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gussie
21-07-2005, 09:37 AM
My mother has tenants that are happy to continue renting her property after the initial 12 Month AST.

Despite notifying the Agent and agreeing with the tenants that no new agreement will be required - the Agent submitted a renewal contract a few weeks ago which has been ignored - the Agents then apologised!

BUT today my mother has received an invoice for another 12 Months commission plus a £25 Renewal Fee!

The Agents Ts&Cs did mention something about reduced renewal fees but then neither I or my mother picked up on this.

As I consider nearly paying the Agent £1000 for NOTHING to be grossly unfair - I told them where to go ! :mad:

Has anyone here had any experience of being taken to Court by Lettings Agents to recover these stupid renewal fees?

Gussie

mjpl
21-07-2005, 09:49 AM
This is a particularly thorny issue. And one that the Office of Fair Trading has recently become involved in.

In simple terms most agents will charge a finders fee for finding a tenant. This is often a % and is charged for the full period that the tenants remain in the property including any extension or renewal. There is a growing trend now for agents to charge a larger fee at the commencement of the tenancy as a one off regardless of any renewals. The disadvantage of this being that if the tenants vacate after six months you will have paid a great deal more that the % charge previously levied.

However, the office of Fair Trading have become involved and stated that agents should not be entitled to charge a full years commission as they have not really done any work. This is a new finding and is not known by many agents. I advise you to call the OFT to explain your case.

The chare for the renewal admin will be detailed in you Terms. If the charge is for the document that you are not signing then you do not need to pay. If it is for associated admin and time spent then it may become payable.

Your agent is also forcing an odd charge for a periodic tenancy. If they have invoiced for 12 months is this becase unbeknownst to you the tenant has signed a renewal document?

Finally a word of caution. All the firms I have worked for have operated on a % find only charge. This is charged on the length of time and not the contract term which is a separate issue. I understand that this will have to change in the future but we have won many a court case in the past. Make sure you follow the advice of the OFT and don't end up in court unprepared.

gussie
21-07-2005, 11:12 AM
Thanks, I've emailed the OFT with the details of my complaint.

The Agents actually requested the first 6 months Commision fee and a £25 Renewal fee - but I know from last year that they would ask for the rest after 6 months!

I'm appalled by their behavior - they only got me the tenants by a fluke and they never showed anyone round!

They did very little - maybe one or two ads in the local Property Paper - they got £950 plus £70 for the original contract and now they're asking for another round - what about future years - is my mother expected to pay out nearly £1000 every year!!!! :mad: :mad: :mad:

Gussie :)

mjpl
21-07-2005, 12:14 PM
That may well be the terms that she has agreed to.

You mention that they did not show the tenant around. What did they actually do? The charge is for the introduction of the tenant, this may also be worth pointing out to the OFT.

gussie
21-07-2005, 14:54 PM
That may well be the terms that she has agreed to.

You mention that they did not show the tenant around. What did they actually do? The charge is for the introduction of the tenant, this may also be worth pointing out to the OFT.

A couple of adverts only - they did not even show the current tenants around - I did ! That was their one and only time they offered anyone to see the property! And it was an Introduction Only service my mother opted for.

The more I think about this the more incensed I get.

Gussie

PaulF
21-07-2005, 15:43 PM
Gussie. I'm the bloke you need!


Under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 the agent must advise a client of any fees that might be payable in advance of their agreeing to employing them. Anything introduced later can be disregarded, unless a new Terms of Business is drawn up and your mother agreed to it.
An agent is not allowed to charge a fee for "renewal" of an AST if they were instructed not to do anything, as in your mother's case.
Fees should be "reasonable" but if the agent charges a percentage of the rent then it's considered to be acceptable for an introduction, but not for "renewal".
You must not equate an agent's luck in finding your mother a tenant quickly, and the fact they only had to carry out minimal advertising; that's not an issue when comparing the amount of an initial introduction fee. I've heard it all before! Would she like the agent to take 2 months and spend £500 on advertising before finding you a tenant, and the subsequent loss of rent to her instead? No! I thought not.
If your mother asked for an Introduction Service only then the agent should not levy any further fees on her, even if the Terms of Business may differ, as I've said in (2) above.
Taking the case to the OFT is fine, but don't expect an early response as they are extremely busy. When I had to write to them, it was months before I received a reply. Your local Trading Standards Officer should be the first port of call, and they might help!
Get your mother to demand the return of the "renewal" fee, in writing or threaten legal action; it might be the quicker route.
If they are members of one of the usual three bodies about which I keep mentioning (NAEA/ARLA/RICS) complain about unprofessional behaviour.

