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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have two problems relating to an estate agency I recently

Customer Question

I have two problems relating to an estate agency I recently used to sell my property:
1. I believe the service I received to sell my home was poor and I have therefore withheld their payment from the proceeds of sale. In summary, during the course of the sale (18 months) the property was empty and the keys left with the agency. On more than one occasion the doors to the property were left open, we were not notified of problems that would have put off purchasers, we agreed a 'quick sale' price that took 4 months and finally between exchange & completion the agency allowed access to the property for decorators to begin work without our agreement. This is not an exhaustive list but these are the main areas.
2. The same agency introduced purchasers to us for another property we were building. There fee of 1.5% was paid from the proceeds of sale direct. We had no contract with the agency and had not negotiated fees, the introduction was made as the agent was aware of our building project because our other house was being marketed by them. The agency did not 'market' the property as such and I therefore feel that the 1.5% was excessive but I don't know whether we have a legal right to ask for a percentage to be returned?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 4 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : Do you believe they are entitled to a reduced fee or no fee at all please?
JACUSTOMER-1allc0i2- : I am happy to pay a reduced fee on both properties.
Alex Watts :

Did you sign an agency agreement at all please?

Alex Watts :

Just so that I understand one agency fee has been paid but the second is outstanding

Alex Watts :

Is that right?

JACUSTOMER-1allc0i2- : We signed an agency agreement on property 1 where the service was poor and have yet to settle the bill. We didn't sign an agreement on property 2 where the fee was paid from the proceeds of sale direct from our solicitor.
Alex Watts : But in effect they introduced from one property to another?
JACUSTOMER-1allc0i2- : The couple introduced to property 2 never viewed property 1, however, the agent was aware that we were building property 2 and had been to see it fir himself prior. To put you in the picture, we have done business with the agent before and had a reasonable working relationship, hence some discussion had taken place with regard to the project, however, we had not instructed them to Market the property.
Alex Watts : Ok. Had it not been for the agent would you have sold to these people?
JACUSTOMER-1allc0i2- : Not at that point as we hadn't instructed any agency. Whether they would have come to it when it was marketed we can't know.
Alex Watts : But had it not been for the agents though they would not have known about this other property, is that right?
JACUSTOMER-1allc0i2- : That is correct
Alex Watts : Ok. My view on this is that you would be liable for an introduction fee on the second property. This is because had it not been for the agents then you would not have had this sale. The agency contract will state if I remember they only need to introduce them to you. Sadly therefore regardless of the fact that there is no signed contract for the second property, you will be liable. As you have said you have used the agents before and therefore you would have known there would have been a fee.
Alex Watts : However in terms of the lack of marketing and other errors, I do consider that they would be in breach of contract.
Alex Watts : Under section 13 of the sale of supply and good and services act they must act with all reasonable skill and care.
Alex Watts : If they do not and they have not then you can sue for breach of contract.
Alex Watts : However because you owe them the money you can make a reasonable deduction for losses and breach of contract. I suspect you will owe something as you accept they have carried out some work.
Alex Watts : But it may be far less than the 1.5% claimed.
Alex Watts : I realise this may not necessarily be the answer you want but based on what you have siad, I consider this to be the legal position and have a duty to be honest.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today okease
Alex Watts : please
JACUSTOMER-1allc0i2- : Thanks, that clarifies the situation with the paid fee on property 2. Can you also clarify the poor service on property 1 in particular the allowance of decorators to have unaccompanied access to our property without our consent? At the tine we had exchanged contracts but were still one week from completion. We had verbally agreed that decorators could have access in order to provide the purchaser with quotes, however, they were allowed unaccompanied access and had infact painted three of the rooms in the house when I entered the property to pick up post.
Alex Watts : Yes if it is poor then you can make proper deductions and pay what you think is fair and reasonable.
Alex Watts : Does that help?
JACUSTOMER-1allc0i2- : Yes, many thanks.
Alex Watts : If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’. Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: