Proverbs 31:10 ‘Who can find a wife of noble character. She is far more precious than rubies’.
Too true and most Landlords take the same view about finding and keeping a good Letting Agent.
From time to time however we are approached by a Landlord who is looking to instruct us but is unsure on how to go about dis-instructing their current Agent and are uncertain about the implications/consequences.
Broadly speaking requests by Landlords to terminate an agreement usually happen when the Landlord is unhappy with the service being delivered by the Agent (sometimes, and rarely, a Landlord wishes to renew a tenancy directly with the tenant and take over management themselves, not something we would recommend). The general working arrangement in Landlord/Agent relationships is that once a Tenant has been introduced, signed an AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) on a FM (Fully Managed) basis, the Agent will be retained until that Tenant leaves. (no renewal fees are levied nowadays). However a contract is a contract and it can be enforced and so whatever the Landlord has agreed with their current Agent must be honoured since any infractions would be unlawful unless there has been an especially poor performance along with clear breaches of the contract.
The Termination Clause
All Landlord/Letting Agent agreements have a termination clause/notice period to allow either party to end the relationship early. A two months’ notice period either way is quite common. One way of doing this for the Landlord, ideally in a friendly/amicable way, to discuss and agree a once-and-for-all termination fee.
We cannot stress too much the need to arrange an early termination in a cordial way. The new Agent needs to receive any monies owed plus the tenancy file with all the documentation to include the tenancy application form, tenancy agreement, deposit protection details, gas check certificates, EPC certificates etc. The new Agent will need to contact the Tenant to help in the re-arrangement of standing orders & rent payment particulars etc). Please note, a Let-Only arrangement automatically terminates when the letting period ends provided the Landlord has not agreed to anything in a written contract with the Letting Agent regarding renewals etc.
Landlords should always bear in mind when agreeing contracts with their Letting Agent that it’s sensible to have all in writing. We advise them to read the small print, negotiate and remove any contentious terms before signing. Landlords should always be aware of the Estate Agent fees to be paid in the event of a sale of the rental property. Above all, only deal with Letting Agents of repute. (I recommend Myrings).
Also please bear in mind that the Tenant may or may not be happy with the new arrangements. Landlords & Agents should take the time to talk to the Tenants, answer questions, and reassure them of the safety of their deposit etc. The last thing a Landlord wants is to lose a good Tenant due to unnecessary hassles during the hand over period.
For our part at Myrings we typically have the following arrangements for dis-instruction in place with all our FM Landlords ie 6 months management fee as severance – but in all honesty I cannot remember the last Landlord we lost.
Good Letting Agents really are like rubies, instruct a good one who will manage your property and look after your Tenants well, and they will save you lots of money and sleepless nights.
If you wish to discuss the above or are interested in the Property market in Harrogate then please come along and see us and enjoy a free no obligation chat about the property services we provide.