Unfortunately the UTCCR's have guidelines, for which only the courts can decide whether they are fair, or the OFT. However, you have a pretty good cause for taking the matter further as indicated.

gussie
21-07-2005, 16:22 PM
the agent must advise a client of any fees that might be payable ...

Nothing was made clear verbally at the time - only the small print in the Ts & Cs which has unfortunately now come to light - I remember the Agent just mentioning the Commision for the 12 Month contract - nothing was stated as to what would happen thereafter - my mother innocently assumed that would be it!

if the agent charges a percentage of the rent then it's considered to be acceptable for an introduction, but not for "renewal" ...

Do you mean that if NO new contract is drawn up ie the original AST becomes periodic as in our case then it's considered unacceptable for the Agent to charge another lot of Commision and thereon year after year assuning the same tenant stays - a £1000 every year !!!

If your mother asked for an Introduction Service only then the agent should not levy any further fees on her ...

She did! It was Introduction Only not managed in ANY way - she collects the rent - the only thing the Agent has is the Tenants deposit in some special account.

demand the return of the "renewal" fee ...

No money has been paid yet, only invoiced - Agents were paid their full fees for the initial 12 Month period last year.

If they are members of one of the usual three bodies ...

They are members of ARLA but the cynic in me suggests these bodies look after their own kind

I'll take a trip to the Local Trading Standards Office one day next week to see if they can help

Gussie

gussie
22-07-2005, 10:38 AM
This is the reply I got from ARLA ...

--------------------------------------------------------------
Thank you for your email

We would be interested to hear what the OFT and Trading Standards views are on this particular case.

regards
ARLA
---------------------------------------------------------------


Not sure what to make of this - but I suspect they are just washing their hands of this :(

Popped into another Agent this morning and pretended to be a potential Landlord - they were a bit sheepish about renewal fees - said that they DO charge BUT it could be negotiable!

I said what about waiving any renewal charges and they refererred me to the absent office manager!

A BUNCH OF CROOKS THE LOT OF THEM !!!!!!!!!

Gussie :mad:

PaulF
22-07-2005, 10:55 AM
the agent must advise a client of any fees that might be payable ...

Nothing was made clear verbally at the time - only the small print in the Ts & Cs which has unfortunately now come to light - I remember the Agent just mentioning the Commision for the 12 Month contract - nothing was stated as to what would happen thereafter - my mother innocently assumed that would be it! You don't need to "assume" anything - if it's not written down then it's tough on the agent.

if the agent charges a percentage of the rent then it's considered to be acceptable for an introduction, but not for "renewal" ...

Do you mean that if NO new contract is drawn up ie the original AST becomes periodic as in our case then it's considered unacceptable for the Agent to charge another lot of Commision and thereon year after year assuning the same tenant stays - a £1000 every year !!! You're dead right it's unacceptable

If your mother asked for an Introduction Service only then the agent should not levy any further fees on her ...

She did! It was Introduction Only not managed in ANY way - she collects the rent - the only thing the Agent has is the Tenants deposit in some special account.

demand the return of the "renewal" fee ...

No money has been paid yet, only invoiced - Agents were paid their full fees for the initial 12 Month period last year. I would definitely ignore the invoice!

If they are members of one of the usual three bodies ...

They are members of ARLA but the cynic in me suggests these bodies look after their own kind In ARLA's case they outsource complaints to the body that currently runs the Tenants Deposits Scheme for Regulated Agents. I'm really surprised you have had such a bland response to your complaint. I think they want to see your own enquiries concluded first as you have to do before they take any action.

I'll take a trip to the Local Trading Standards Office one day next week to see if they can help

Gussie

I've will also answer your next post separately as I read it first.

PaulF
22-07-2005, 11:01 AM
Gussie. I know the CEO of ARLA, Adrian Turner, personally, as we sit on the same exam board. However. I'm not a member of ARLA, but the NAEA where I'm an Assistant Business Practives Officer and deal with complaints from members of the public about this organisation. I wouldn't intervene anyway in ARLA's procedures even if I could as it would be extremely unprofessional of me to do so.


This is the reply I got from ARLA ...

