If you're not happy with your Letting Agent, can you make a change?
There can be many reasons for wanting a change from your current letting agents: inadequate response to maintenance issues; poor vetting of tenants; excessive fees; little to no guidance on the latest legislation that affects you (leaving you exposed to fines or even prosecution!).
Whatever your reasons for thinking of changing agents, how easy is this to do in the middle of a current tenant contract?
Most full-management contracts do not allow for the easy termination of this agreement for as long as the current tenant is in place. Understandably, once a Letting Agent has undertaken the work of finding and vetting a tenant, registering your deposit and carrying out necessary checks, and have agreed to manage the let, they will be reluctant to allow you to end the agreement just because you resent paying the management fees.
And if the service from your letting agent has been good, it would be short-sighted to end your contract merely because you don’t see why you are paying monthly management fees. Remember, those fees are for what might happen, as much as what has happened. Unless you have the resources to deal with emergency (and non-emergency) maintenance issues, or to chase unpaid rent or evict problem tenants, then a good letting agent is worth their weight in gold.
But, if you are seriously unhappy with the service you’re getting, it may be worth looking for the get out clauses in your contract. Here’s how that might work:
1. Is there a termination clause?
Often, there will be the option to give your current agent a notice period (usually two months). You may have to pay an ‘Introduction Fee’ to recognise that they have secured your current tenant – usually the equivalent of four-six months of management fees.
2. Has the service from your current letting agent been so bad that it would amount to breach of contract?
And if so, have you documented all the breaches and all your (written) requests to the letting agent that these breaches be rectified? Breaches of contract might include:
- Failing to carry out inspections as agreed in contract
- Failing to report or respond to maintenance issues either seen on inspection or reported by tenants
- Failure to properly register tenants’ deposit
- Failure to provide you with copies of relevant paperwork (Tenancy Agreements; deposit protection information; inventories)
Once you have definitely decided that it is worth leaving your current letting agent now, rather than waiting until the current tenant leaves, then make sure you speak to the tenant as soon as possible so that they are reassured as to their own security and keep them appraised of who their new contact will be for any issues and of any changes that might affect them.
If you suspect you could be getting a better service from your Letting Agent, why not come and talk to us and find out what a Better Letter can do for you?
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