Agent introducing unsuitable tenant

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    Agent introducing unsuitable tenant

    I instructed {Mod - my agent} to find me a tenant. They said they hae found one and I need to sign their forms quick so that they can secure the tenant and sign tenancy agreement. I signed their papers, basically committing myself to the tenancy.

    After I kept requestng, after 3 weeks and a few days before tenancy starts, they sent me references, and no guarantor until I asked them for it again. They did no credit check on the tenant, and the tenant is on a low paid job in probation period. All in all, I don't want this person to be in my flat in case she loses her job, and because no credit check is done on her. I made a mistake of not asking for ref/credit check before signing their papers. Now they say that I have legally committed myself and they will sue me. Can they?!

    {Mod - see forum rules regarding 'naming and shaming'}

    #2
    What 'forms' did you sign quick? Was it their terms of business? A tenancy agreement?
    You will need to tell us exactly which of their 'forms' you have signed so we can help you further.

    Comment


      #3
      This web site itself took out the agent name! It's {Mod - do not name and shame}

      The form I signed was the instruction to exchange. I guess an agency who charges you 11% should have been professional enough to send you these once they've sent you all the tenant details and references and checks, right?

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by AmirMahdavi View Post
        This web site itself took out the agent name!
        Actually it was the moderator who did it (and who also asked you to read the forum rules about 'naming and shaming' - reproduced here for your convenience as you evidently have not done so as you've done it again):

        "11. Naming and shaming individuals or organisations on a public forum can give aggrieved posters a great sense of satisfaction, but this can come at a very high price. We have had two instances of Members being sued for libel for posts they made about certain organisations. UK libel laws are very onerous and organisations are often willing to pursue anyone through the courts to protect their hard won reputations. Even if you are confident about your facts, a libel action must be defended and the legal costs involved are substantial - even if you win. If you lose, you could have to pay your own legal costs, those of the applicant, any damages awarded, and any costs for related parties such as those of LandlordZONE - as a forum Member you have agreed to indemnify LandlordZONE against any and all legal costs resulting from your actions on these forums."

        I hope you have a nice flush bank balance?

        Comment


          #5
          There are 2 things to look at in this scenario - what you agreed to, and how that agreement was obtained.

          You have agreed to taking on the tenant before you had checked that you were happy with them - a 'suitable' tenant is a subjective term and what is suitable for the agent may not be suitable for you, we are all different.

          The agency is now in a position where they have a contract with the tenant to create a tenancy on that property, and if they do not, the prospective tenant could concievably sue them. They do not want to suffer financial loss, so they are looking to you to compensate them for any loss caused by you pulling out of the agreement - which is a breach of contract. Iirc, the prospective tenant could sue you too for the actions of your agent.

          So, at a simplistic level, you are in the wrong - you agreed to something and now you are back-tracking. It is not the agents fault that they are not doing what you thought they would do, so long as they have done what was actually agreed in the agency contract.

          However, if the agent were to sue you, you would seem to have a pretty good defence in the 'Unfair Terms In Consumer Contract Regulations 1999' which states that the following (as an example) is unfair:

          irrevocably binding the consumer to terms with which he had no real opportunity of becoming acquainted before the conclusion of the contract

          Comment


            #6
            To add to Snorkerz post, this particular agents (please lets not name them again) terms of business state that they will 'obtain references' for prospective tenants.
            There is no mention of credit checks.
            I honestly hope that your tenant proves to be a good one, especially as you are paying 11% for the privilege of agent finding them.
            Perhaps next time you are looking to let you will read and re-read agentsterms of business and make sure that the referencing procedure includes proper credit checks, BEFORE agreeing to them finding a tenant for you.
            Good luck.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by AmirMahdavi View Post
              Now they say that I have legally committed myself and they will sue me. Can they?!
              As you say, it is your fault for not asking for references and credit checks before signing the form agreeing to proceed with the tenancy.

              If you breach the tenancy contract and do not proceed with the tenancy, then the primary contract you would be in breach of is the contract between you and the tenant. It would be the tenant who would have a case to sue for any losses suffered due to breach of that contract. She might also seek a court order requiring you to fulfill the contract and give her possession.