--------------------------------------------------------------
Thank you for your email

We would be interested to hear what the OFT and Trading Standards views are on this particular case.

regards
ARLA
---------------------------------------------------------------


Not sure what to make of this - but I suspect they are just washing their hands of this :(

Popped into another Agent this morning and pretended to be a potential Landlord - they were a bit sheepish about renewal fees - said that they DO charge BUT it could be negotiable!

I said what about waiving any renewal charges and they refererred me to the absent office manager!

A BUNCH OF CROOKS THE LOT OF THEM !!!!!!!!! No, they're not actually and you will find that there is the odd "bad penny" in any trade you wish to name.

Gussie :mad:

gussie
22-07-2005, 16:55 PM
On seeking further clarification from ARLA I got this ...

-------------------------------------------------------------------
The reason for our reply was that your original email did say that a clause charging for renewals was in the signed terms of business.

We can understand your frustration over these charges, however, at present there is no law against them. Any clause can be referred to the OFT if you feel it is unfair and it will be for them to decide if the wording of the clause is fair or not.

Regards
ARLA
--------------------------------------------------------------------

The exact wording in the Agents Ts & Cs are shown in the attached scan (name of Agent removed).

My mother and I did not even look at the 25 pages of Ts & Cs and I don't even remember her signing them BUT the greedy Agent is pointing his grubby fingers at Para 18.

Gussie :)

Tax Accountant
22-07-2005, 17:56 PM
I don't like these continued charges where the tenant has decided to carry on with the tenancy. However, once these were the province of London agents only; now increasing number of agents do this.

I think that the querist's case is not as strong as everyone is making out because of the clause in the Terms and Conditions in the contract. This can only be ignored if the court determines that this is an unfair term and of which the landlord could not have been aware of.

I find that hardly any London agents wish to take on the property without the continued commission year after year.

I agree it is not justified; it would be nice to know the legal position.

Ramnik

gussie
22-07-2005, 19:30 PM
Have a look at

http://www.painsmith.co.uk/painsmith_files/articles/unfairterm.pdf

Very interesting reading, some relevant snippets ...

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The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is the “watchdog” for unfair terms in contracts. If a complaint is received from an individual, it must be investigated unless it is deemed to be frivolous. Complaints can also be made by an individual to the Trading Standards Officer who will seek guidance from the OFT.

If the OFT think a clause is unfair they can seek an injunction preventing the Landlord or the Agent using the clause. In practice, they tend to write to the party asking them to re-draft or remove the offending clause from the documentation and requesting an undertaking that is a legal promise, not to use or rely upon the wording or clause that is deemed to be unfair.

Any clause within a contract that gives one party the impression that they have limited or no rights has the potential to be unfair. The OFT will insist that a clause is altered, if it could be interpreted to the detriment of the weaker party.

Currently the OFT are working on a document stating the wording and clauses that they think could be unfair. Once this is finalised it will be used to review any tenancy agreements referred to them, where there is a complaint.

The Unfair Terms and Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 are part of the consumer law coming in from Europe. While the OFT are taking a strong stance, it is difficult to visualise how they will be enforced long term and whether the courts will take them into account in possession proceedings or claims for damage.

....

Renewal commission for letting

The OFT think it unfair to charge commission if a tenancy is renewed for a further fixed term when the landlord has only asked for a Letting or Introductory Service from the agent. The OFT state that the agent has not carried out any further work or services for the landlord therefore any further charge would be unfair. The same thinking does not apply to Rent Collection Services or Management of premises.

-------------------------------------------------------------------


Gussie :)

PaulF
23-07-2005, 09:52 AM
Gussie. Pain Smith would drive a Coach & Horses through those terms & conditions, because (a) they are unfiar, and (B) they are not clear by any means.

Southend-on-Sea Trading Standards Office took Countrywide Lettings to task about 3/4 years ago over several of their unfair terms, and they had to alter them considerably. I feel this is in the same catagory and just because it's there in the contract the agent is not actually doing anything for their (extortionate) fee, and the OFT is very clear in that renewal fees have to be "reasonable" and reflect the mount of work that actually is done!

I think all this is superflous anyway as your mother wanted a "Let only" contract and the agent doesn't appear to have any justification in making such a charge.

Stand your ground and tell the agent you've referred it to the TSO & OFT. They might start taking you seriously!

gussie
23-07-2005, 10:06 AM
Stand your ground and tell the agent you've referred it to the TSO & OFT. They might start taking you seriously!

