Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to help you with this.
This is a slightly difficult situation. But surely the tenancy agreement is made between you as landlord and the tenants not with the agents as anything other than your agents.
Yes but the tenants are worried about being evicted for non payment if they do not pay the letting agent, even though i have explained that i have taken over the management. What can i do if they continue to pay the letting agent?
If you are named as the landlord in the tenancy agreement? Does the tenancy agreement specify to whom the rent should be paid?
Are the tenants on and AST if so are they within the fixed term or outside it?
Yes they are on an AST and have only been tenants since August 2014, I will check the tenancy agreement and get back to you.
The tenancy agreement states I am the landlord and Sweet are the landlords agent, i cant see anywhere that says who the rent is paid to, where would this be on the agreement.
Ok check the clause that specifies who the parties are. I assume it says you. You should write to them and explain that you have sacked the agents. Point out that they are your agents. That they can do nothing without your instructions including taking possession proceedings. You, on the other hand are the landlord and can take possession proceedings. Inform them that you require them to pay the rent to you, give them a way of paying (eg an account to pay into)/ Inform them that the agents have no authority to accept rent on your behalf and that paying money to them is not a legal way to pay rent. Tell them the agents have not forwarded rent to you and you are pursuing them for it. Inform them that if they do not pay rent to you personally then they will be in rent arrears and you will commence possession proceedings and seek payment of the arreasr fromthem plus interst consequential losses and legal costs.
Sorry that last paragraph went before spell checking it.
Tell them they can avoid all this if they just pay rent to you the landlord. Sugar th e pill of you want to by tellign them that you are happy wihthem as tenants and don't want to lose them but you can not continue to lose money.
The tenancy agreement probably doesn't specify payment to the agents. Most don't. That, after all is between you and them and nothing to do with the tenants. You should point this out to them and that their contract is with you not the agents.
If this doesn't work and they pay the agent serve them with a notice seeking possession based on rent arrears. Why have the agents witheld money are you the victim of theft in breach of trust/fraud?
I have used this letting agency for 5 years and the payments have always been late. I have e-mails confirming the tenants have paid the rent and i would be paid 'imminently' but now they do not reply to my e-mails. The property ombudsman is looking into this, should i complain to any other authority?
If they are members of either the National Association of Estate Agents or the Association of Residential Letting Agents then you may be able to complain to their associations but I doubt it will be very effective. You must be owed several thousand pounds now. Have you thought about issuign proceedigns to recover the money owed you can use this link fro information on how to do it https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim-online
will the property ombudsman not be able to recover the money owed?
yes he can but the threat of a CCJ may be more effective. Do they give a reason for not forwarding the money to you?
no reason given
Follow this link for information on how to bring a claim to recover money owed https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim-online