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Chris_H
Chris_H, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1082
Experience:  Solicitor with 10 years experience in Commercial, Property and Consumer Legal Isssues
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I am a landlord who employed a letting agent back in 2010 to

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I am a landlord who employed a letting agent back in 2010 to find me a tenant. They were not retained to manage the property though.
At this point I signed a contract with them to find me a tenant which they did.
In May 2013, I contacted the same agent and asked them to find me another tenant, again no management would be required.
I have decided I no longer wish to use this agent and they have sent me an invoice for termination fees as per contract I signed back when I commissioned their services back in 2010. I have not signed a new contract when I re-employed them back in May this year. They state thay the original contract from back in 2010 is still valid even though as far as I was concerned this contract only applied for them to find me the tenant back in 2010. Can you advise if such contracts are never ending
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Chris_H replied 1 year ago.

Chris_H :

Hello and welcome to just answer.

Chris_H :

Do you have a pdf copy of the original contract? would it be possible to post the relevant parts of it (e.g. on termination) here?

Customer:





































4.1













Ending of the Agreement between Landlord and Agent:













4.2














  • The rent that we agree on with the tenant prior to tenancy commencing will include any charges such as ground rent, buildings insurance and service charges that may apply to the property. All utilities -including Council Tax will not be included in the rent.


Rent Remittance


The rental income will be transferred into your bank account when we have received clear funds in our account. BY transfer or cheque. This can take upto 10 working days.













4.3













Change of Ownership:













During the tenancy agreement if you decide to sell the property with the tenant still in occupation you will remain liable for all fees throughout the period of the tenancy.













4.4













Withdrawal of tenancy agreement:














  • If we have found a tenant for you and they have signed the contract and given us a holding fee, or if you decide to withdraw for any reason, you agree to pay a fee of £350, which will cover the costs of advertising, viewings and administration work.





THIS WAS SIGNED IN FEB 2010.

Customer:

NO NEW CONTRACT HAS BEEN GIVEN OR SIGNED WHEN COMMISSIONING THE WORK OF THE AGENT IN MAY 2013

Customer:

4.1 Ending of the Agreement between Landlord and Agent:


 



  • If for any reason this Agreement is terminated by you a minimum of 60 days notice must be given in writing. A fee of


£350 .00 is charged to you if you withdraw from a signed contract at any point.


 

Expert:  Chris_H replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have not received an answer to my question
Expert:  Chris_H replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thanks for your reply. Unfortunately I didn't receive notice of your previous reply for some reason, which is why I haven't responded sooner. I notice that you have given a bad rating, which I understand given that you haven't received a response. However, I am happy to deal with the matter now which I can do straight away. Would this be ok and if so, would you be prepared to give a positive rating if you are happy with the answer?

Many thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, yes if I receive an answer I'm happy to give good rating
Expert:  Chris_H replied 1 year ago.

ok many thanks.

 

So, if I understand correctly you entered into a contract for the letting agent to find you a tenant which they originally did successfully. You signed a contract with the written terms set out above. You then asked them to find you another tenant in May 2013 but didn't enter into a further written agreement. I presume that they did not find you a tenant and accordingly recently notified them that you no longer wished to use them.

 

They have referred to the termination fee in the original contract, in turn you have told them that you didn't sign a further contract.

 

The questions I address, therefore, are as follows:

 

1. Do the original terms of contract apply to the new contract; and if so;

2. Is the termination fee enforceable?

 

Do the original terms of contract apply to the new contract

 

My opinion is that unfortunately yes. If you signed an original contract then I think that in the absence of a successive contract a court would be likely to find that it could be inferred that you were contracting on the same terms.

 

However, you could reasonably argue that in the original contract the termination fee appears to be linked to the provision of ongoing management of nthe property which doesn't apply in your case.

 

Is the termination fee enforceable?

 

Even if the termination fee was found to be enforceable you may have the following options:

 

1. In uk law any clause which penalises you for terminating a contract needs to be justified as amounting to a realistic reflection of the loss you have suffered. So the letting agent would need to show that they have in fact incurred losses at a level similar to £350.

 

2. Whilst I have not seen the whole agreement it would appear reasonable to me for you to be able to argue that you were terminating the contract in response to their inability to find you a tenant within a reasonable period (if that is the case) and in the circumstances you are terminating the agreement in response to their breach,

 

In any event if you have not already paid the £350 I would suggest that the best option would be to reply to them setting out the arguments above. The onus would be then on them to pursue the matter through the courts and prove that the £350 is justifiable which I suspect they may struggle with and may well be much more trouble than its worth.

 

I hope this is of assistance. Please let me know if you need any more information on anything.

 

Chris_H, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1082
Experience: Solicitor with 10 years experience in Commercial, Property and Consumer Legal Isssues
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