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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Please can you advise on the following,.. We rented out a

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Hello, please can you advise on the following,..
We rented out a property for 3 years with the rental ending on 31 January 2016. During that time we had a contract with a letting and management agency for them managing the property. We took off the rental market in March 2016 and placed the property for sale with two estate agents, one of which was the company we previously used for the rental.
We had an offer on the property on 28 June via the company who previously rented it for us, which we accepted subject to the potential purchasers selling their property. As the property is empty and the potential buyers are keen to get their children into the local school we suggested that the potential purchasers may wish to rent out the property until such time theirs has sold. This was agreed and the tenancy agreement starts tomorrow, 19 August.
The agent has made an assumption that we want a full management agreement as with the previous tenant and has assumed the terms still apply, whereas we believe this is a totally new contract given the property was taken off the rental market five months ago. As a result they are charging us fees for one months notice for removal of full management, administration fee for producing a revised agreement to reflect no management and a placement service. Totalling £500 + VAT. At no time have they sent us any contract, terms or agreement to review or sign.
Your advice would be appreciated
Thank you
Mandy Basham

Hello Mandy my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

Do you ever instruct them after to manage this one with tenant?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ash, thanks for coming back to me. No, we haven't asked them to manage the new tenant and they haven't asked us or sent us any documentation. The circumstances with this tenant are very different to the previous. The previous tenant only occupied the property for three months of the year hence we wanted the property 'looked after' (we live away). The new tenants will be living there permanently, should have a vested interest in maintaining it and we have had the whole property improved so full management is unnecessary.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We haven't given them notice to change the terms as surely the initial contract would have ended when the previous tenant's agreement ended or, when the property was taken off the rental market?

Did you ever tell the agents they would be on different terms?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
yesterday. I asked them to advise of the terms to which they responded 'as before'. I then advised we do not require full management. They responded today saying they would deduct a total of £685 +VAT from the first months rent. This amount includes a placement fee, redrafting of the agreement (which we haven't seen) and one months notice fees.

Did you ask about the fees before you instructed them?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. We suggested the potential purchasers may wish to rent until they sold their own property to allow them to place their children in the local school before the new term. This suggestion was accepted and so the agents progressed.

The agents assumed it was on the same basis as before as you had not said otherwise?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It seems that way. We asked twice for the terms earlier this week when we realised that the tenants were due to move in imminently and we hadn't seen sight of any terms or the rental agreement. Just to confirm there has only been one tenant previously and he was on a three year contract. This ended in January 2016. The property was withdrawn from the rental market in March when it was placed on the 'for sale' market with the same agent. We would assume therefore that the original letting agreement was also terminated.

Thanks. Contracts be can be on several ways:

1) Oral - like when you go to the supermarket and purchase goods

2) Written

3) By conduct - this is where there has been a history of dealings and because of that everyone assumes its on the same basis.

Unless you said otherwise I do not think it would have been unreasonable of the agents to assume this was any different. You had not told them it would not be - therefore I think if it went to Court a Judge would ask, did you notify them they were engaged on different terms - if the answer is no, then I think any claim would be in the agents favour

The difficulty here is that there has been a course of dealings on a certain basis. This new contract was different but you didnt suggest otherwise.

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I Want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks for your feedback Ash. We will continue to push back,although not through court, as at the moment it's win win all the way for them. They will also receive commission on the sale of the property. We will see how it goes! Regards, Mandy

Indeed. If this answers your question could I invite you to rate my answer before you go today, otherwise the site doesn’t pay me for the time spent with you. Thanks in advance and good luck.

Ash and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Ash
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Ash, I thought I'd let you know the outcome of our discussions. The agent has removed the placement fees and charge for the notice period so we pleased with the result.
Thanks again for your advise
Mandy Basha

Great news!