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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3495
Experience:  Two years conveyancing experience.
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Hi Alex I own a three bed house in London that we rent out

Customer Question

Hi Alex

I own a three bed house in London that we rent out through an agent - the first three tenants decided to leave after the first year and new tenants were found by the agent all at 10% lettings fee - this was handled by a now departed junior who falsely signed documents and had keys cut all without our consent this resulted in an agreement between us and the agent to drop the agents fee for the second year to 5% which we have paid until they stopped sending us bills 2 years ago. Of the three tenants that this agreement applied to all but one have left with the remaining tenant finding replacements without the agents help as they will only fill an empty house not empty rooms. We have now received a bill from the agent for this years full 10% we think because the lettings manager that handled the case has moved on triggering an automatic renewals process - we would like to dump the agent but do not know if we can and as they hold the deposit does this make it more difficult.
I would be very grateful to receive any help you can
yours sincerely

Ed Bassett
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question. My name is Alex J and I am happy to help you.

Firstly do not worry about the deposits as they belong to the tenants and have to be bonded by law. The agent will not be allowed to recover their fees from these deposits.

Secondly I would suggest you write to the agent as follows:
1. Say under no circumstances do you agree to this renewal nor were the agent instructed to conduct or help with this renewal;
2. Say that their behavior in dealing with this matter has been at best obtuse and at worst fraudulent on the basis of their staff member forging documents. Say to them that you have been extremely tolerant in not reporting this to the police;
3. Say you consider their demand for money as harassment under S.40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 and if they do no confirm in writing that the invoice has been rescinded within 7 days you will reserve the right to report this to either the police or trading standards;
4. Say for avoidance of doubt you consider the matter and your arrangement with them to be terminated.

You will need to find a separate bonded scheme to move the deposits to . There is a Tenancy Deposit Service that can assist with this. https://www.tds.gb.com/

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Alex J
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thanks for the reply however we have been paying the reduced rate of 5% yearly since the transgressions which happened in 2007 and were under the impression that this was for five years only.They stopped sending us invoices after the last payment in 2011which we thought to be the end of them. Now the guilty parties have moved on and an invoice and renewal documents have come through and we are worried that the agents will reiterate the agreement that we have with them to pay the fees if 'one or more of the tenants they found originally remain in the property' and that our original complaint is to old and we appeared to have been assuaged by the paying the 5%...........what do you think?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Are they charging you 10% on the original tenants rent only or all the new tenants?

Five years have passed now anyway so why cant you terminate the agreement with them?

I would at least try and terminate the agreement as I have outlined above and then if they still insist on charging you 10% you can always refer back to your original agreement of 5%.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

they have asked that we pay 10% of the full rental income - are we obliged to pay them every year even if they do not do anything? oris it only for a limited period?


thanks

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

Can you tell me exactly what their terms and conditions say?

Also is there a section on termination?

Kind regards

AJ

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