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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I confirm whether the other agency that has now raised an invoice actually found a tenant that now rents the property please? I presume not from what you say?
Hi Joshua. The person in the property now was shown around the property by the agent who has raised the invoice. However they were not prepared to accept him as a tenant as he had to exchange contracts on his house that he was selling. They made the decision that they would keep looking for a tenant and did not inform me that they had in fact shown him around the house and that he was interested in renting. The client felt they were not helping him, and as they had not mentioned this client to me I do not feel that they were acting in my best interests either.
The client then saw the house advertised with another agent and he then agreed terms with that agent and me. In this respect both th esecond agent and myself feel that there is no tenant "poaching" that has occurred.
Thanks. Just reviewing the above...
This matter has for some time now been settled following a high profile case of Foxtons v Bicknell in which the Court of Appeal decided that Foxtons (a large estate agency) was only entitled to charge a fee when it introduced a buyer that actually goes on to buy the property. It decided that introduced' meant introducing a buyer to the 'purchase' and not just to the 'property'. The same principles have been held to apply to lettings agents where in order to charge a fee they must be instrumental in actually bringing the tenant to the tenancy. It is not sufficient for them to simply show a tenant around and then claim they are entitled to a commission because some time later the tenant decided to rent. An agent cannot charge a fee where a tenant does not actually contract to rent the property directly as a result of the agents actions.
The only exception to this would be if you had appointed the prior agent on a sole lettings rights basis where they had exclusive right to market the property for a period and you failed to end the contract prior to letting to a tenant. Any such term would need to have been specifically understood by you and the burden of proof would be on the agent to demonstrate this. Such an arrangement is comparatively unusual.
Accordingly unless you agreed to such arrangement which I suspect would not be the case then you may wish to refer the agent to the above case and advise that as they did not actually introduce the tenant to the rental agreement you will not be settling their invoice and that you request a credit note.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
The above is of great help. There was an initial agreement that I would only use them to let the property but as they had not found me a tenant I advised them verbally, I called in to their office, and said that I woudl have to use another agent. At which point the second agent marketed the house and immediately found the tenant.
Thanks. Ideally you would give notice in writing rather than verbally but in any event unless you agreed an exclusive contract as above which is unlikely they must still show that they were responsible for the letting in order to claim a commission account following the above decision which from what you say they cannot do
Is there anything else I can help you with?
No thanks, I just need to print the above . Many thanks for the help.
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Hi Joshua,I have replied to the questions, but have not progressed the issue with the estate agent.I will be doing that this weekend but and only communicating with him by post.I will keep you informed.Regards,Rob