Help needed, Letting agent disappeared, 7 people in my rented flat

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    Help needed, Letting agent disappeared, 7 people in my rented flat

    Hi Guys,

    I am new to this forum and I hope I can get some good advice.
    In March 2011 I rented out my flat through and agent on a 3 year guaranteed rent basis. Bar from some delay in payments from the letting agent all was going well until March 2012. New tenants moved in under contract with the agent and around the time they moved in the opening hours of the letting agent would be very temperamental and it was becoming near impossible to contact him.
    My rent became even more delayed etc and now he owes me 2 months rent. I managed to get in contact with him and he said that he had not received any rent from the tenants since they moved in and that he was working with a solicitor to get them out and that I would get my rent....
    Although he is not getting any income from the tenants the contract which I have with him states that I am guaranteed a fix rental income regardless of any problems of the property being empty.
    Contact became less and less with him after I spent endless time trying to chase for my rent. I managed to convince him to call me and in doing so he said it was going to be a long process as the tenants had moved in 5 other people in... that is all I heard from him.
    He has now disappeared off of the radar. Fearing the worst I went to my flat to find out what truth there was behind what he was telling me..... Surprisingly he was telling the truth. My flat from the outside has been ruined, dogs running around inside (contract says no pets) front door broken, locks changed, people inside not opening the door, graffiti on walls etc....
    I have tried and tried to contact the people who live there with no luck, I have waited outside and have notice that there is always one person inside.
    I have a few questions....

    • I know I can sue him for the rent he owes through small claim, but, can I sue him for the rent he owes me for the rest of the contract period?

    • My contract with the agent states that if I break the contract at any point I will have to pay the agent 50% of the rental income for the rest of the period. If I remove the tenants myself and sell my property can he come after me with legal action although he has breach his contract?.

    • Can I sue him for damages to the property? (I can only imagine what has been done to it internally)

    Any other advice to take on board?

    The 'agent' appears to be your tenant (and the occupants your sub-tenants).

    You will not be able to legally evict his tenants (your sub tenants).

    You can evict your tenant through the courts under whatever termination clauses exist in your tenancy agreement.

    You can sue the tenant for any damages you can prove - do you have proof of the good condition at the start of the 'agents' tenancy?

    You can sue the agent/tenant for the shorter of:
    - The end of the rental period
    - You evict the agent
    - You agree something else


      Which is exactly why I advise against "guaranteed" rent companies/tenants. You lose control immediately and the devil is in the detail much of which naive landlords don't understand.
      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.


        It’s unfair to call landlords naive, I paid for a management service just like I would pay for any other type of service out there. There are companies out there who are regulated and do provide a "Guaranteed Rent" Service. There is nothing naive about putting your trust in to a company at all. but thanks anyway


        As Paul has clearly stated, my contract with the Letting Agent gives me no control over the tenants. It is a contract purely between me and him stating terms and conditions of the management and guaranteeing rent etc. There isn’t anything in the contract that states that I can cancel the contract or evict the tenants.

        What is the first step to take to have these low life scum evicted from my house? How long will it take? and how much?

        I dont have much money as it is all going towards the mortgage.


          There is nothing in your contract that says what you can do if the company do not comply with the agreement? Am I to assume it was written by the agent?

          I think you first need to take legal advice regarding the status of the agent. As I read it, they are your tenants. However, it is possible they are genuinely 'agents'.

          Assuming they are your tenants, (and assuming my paragraph 1 is correct) then you need to serve a notice to quit on them for breach of contract giving them one rent period or 30 days (whichever is longer) to vacate the property. Once that has expired you need to apply to the court for possession of the property. The forms you will use are N5 & n119 and the fee is £175. This is not a guaranteed route - there is no such thing - but the judge will look at the facts and decide if it is appropriate to grant you possession.

          Don't worry about the occupiers just yet - there is nothing you can do.


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