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asme

Surrender of Tenancy.... Letting agent demanding payment not landlord ?

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Hi All

 

I signed up as I have a question regarding my attempt to surrender my tenancy after 4 months of signing a renewal. I have personal reasons for wanting to leave which do not effect the problem I have. It is a genuine reason I have been at the property for over two years (this is my third renewal). I would rather keep the reason to myself as I do not want to be identified just incase the letting agent may read these forums.

 

I understand that a surrender is a mutual agreement between landlord and tenant to release me from the tenancy agreement. I fully understand I am liable for the rent etc. There are no break clauses in the contract.

 

Here is my issue. The lady I spoke with today (letting agent) has said that the landlord has paid (or will pay in monthly instalments) her £1200 for the year tenancy for management of the property plus £150 admin fee for finding me as a tenant.

 

Now the thing is, she has said If I want to leave then I need to pay £800 to the letting agent plus £150 admin fee to find new tenants. This is due to me leaving four months into the contract (1200 - 400).

 

There is no mention of this in the contract I signed nor do I recall ever signing any other document to say this would be ok to charge in this event. The agent admits it is not in the contract (rather forcefully) and keeps on going on about how I signed a legally binding document. By document they refer to the assured shorthold tenancy document. Not once have they mentioned any other document (such as a terms and conditions document for them as letting agents) outlining these charges.

 

I should point out here the Landlord has not been contacted let alone stated this figure would be required to accept the surrender, this is the letting agent who is asking for this and they said it is not negotiable it must be paid by someone (me or the landlord).

 

So even if the landlord did agree to pay this, they are then going to charge the landlord for a new 12 month period of £1200 plus another £150 admin fee for new tenants. So of course landlord will not agree to this I imagine.

 

The letting agent also threatened to simply not bother emailing the landlord at all the more I pushed her on the issue, it seems to me they want to pocket the £800. I am quite happy to pay any rent up until someone else comes into the property, and even happy to pay the admin fee but I cannot make sense of the £800. The letting agent argues they are entitled to this money as they did the work of finding me as a tenant but to my eyes it is free money for them.

 

I have tried to get advice from the CAB but I was unable too today. Also tried shelter and they were always busy......

 

My worry is I do challenge them more on the issue and they refuse to ask the landlord full stop about a surrender. I have landlords address which I am considering writing too after I have some facts.

 

Can anyone help? Is it worthwhile checking any industry bodies if this is standard practice?

 

Thanks

 

 

PS on reflection even if there was some way to prove this charge was dodgy (which it may not be of course also), then they would just go to the landlord and say "you have to pay this" and he will say no I wont I will not release him. Seems I cannot win here.....

Edited by asme

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You haven't made it clear. I assume you have contacted only the agent, and the agent has agreed to surrender on the condition you pay this money.

 

It is not abnormal for agents to charge landlord fees for finding a tenant and monthly fees for managing the property. The landlord's contract may require him to guarantee paying the fees for the full 12 months if he agrees to a surrender.

 

It is not abnormal or unlawful for tenants to have to pay to end a tenancy early. Either tenants can be asked to cover rent and costs till the property is re-let, or tenants can be asked to pay a fixed sum to end the tenancy (with landlord taking risk that the property may not be re-let quickly).

 

Unfortunately, as the agent has been empowered by the landlord, and as you do not have any knowledge of the agent-landlord agreement, then unless you can contact the landlord directly, there seems little you can do if you want to safely surrender your tenancy. It seems in this case that the agent is simply protecting his own interest, though.

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You haven't made it clear. I assume you have contacted only the agent, and the agent has agreed to surrender on the condition you pay this money.

 

It is not abnormal for agents to charge landlord fees for finding a tenant and monthly fees for managing the property. The landlord's contract may require him to guarantee paying the fees for the full 12 months if he agrees to a surrender.

 

It is not abnormal or unlawful for tenants to have to pay to end a tenancy early. Either tenants can be asked to cover rent and costs till the property is re-let, or tenants can be asked to pay a fixed sum to end the tenancy (with landlord taking risk that the property may not be re-let quickly).

 

Unfortunately, as the agent has been empowered by the landlord, and as you do not have any knowledge of the agent-landlord agreement, then unless you can contact the landlord directly, there seems little you can do if you want to safely surrender your tenancy. It seems in this case that the agent is simply protecting his own interest, though.

 

Yes I do have the landlords address (in another country) but it would be most unlikely that he will agree I would think. The letting agent has said they would put forward the offer of paying their fees to the landlord so the idea being there is no cost to the landlord therefore they should not object. I still smell a rat with these fees but it seems the tenant has no rights, whats to stop the landlord asking for the moon. All jokes aside there seems to be no limit to it really, hard to find guidelines other than "pay whatever and you should be jolly well grateful you are getting out of it".

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