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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 25616
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I am a landlord. I decided to sell the flat which currently

Customer Question

I am a landlord. I decided to sell the flat which currently being tenanted. The tenancy agreement ends on 1st April 2015 and I decided to extend the tenancy on a monthly periodic tenancy. in 2013 I used an agent to find a tenant for me. The tenancy has been renewed once in 2014. I have been charged for renewal fees of 10% of the annual rent by my agent for the renewal of the tenancy. As mentioned, I have not renewed my tenants agreement but leave it on a periodic tenancy. My agent has charged me a renewal fee (10% of 6 months of annual rent) for leaving it on periodic tenancy. I have no agreement with the agent - it was all done verbally. I disputed the renewal fees because there is no renewal. Please advise what my legal position is on the disputed fees. Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. May I ask were you specifically made aware of the agents desire to charge renewal fees at the outset of the tenancy and if so did you agree the term please? It is is not sufficient for the agent to rely on small print - he must spcifically have hightlighted the termand have evidence you agreed to it
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There was no agreement made between the agent and I - there is no wrtten T and Cs. However, the renewal fees was charged for renewing the tenancy in 2014 and I paid for the fees thinkng that its an industry standard for this sorts of thing. However, charging me again for a non renewal in 2015 is something I dispute.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. There was a very significant High Court Ruling in the case of OFT v Foxtons which has confirmed that renewal fees are unenforceable as unfair terms under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations unless the terms was known to the customer and agreed by him. An agent can evidence this by showing for example that the renewal fee was individually negotiated between him and you or the fee is specifically highlighted in the agreement and you have acknowledged the term specifically - e.g by intialling it. It is not sufficient to rely on a term buried in the small print. The decision handed down in the High Court in the matter of OFT v Foxtons (Foxtons are as you will probably know are an estate / lettings agency) that all the terms the OFT brought before the court were unfair, including Foxtons' use of terms: requiring a landlord to pay substantial sums in commission, where a tenant continues to occupy the property after the initial fixed period of the tenancy has expired – even if Foxtons plays no part in persuading the tenant to stay, and does not collect the rent or manage the property - relevant hererequiring a landlord to pay commission to Foxtons even after it had sold the propertyallowing Foxtons to receive a full estate agents' commission for sale of the property to a tenant.If the agent cannot show that it was specifically highlighted and or negotiated with you, which from what you say he cannot you may consider referring the agent to the above case and advising them that you would be very happy to contact the OFT via Trading Standards. The OFT (who brought the action in the first place) should be willing to support you and you could involve the Property Ombudsman that the agent is a member of as he must be by law. You may also be able to reclaim the previous renewal fee you paid if it was demanded unlawfully as would seem to be the case. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? I'd be very grateful to know that the above was of assistance.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
I hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to yo. Many thanks

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