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Ending a Tenancy (England) | England | Practical Tips for a Pain-Free End of Tenancy Handover (England)

Changing Letting Agent

16 May 2021 | 1 comment

Hi, Our current tenant has given us two month’s notice he will be leaving at the end of his tenancy. We have been loyal to our current agent for a few years but have been looking at other agents in the area who offer more competitive rates. Our current agents won’t budge on their fees. We approached one to discuss marketing the property for a new 12 month assured tenancy but we were told to check the terms and conditions of existing agent to see if any clause stopping us. We are not sure if a line in the General Terms of Business ( a link on the Lettings Terms & Conditions Summary which was only sent to one of us) is effective in this case. It reads ‘In the event of the tenancy being terminated, it is agreed that we will be re-instructed to find replacement tenants on a sole agency basis for a minimum period of twelve weeks from the date of notice being served’. Kindly advise. Thanks

Answer

1 Comment

  1. guildy

    That’s a pretty awful clause! Essentially, it ties you in for life!

    The starting point is that if you’ve agreed to something then that’s the agreement (otherwise there’s no point in having any agreements).

    First thing to do would be to check the document you actually signed and see what that says (it may refer back to the terms on the website but you’ll have to see).

    If you’re a “consumer”, in our view, it would unlikely be a fair term under Consumer Rights Act 2015 and therefore unenforceable. The problem is though you’re more likely to be a business in which case those rules don’t apply. There’s no definition of when a consumer becomes a business in this context but perhaps somebody who inherited a house and didn’t voluntarily choose to be a landlord might be a consumer. But, someone who buys a property for the purpose of renting is likely a business. Each case would be judged on its own merits.

    You could always try speaking with them about giving notice. It’s possible there’s some term in the agreement which gives instructions on how either party can give notice. They might also be amicable to giving notice.

    Beyond that, it might be worth complaining to the Property Redress Scheme which the agent will be a member of (which must be displayed by law on their website). The grounds for complaint would be that the term essentially means you’re tied in for life – even if the tenant gives notice to leave (for example, what if you wanted to sell?).

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