              The contract you have with the agent will make you liable for various fees etc. It may be that the agent could have a case to sue you for some of these fees. Bear in mind that this is a very aggressive agency, and the individual agent's wages are mostly paid in commission for concluded tenancies they arrange.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                The agency is now in a position where they have a contract with the tenant to create a tenancy on that property, and if they do not, the prospective tenant could concievably sue them.
                The agent is not a party to the tenancy contract. The agent acts purely on behalf of the landlord. The tenant would not have a case to sue the agent for breach of contract.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by westminster View Post
                  The agent is not a party to the tenancy contract. The agent acts purely on behalf of the landlord. The tenant would not have a case to sue the agent for breach of contract.
                  Whilst I understand your point Westminster, I believe this is a grey area until the tenancy is commenced - the tenant pays the agent various fees for their services, often before a specific landlord enters the mix, with a specific remit to 'create a tenancy'. Therefore there must be some recourse against the agent when the 'contract to create a tenancy' is breached as (at that point) T may not even know who LL is. Tenant suing A & LL jointly may be the answer from Ts PoV.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                    Whilst I understand your point Westminster, I believe this is a grey area until the tenancy is commenced - the tenant pays the agent various fees for their services, often before a specific landlord enters the mix, with a specific remit to 'create a tenancy'.
                    I don't think they do, do they? I think they only pay the agent anything once a specific prospective property has been found for them. Then they have to hand over a load of wonga for a holding deposit/so they can be credit checked/for the agent to sweat cobs pressing 'Print' on his computer to get a tenancy agreement, etc etc.

                    Even letting agents would struggle to charge people simply for walking through the door and looking at a few properties, wouldn't they?

                    Don't answer that!
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You may be right MTG - as I seem to be saying more & more frequently - I haven't used an agency as a tenant since the 1980s! Mind you, the agent does charge the tenant 'admin fees', so there is a contract there of sorts - the admin fees are not taken as an agent of the landlord (ie landlord never sees the £s).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Tenants (or I believe the agent speak of 'prospective tenants' or 'applicants') are not clients of agents, they do not enter into a contract with agent. The agents client is always the LL so you may call the applicant/prospective tenant a 'customer' or consumer or whatever. Agent cannot havea contract with an applicant or prospective tenant or indeed tenant but does 'owe a duty of care' to them.
                        Essentially, yes they do pay 'admin' fees to agent for...well whatever said agent chooses to charge them! A whole new thread I know! and MTG I have heard of an agent who charged prospective tenants for literally viewingproperties but that was some years ago now and sorry you did say don't answer that!
                        In the case of OPs situation, if he decides not to go ahead with proposed tenancy then the 'applicant' in this case, would be entitled to return of, at least some of the monies paid to the agent, (cannot say how much as we do not know the details) as the proposed tenancy has not commenced through any fault of her own.
                        AmirMahdavi
                        If you really do not want to proceed with this proposed tenancy then I suggest you ask to speak to the manager of the branch and tell him that you felt under pressure to sign their papers/documents and that you did not have sufficient time in which to read them properly. Explaining that you have now had proper chance to read them and your reasons regarding the reference checks being less stringent than you would like (it's hard to believe proper credit checks are not carried out by such a prominent agent on top of which they charge the tenant a fortune to do) State that you do not wish to proceed with this particular tenant, mentioning that you will be forced to make a complaint to the property ombudsman as you were under pressure to sign forms quick. I really wish you luck, as already mentioned - this agent does play hardball.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                          Whilst I understand your point Westminster, I believe this is a grey area until the tenancy is commenced - the tenant pays the agent various fees for their services, often before a specific landlord enters the mix, with a specific remit to 'create a tenancy'.
                          If the would-be tenant hands over fees for 'whatever', in respect of no particular property, then of course the T may have a case to claim against the agent for a refund if he gets nothing in exchange for these fees. But that's nothing to do with the non-existent/non-specific landlord.

                          Therefore there must be some recourse against the agent when the 'contract to create a tenancy' is breached as (at that point) T may not even know who LL is.
                          A contract to create a tenancy is a tenancy contract; the tenancy takes effect in possession. If the agent is acting on behalf of a landlord, and grants a tenancy on behalf of the landlord, then the contract is between the landlord and the tenant. The tenant will know who the landlord is because the landlord's name will be on the contract he signs.

                          There is no half-way house contract to create a tenancy between the agent (independent of any specific landlord) and the tenant. There is no grey area.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by TheRealMrsSmith View Post

                            AmirMahdavi
                            If you really do not want to proceed with this proposed tenancy then I suggest you ask to speak to the manager of the branch and tell him that you felt under pressure to sign their papers/documents and that you did not have sufficient time in which to read them properly. Explaining that you have now had proper chance to read them and your reasons regarding the reference checks being less stringent than you would like (it's hard to believe proper credit checks are not carried out by such a prominent agent on top of which they charge the tenant a fortune to do) State that you do not wish to proceed with this particular tenant, mentioning that you will be forced to make a complaint to the property ombudsman as you were under pressure to sign forms quick. I really wish you luck, as already mentioned - this agent does play hardball.
                            I use this agency and always wait until I receive the references before I sign anything. I do not think you have a case for pulling out of this tenancy. You were not under any obligation to sign the instructions to exchange before receiving the references.

                            Comment

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