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.