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Lettings agent - unfair renewal fees

(7 Posts)
Sabaidee Wed 15-Jul-15 13:35:02

I rent out a small flat in London.

I used a lettings agent initially who found my tenants and has been 'managing' the property for the past year. The tenants are great and have been no problem, but the agent has been disappointing, unprofessional and basically rubbish.

The 1st year's tenancy will be up soon and I would like to manage the place myself; my tenants agree as they have been unimpressed with the agents too. I am happy for the tenancy to roll into a periodic tenancy and am not going to raise the rent.

I have given the agent 3 months' notice to cease the 'management' side of the agreement as I gain no value from it.

My questions are about the agent:
- are they justified in charging me and the tenants an 'administration fee' each when there is no contract to administer?
- can I get rid of the agents totally, although they feel they 'own' the tenant?

So frustrating. I wouldn't mind if they earned their money, but given that they charge extra for every 'service' they offer, on top of the 'management' fee, it just isn't worth it!

wowfudge Wed 15-Jul-15 13:43:02

Have you told them you no longer want them to act for you? You have given them notice and they'll get their fees for the notice period, but you could also disinstruct them and tell them they no longer have your permission to act as your agent. Pay the agent the three months' management fees now and have nothing more to do with them.

Make sure the tenants re-direct the rent payment to you, get their deposit protected in your name rather than the agent's.

Bob's your uncle. Yes, you are paying them for nothing, but that's how you feel anyway.

SauvignonPlonker Wed 15-Jul-15 14:01:15

What does your contract with the agents say?

Sabaidee Wed 15-Jul-15 15:44:52

Sauvignon - I'm not a total idiot, but I find their contract really hard to understand. I know, my responsibility, but the weasel words just seem designed to confuse!

Fudge - if I dis-instruct will the agents still chase me for ongoing fees (for as long as the tenants remain in the property)? I'd like to have nothing to do with them - even if I do pay during the notice period, but I don't know how to totally disentangle them!

LamppostInWinter Wed 15-Jul-15 15:49:34

It really all depends what your contract says and how clearly it says it. I'd get a legal type to read it and check if you don't understand it. I've known a landlord taken to court by an agent for ongoing fees (Non managed and disinstructed) as the tenant was still in the property, and the agent won because the judge deemed the terms of business clear on the matter.

wowfudge Wed 15-Jul-15 16:59:15

Bloody hell I hope not OP! I cannot see that being anything other than unfair contract terms to try to say you have to pay them fees when they are no longer the managing agents.

They don't own the tenants, the find and get the tenants then deal with the ongoing management. Just get rid - pay them their three months' worth of management fees and have done with it. If you are unsure about the Ts and Cs then get a solicitor to look at them for you for a fixed fee and a letter giving notice.

I got rid of the agents when I was a landlord as they were useless and nearly lost me the tenant through their incompetence. I gave them notice and they had the good grace not to bill me for their fees even though technically I should have paid them.

wowfudge Wed 15-Jul-15 17:03:35

I will add, if the agents haven't acted as they should have done in accordance with the agreement with them, then that is your leverage to get out of the contract.

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