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Nicola-mod
Nicola-mod, Moderator
Category: Property Law
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Experience:  Moderator
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Hello, I am trying to get out of a contract with Estate Agents.

Customer Question

Hello, I am trying to get out of a contract with Estate Agents. We have initially accepted an offer, but then when we decided that we don't really sell the house right now and turned the offer down. Before cancelling the contract with the estate agents we wanted to check the meaning of one part:

notice of the right to cancel
if you have given us your written agreement to market your property within the cancellation period you may be required to pay our comission fees if we have introduced a purchaser to your property prior to your serving a notice of cancellation

Does this mean that if they have found a buyer for us (even if the sale didn't proceed) if we get out of the contract we will need to pay their fees. Or are we only going to pay if we end up selling to anyone they have introduced to us?

Thank you
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 4 years ago.

tdlawyer :

Hello, welcome to Justanswer. My name is Tony and I shall try and help you with this.

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

Hello

tdlawyer :

Are you within the "cancellation period" that the clause refers to?

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

in the contract it is written that the contract is for min of 12 weeks. We signed it on 13th May

tdlawyer :

Does it say what the cancellation period is thought that the clause refers to?

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

we can give them 4 weeks notice and therefore cancel after week 8 that's all it says

tdlawyer :

It's always difficult to judge these things without seeing the complete contract, but it seems to me that it is saying that if you pull out, then they would be entitled to their fees anyway.

tdlawyer :

But, oddly, this leaves a great big gap potentially in their terms and conditions.

tdlawyer :

If you only have to pay comission for tenants found in the cancellation period, then by not serving notice, you're not likely to be in the "cancellation period" and hence, there is no need to pay the commission at this stage.

tdlawyer :

I doubt that can be what was intended though.

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

We are selling the house though not renting it out

tdlawyer :

Yes, I understand.

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

It seems very unfait to have to pay them a comission for introducing a buyer given that we don't want to proceed with the sale

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

I meant 'unfair'

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

it doesn't make sense

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

Are you still there?

tdlawyer :

I'm here.

tdlawyer :

Just technical issues here.

tdlawyer :

Yes, it does seem a little unfair, but in contract, fairness isn't really a consideration. It comes down to what you agree to more often that not.

tdlawyer :

You could challenge this though, especially if the agent is a member of the Property Ombudsman scheme. Do you know if it is?

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

they are big so should be

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

can we get around it by cancelling the offer on the house and cancelling the contract a few days later

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

so the cancellation of the contract will be after cancelling the offer

tdlawyer :

They often have special wording to stop that - something like if the person we introduce buys the house within 12 months of cancellation etc. then you're liable.

tdlawyer :

But, if they don't have that wording, it might be possible to do as you're suggesting.

tdlawyer :

The liability though is usually paid when they introduce somebody that does buy, not usually when you choose to cancel within a certain period.

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

we do not intend to sell it for another 6 months at least

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

we just want to end the contract with the estate agents

tdlawyer :

Why dont you do a deal with the agent that you'll put it back on the market and sell it in 6 months and they can have exclusive rights to doing it for you on the present terms?

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

because we are not happy with them

tdlawyer :

I see.

tdlawyer :

Then you need to get the whole of the contract looked at really, to be able to understand what your position is.

tdlawyer :

I can comment on specific terms for you, if you set them out carefully and in full for me, but its probably best to be completely honest with you to get the contract looked at as a whole by a solicitor near to you.

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

o

JACUSTOMER-mqxkbabq- :

ok

tdlawyer :

Do you want to set out the specific clauses for me to comment briefly upon?

tdlawyer :

You've rated poor service and I would like to help you change that if I may?

Expert:  Ash replied 4 years ago.
I see the expert has decided not to continue. Do you still wish an expert to help and if so what is it you would like to know that has not been addressed so far?

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 4 years ago.
Hello,

Just a quick reminder, there is an information request here from the new Expert. This means they need to know more details before they will be able to give you a full answer.

Thank you,
Nicola