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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22624
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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I am one of the directors of a Property company. We have decided

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I am one of the directors of a Property company. We have decided to replace the existing managing agent. There's no signed contract. We sent her a termination letter earlier today but she's refusing to accept the termination. What are our legal options?
Thank you for your question here on Just answer. It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me if I need to ask for any further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully. My name isXXXXX and I am a practising solicitor. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.
Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case. I will be online and off-line all day most weekdays and weekends.

Was this agreement for a set period of time?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There was no agreement and no formal appointment was ever made. The complex had been managed by the developers until we took it over from them in June. She was a friend of one of the other directors. She sent a draft by email. But we never signed it. We have instructed another managing agent. We are seeking to replace her because of conflict of interest

Thank you.

How much notice have you given her?

When you say she is refusing to accept it, what exactly do you
mean. Is she intending to carry on managing? I find that bizarre

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Please see below for her exact words:


Unfortunately, whether you have signed the contract or not, it is valid and you cannot terminate as below as we have not breached the terms of it. The contract was in your possession for over 3 months before commencement and at no time during that period did you take the opportunity to alter any of the terms within. The terms were not interim, the contracted period is for two years.



I know we are doing the right thing but I need some help re the form of words to use to let her know we are serious and what legal options are available to us to force her out.

I will word the letter for you which is unusual for me and we are
not really supposed to do it but as it is relatively short and to the point

thank you for your
letter of the x the contents of which are noted.

You are entitled to your
opinion and we have taken advice on your letter and your alleged contract and
unfortunately your opinion is flawed.

The only contract that
exists between us is verbal and it is terminated on reasonable notice. We have
already given you one months notice (or whatever you have given) and therefore
this contract will terminate on X date.

We did not sign the
contract quite simply because we did not agree with the contents in it. Had we
agreed with the contents, we would have signed it.

For the avoidance of
doubt, we will pay you no further charges after that date and you will be
required to provide no service.

If you do not understand
the contents of this letter, we suggest you seek legal advice.

We can see no point in
enter into any further correspondence and if you feel differently, you should
issue proceedings. If you are minded to bring legal action, it will be defended
and we will seek costs against you.

Basically, you are telling her to get stuffed. I wouldn't enter
into lengthy correspondence. And even if her solicitor writes to you I would
write back and tell them not to write to you again but issue proceedings which
you will defend. There is no point in this exchanging absolutely zillions of
letters to no effect.

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PS. I use voice type, voice recognition typing because I only
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sometimes they slip through. I apologise therefore if anything doesn't make
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Stuart J and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

That is absolutely brilliant!!! Thank you so much. You will get 100% rating from me! I just have one more question. This managing agent also owes £50,000 in unpaid service charges before we took over the managements. She simply used her relationship with one of the director to attempt to wipe off this debt. But we found out about it, as well as her attempts to How do we phrase this conflict of interest in this follow-up letter?


Many thanks for your help!!!

Mention the conflict of interest if you wish

I think you mean that the managing agent is owed £50,000 in
unpaid service charge which they have not chased. You can put the following in
the letter then

Notwithstanding the above,
we are of the opinion that you are a breach of contract because you have failed
to collect the c £50,000 arrears of service charges owed by various defaulting
tenants and you failed to deal with that in a timely manner or at all.

These should have been
collected by your predecessor, but if you as you maintain, you took on the
benefit their contract, (which is denied) you also took on the burden.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. she managed the commercial units and simply refused to pay a portion of their charges.

I'm sorry, I don't understand.

Do you mean that she personally owes 50 grand?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

the complex has 93 flats and 4 commercial units. The commercial units are owned by an investment company and they appointed her to manage the commercial units. So prior to June this year, the developers manage all the residential units directly but this agent managed the commercial units and reported in to the developers. During that time, she failed to pay some of the service charges and accumulated debts in excess of £50,000 on the grounds that she disputes them. We have now taken over the management of the complex and she's seeking to manipulate us into wiping off this debt. At the same time increasing the service charges for the residential leaseholders


I am seeking your help on how to phrase this in legal language to tell her that we have received the accounts from the developers which shows that she owes this money which she disputes and we need a credible third party to advise us on where the truth is.



I am either missing something here or it is late and I am tired
or I am stupid.

Unless she is the tenant how can she owe service charge?

Forgive me for being stupid but the tenants of the commercial
units pay the service charge to the management company in the management
company do the various jobs or arrange to have the management company do the
various jobs.

I don't know how she accumulated debts or how she can dispute the
service charge which she should be collecting.

I think I'm missing something fundamental here.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The commercial tenants pay to her (because she was their managing agent) and then she pays on their behalf to the developers.


What changed is that in June this year we took over from the developers and she used her friendship with one of the directors to become managing agent for the entire complex

I understand that completely.

I don't know how she owes £50,000.

Either the tenants didn't pay her .

or she didn't hand the money over .


I don't know how she disputes it because it's not for her to dispute it is simply for her to collect the money and pass it over . the Tenants might dispute it but that is nothing to do with her. She appears, in effect, to be a glorified service charge collector .


I am off-line now until tomorrow but will pick this up at some stage as I will be online spasmodically. during the day