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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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A am a landlord and was marketing my 2 bedroom flat through

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A am a landlord and was marketing my 2 bedroom flat through an agency for Lettings. One of the agents (who is also my friend) from this office brought a prospective tenant to the see it. It was too expensive for them. I then suggested renting it as a 1 be and me using the 2nd bed as storage for my belonging only at a cheaper rate. They agreed. My friend forwarded to me a blank contract which I amended to suit the tenancy a by deleting and adding necessary clauses. I did not tell the agency about the deal I had done but they found out by seeing the sent contract on my friends computer. The agency is now threatening to sue me and I am awaiting a letter from their solicitor. The tenants are supposed to be moving in tomorrow. If I let them move in what can I be liable for and if I don't can I still be in trouble?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

I assume they want their fee?
Alex

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
They have not said as of yet but I assume, what else could they be wanting? The agent (friend) has been fired, originally not for this reason but after when they checked her emails they came across the sent contract and worked it out and used as an after reason also for her dismissal.
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Did you sign any terms and conditions with the agency?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I did. The fee is 10%+vat and the admin charge that carries the cost of the contract is 275£+vat. Is this all they can ask for or can they look o air me for much more? The company won't speak to me and have advised there is a letter on its was.
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

What do the terms say about when a fee is payable?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
For a tenant introduced by them yes! Will I just be liable for fee or can it cost me a lot more???
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Does it define what an introduction is?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I don't know. I don't have a copy of them.
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Do you have a signed contract which defines it?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I don't have a copy of the signed terms with the agency but the agency does. They also ha e a copy of the contract I amended which me and tenants have signed.
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Can you ask for a copy to see what it says?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I now have a copy to send to you but he file is too large
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Can I email directly to you?
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

I dont need to see it, just need to know what it say about introduction?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok so I am about to send pics is the terms as most of it is about the commissions and how or when they are owed. Also I have noticed that at the bottom of the past page there is a box I left unticked which which I believe means they should not have been marketing the property until 14days from the date of signature(25/05/16) the viewing took place on the 26/05/16. I then took the property off the market verbally in person with the manager he did not advice any further action was needed on the 7/06/2016 and collected my keys.
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

I need to know what it says about an introduction and whether it defines the term

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Did you get the pictures? That is the full terms I signed?
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

No pictures sorry!

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Maybe now?
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Ok - did they find a tenant who was accepted by you?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I thought I had said, my friend who works at the agency brought an applicant around the day after I signed those terms. I then carried on speaking with those applicants directly without my friend or the agencies involvement. We struck a deal for them to rent the flat exploding one of the bedrooms so that they could afford it. My friend from the agency sent me a draft contract which I amended and me and the tenants signed. When the tenants signed I sent this to my friend at the agency to print off I signed and then she scanned it back to me. And this was all done within the first 14days if that matters at all...
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
excluding one of the rooms
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
My friend at the agency did not put any information on the system about the deal apart from the initial booking of the viewing. She has since been sacked for unrelated reasons but once sacked they reviewed her emails and found the contract she scanned for me.
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Ok - its bad news I am afraid, they found a tenant and he was accepted by you. That is an introduction and as such under the terms of the contract a fee is payable.

It makes no difference whether or not your friend put information on the system - the fact of the matter is they introduced a tenant who you accepted

If you had not signed the contract or you had rejected the tenant it would be different. But I am sorry to say based on the wording of this contract you are liable for a fee.

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
regarding the fact I did not tick the box allowing them to start marketing straight away. Marketing from the company should not have started until the expiry of clause 22. Meaning when the tenants were introduced it was not from the company but from my friend (who was obviously breaking her employment contract) but never the less the company at this time was not instructed by me to be marketing or bringing any tenants around.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
This is my first question the second is if it does go on the agencies favour what am I liable for the - the value of the few I owe them or could it be a lot greater. Also does it matter if me and the tenants cancel the agreement and they do not move in? Am I still liable for anything?
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

If it went to Court a Judge would decide what was the intention on balance, so what is more likely. Given you have signed the contract a Judge is likely to conclude that you wanted a tenant. if you did not and did not want it marketed then its likely you would not have signed a contract

The fact you did not tick the box is more likely an omission rather than a lack of intent, otherwise why would you have signed the contract?

If you are found liable it would be the fee under the contract. If they dont move in then you would not be liable.

But I think on balance, its likely a Judge would find in their favour, given the signed contract

Does that clarify? Alex

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The intention was to get a tenant but I wanted the 14day cooling off period as I knew I had asked my friend to find any suitable tenants in the meantime for just one bedroom. A wrong doing by her behalf as she was employed by the company that I had just signed terms with and not employed by me but could this be understood by a judge?And just last clarification if they do not move in there is no was I can be liable for anything?
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Yes they need to give you a 14 day cooling off period. If they dont move in then nothing is payable.

Does that clarify? Alex

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
No, to my initial question could I be liable for more than the fee, like court cost or damages how much more than just the fee could they sue for?
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

No - they can only sue for the fee, thats it.

Does that clarify? Alex

Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

Court fee as well if the value claimed is £10k or under. But thats it.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Not the costs of their solicitors? And do you have an indication of court costs?
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

County Court fees here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fees-for-civil-and-family-courts/court-fees-for-the-high-court-county-court-and-family-court

No - they cant claim for all the work done if its a small claim, which is £10,000 or under. There is a fixed Solicitor fee on issue between £50 and £100, but thats it.

Does that clarify?

Alex

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
thank you very much
Expert:  Ash replied 9 months ago.

If I could invite you to rate my answer before you go today please, otherwise the site does not credit me for the time spent with you today. Thanks and good luck. Alex

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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