago but I am withholding the May rent he paid for the whole month in advance.
            I feel that T has left and even though he gave me a months written notice, he has still terminated his contract prematurely.

            I am thinking of deducting 3.5 months EA fees approx £210 from the reimbursement of May rent to T?
            You can't. You had already agreed with T the basis for you accepting surrender. It's too late to re-write the deal.
            JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
            1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
            2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
            3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
            4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

            Comment

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