Many thanks for your support and we WILL be defending our position!

Gussie :)

gussie
03-08-2005, 13:39 PM
Despite some reminders - I'm still waiting on responses from both the LTO and OFT - guess they're all too busy.

In the meantime a solicitor has said my mothers not in a stong position and has suggested that she negotiate a severance payment with the agent to release her from any further liability.

Looks like eventually - the Agent will get their money.

What a world we live in !

Gussie :(

MrShed
03-08-2005, 13:56 PM
You used a solicitor specialising in property law?

gussie
03-08-2005, 14:53 PM
You used a solicitor specialising in property law?

From PainSmith via an email request for advice.

I suppose they know what they're talking about - but it does somewhat conflict with the more optimistic tone given by them in ...

http://www.painsmith.co.uk/painsmith_files/articles/unfairterm.pdf

Gussie :(

MrShed
03-08-2005, 23:04 PM
Good choice :-D

Out of interest, do they charge you for that service?

gussie
04-08-2005, 06:40 AM
Good choice :-D

Out of interest, do they charge you for that service?

No, it was an off the cuff quick email question I sent to them.

I'm still waiting for Local Trading Standards to get back to me.

My mother is facing the prospect of being charged nearly £1000 for every year her tenant stays - really unfair considering it was an Introduction only service and the Agent got their £1000 fee for finding the tenant!

The Agent has not been requested to perform any work nor has had to do any work since the day the tenants moved in, and yet my mother is expected to continue to pay them £1000 every year.

That in my book is an unfair contract clause irrespective of me or my mother failing to notice this wording in the Agents Ts & Cs.

I posed as a prospective landlord at two other Lettings Agencies recently and both were prepared to waive the renewal fees after I queried this and said I would take my business elsewhere.

Proves what despicable scum these Lettings Agents are.

My opinion of PainSmith is not very high either. On the one hand they publish what appears to be totally unfounded advice on unfair contract terms and on the other hand tell me that my mother hasn't a leg to stand on!

Gussie

Life's a Bitch and then you use a Lettings Agent :mad: !!!

MrShed
04-08-2005, 08:04 AM
What information exactly did you give to PainSmith? Did you give all the details, including the T&C's, from this thread?

Out of interest, what have you actually said to the letting agent about the matter so far? Have they said anything yet about the invoice not being paid?

gussie
04-08-2005, 09:03 AM
What information exactly did you give to PainSmith? Did you give all the details, including the T&C's, from this thread?

Out of interest, what have you actually said to the letting agent about the matter so far? Have they said anything yet about the invoice not being paid?

Yes all the details in this thread - this is why I was so surprised by the pessimistic nature of their reply ...

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
This is an uncertain area. The documentation is against your mother. She has to persuade the Court that the clause is unfair. It may not be. The OFT's view is simply their view.

The problem is that it is all or nothing and even if your mother wins, she may not be able to recover her legal costs.

I suggest that your mother considers trying to negotiate a severance payment with the agent whereby they release her from further liability upon receipt of a sum of money in full and final settlement.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

... not at all in keeping with the paper they publish on their web site.

Agents have been informed of a complaint being lodged with Local Trading Standards Office.

Agents have now sent out a second demand for payment.

Local Trading Standards Office are very slow to reply - probably think we are big time property landlords when in fact my elderly mother is a first time landlord who is in care.

I'm blaming myself for being so innocent with the Agents.

Gussie

Life's a Bitch and then you use a Lettings Agent :mad: !!!

PaulF
04-08-2005, 09:38 AM
Pain Smith are excellent solicitors, mainly because they deal only in housing & landlord & tenant matters, so they don't get distracted.

When I wrote to the OFT concerning an unfair term is took them over 2 years to reply so you can see how slow the process is and how busy they are.

Your local TSO should be much quicker but remember they don't always have specialist knowledge on the unfair terms regulations as far a tenancy matters are concerned, and may have to refer it to a higher authority.

The scanned extract from the terms Gussie has posted is very difficult to understand, and that in itself can be an unfair term if it is not clear to the "layperson" as it should be in plain English. I'm not at all sure this is.

Only courts can decide if a term is unfair and is defintiely the quicker route to resolve any dispute, but Gussie's mum might be defending such action if she fails to pay the renewal fee. I still feel this is definitely an unfair term as they cannot justify such a large fee if they are doing relatively nothing for it. As Pain Smith have stated, a let only contract where renewal fees are being charged is unlikely to succeed!

MrShed
04-08-2005, 10:39 AM
I can only assume, gussie, that painsmith have misread or you have not made totally clear the issues in the email. Bear in mind it is very difficult for anyone to give detailed legal advice based on an email.

I would suggest one of two options:

1) Follow Painsmiths advice and negotiate a severance payment. This could well be the quickest and easiest option.

2) Dont pay and let them take you to court. This way, one way or the other, you will know whether the term is fair or not. This may, however, lead to a greater charge for you, as if you lose they can claim for court fees also(around £80 I believe). I THINK this is all they can claim for? Someone please confirm. However, I think much more likely is that the court will vastly reduce or throw out the amount the agent is demanding. As such I would probably follow this option....however you do run the risk of possibly increasing the costs.

gussie
04-08-2005, 12:12 PM
I repeated all the info I have given in this thread - no more no less.

If the legal costs would be capped in some way as suggested - no more than £100 or so then fine we would pursue this in court if need be but otherwise it would be a frightening prospect!

All we can do is stall the Agent and wait for the local TSO to provide their advice.

My feeling is that the Agent is not going to be swayed by our complaint to the local TSO !

Just our bad luck to come across a particularly nasty example of the Lettings Agents trade !

Gussie

Life's a Bitch and then you use a Lettings Agent :mad: !!!

MrShed
04-08-2005, 12:21 PM
I am 90% sure that they can, in this situation, take you to court for:

- the amount owing
- the court fees - this varies according to the amount suing for. £80 between 500-1000 pounds.
- they MAY be able to sue for loss of earnings due to coming to court, however I am not sure about this. And if they could they would have to prove loss of earnings.

They must sue for actual financial loss, so inconvenience and stress they cannot sue you for for example :P interest is possible, however, for this short a time I do not think a judge would entertain any claim for interest and even if they did, the amount would be so low as for you not to worry about it(bear in mind however, the statutory interest rate is 8%).

*edit* if they do NOT take it to court, ensure that you keep ALL details on the matter, as they can still take you to court in the next 6 years, and claim the 8% interest. It is unlikely that they would do this however, and a judge would expect a reason as to why it has taken this long to claim.

Note, however, that they, if they are going to sue for these things, they MUST declare them with the initial application, otherwise they cannot add them at a later date. So you will know long before you go to court whether they are suing for these items or not, and as such can then perhaps change your mind and try and settle with them. Obviously they cannot claim the second two items if they lose the case, however I am not sure as to the situation if they are awarded a PARTIAL judgement, I assume they could then not claim either, as you were right to resist the amount being claimed. Not sure though.

Out of interest how much have they billed you for? And how much would you consider to be a fair payment to the agent? I ask because the judge will want to see evidence that the pair of you have tried to resolve the matter amicably. If you were to make them the offer of paying what you consider to be the fair charge, and they refuse this, this may well put you in a better footing in court.

gussie
04-08-2005, 13:49 PM
Ok firstly let me remind you that this was an introduction only service not managed and the Agent having been fairly paid a fee of £1000 has not needed to lift a finger since the day the tenants moved in !

No new AST agreement - the original one just stays in force - despite them trying it on with a continuation agreement that neither party - tenant or landlord requested.

The renewal invoice to my mother states 6 months commission £480 plus a £25 renewal fee plus VAT.

I would assume repeat invoices will be issued by the Agent every 6 months as long as the tenant stays as per the unfair clause in their Ts & Cs.

After 2 years I think the fee goes down to a lower level but continues as long as the tenant stays.

I don't know where the £25 renewal fee comes from ? Can't see that anywhere in the Ts & Cs.

What would I consider to be a reasonable settlement ?

Zero Zilch !!!!! They already got a £1000!

Gussie

Life's a Bitch and then you use a Lettings Agent :mad: !!!

oaktree
04-08-2005, 16:03 PM
I've been following this thread with some interest.

While I agree with the general consensus that agents shouldn't charge for renewals where they do nothing in return, it does annoy me when landlords (and tenants come to think of it) argue about the validity of clauses that they admit to never reading in the first place. Most shops have a "Check your change before leaving the shop" type notice above the tills yet I am ever amazed at the amount of people I have to almost physically restrain from leaving the office to make them sit and read the agreements they have to sign. IMHO there is no excuse for not reading an agreement; the court won't accept it as an excuse, why should the agent.

I'm sure caveat emptor isn't entirely voidable by the confused stutterings of the UTCCR. Perhaps when there is more case law but not yet and even then I hope not.

I've seen more and more letting agents drop the Letting Only/Introduction Only products from their portfolio of services over the last 2-3 years, we did 2 years ago for 2 simple reasons.

1) There are other agents out there who will find a tenant for the landlord for next to nothing (almost as many as there are landlords wanting it done for next to nothing ;) ) In Milton Keynes it was possible for a landlord to find a Let only service for £50-100. I refused to carry out all the references/credit checks we do for a Let only, provide a tenancy agreement, an inventory, collect the first months rent and deposit for the landlord, set up the standing order from tenant to landlord etc etc and then be offered a fraction of the cost because Joe Bloggs up the road will do it for less.

2) On average I can make about £900 pa on letting and managing a 1 bed flat in MK. If I manage that for 5 years I get 5 x the amount I make for a year.

If I 'sell' the tenant to the landlord and he keeps the tenant for 5 years I still only make what he/she wants to pay for the introduction. So where is my incentive, as an agent with bills, salaries etc to pay, to provide a Let only service in a market that is getting harder to survive in already, when I could just as easily put the same tenant in a managed property instead.


Landlords seem happy to take up an agents time to find them a tenant; it'll be interesting to see what they'll do if all agents stop offering let only services in order to protect their own business income and when they suddenly have to comply with the new Housing Act themselves i.e. tenancy deposit schemes.

Oh, and contrary to popular belief not all agents rely on a regular supply of blood sucked from the living at the dead of night to survive. Some of us have families, mortgages, bills to pay etc so we need to earn an income and sometimes that means, God forbid, that landlords have to pay us for our services :)

gussie
04-08-2005, 16:41 PM
The undeniable fact that two local Agents were happy (after some prompting) to waive renewal fees suggests to me that these two and my mothers Agent do indeed ... rely on a regular supply of blood sucked from the living at the dead of night to survive ...

I wonder if you would care to defend their integrity as do your own!

Gussie

Life's a Bitch and then you use a Lettings Agent :mad: !!!

oaktree
04-08-2005, 16:57 PM
The undeniable fact that two local Agents were happy (after some prompting) to waive renewal fees suggests to me that these two and my mothers Agent do indeed ... rely on a regular supply of blood sucked from the living at the dead of night to survive ...

Gussie

"two local Agents were happy (after some prompting) to waive renewal fees" - hardly makes then blood sucking leeches does it? You negotiated terms, they accepted. What part of that makes them bad guys? Unless it says Registered Charity under their name they are in business to make money like everyone else.

Perhaps if you had done that in the first place, with the agent you have now, you wouldn't be in this situation.

It looks to me that you've had some very sound advice from members on this forum on how to deal with the situation so perhaps its time to stop tarring all agents with the same brush?

gussie
04-08-2005, 18:37 PM
... It looks to me that you've had some very sound advice from members on this forum on how to deal with the situation ..

Indeed I have - it's a pity such a comment could never apply to your goodself !

We'll speak no more about it !

Gussie

Life's a Bitch and then you use a Lettings Agent :mad: !!!

MrWoof
04-08-2005, 20:48 PM
Indeed I have - it's a pity such a comment could never apply to your goodself !Gussie, You have had good advice and an honest explanation of how an agent works (from one of the good ones). There's no point in bitching and then running away. There is also no excuse for not reading a document before signing it.

MrShed
04-08-2005, 21:51 PM
Gussie, I am on your side in this, but oaktree and MrWoof make very good and very valid points. You cannot(or your mother cannot) absolve yourself of all blame, as you would have, had you read the contract thoroughly, had seen the details regarding this charge. You are being unduly harsh both towards letting agents in general(I feel that there are as many good as bad) and also against anyone who is saying something that you dont like. You CANNOT 100% blame the agent. And yes so the others removed the charge after negotiation. However, it is not your current agent's fault that you didnt negotiate! Apart from anything else, the fact that all three had the charges should show that it is, while maybe not "standard practice", perhaps common practice in the area you are in.

oaktree
05-08-2005, 09:10 AM
Indeed I have - it's a pity such a comment could never apply to your goodself !

We'll speak no more about it !

Gussie

Advising someone to read an agreement before they sign it is fairly good advice :rolleyes: