Everyone skips the terms and conditions when they’re signing up for something new, accepting them without a second thought because who wants to read all that? it’s all just standard stuff anyway right?
When it comes to working with a new agent, however, it is extremely important for landlords to read through the terms and conditions thoroughly and diligently.
In theory, landlords are protected, as under UK legislation all agents have to be registered to a regulator, but this does not always stop them from trying to pull the wool over landlord’s eyes.
I’m currently dealing with a landlord who wants to leave his agent because he’s unhappy with them, but when he signed into their terms, they didn’t include a termination provision meaning he has no ability to get out of these terms and conditions.
The agent in question is signed up to the biggest regulator in the UK called ‘The Property Ombudsman’.
As such they are required to comply with ‘The Property Ombudsman’s’ rules, one of which is having a termination clause in the terms and conditions.
To be more specific, in their code of practice, clause 5n says an agent’s terms of business must include clear and accurate information regarding termination, as well as flagging what liability fees or charges are incurred in the circumstances of termination.
But, the agents in this situation have disregarded this rule, which puts the landlord in a difficult position.
If reported to ‘The Property Ombudsman’ the agent could be kicked out and then they wouldn’t be able to trade, and if they do trade then they could be reported to trading standards and it would result in a fine.
So, even though the situation should resolve itself in theory, for landlords, ideally you don’t want to get caught up in anything like this as it’s time consuming, frustrating and potentially costly in terms of lawyer fees.
One way to make sure this doesn’t happen to you is by reading your terms and conditions or you can avoid obstructive agents and instead work with an agent who has your best interests at the heart of what they do.
And that is something we pride ourselves on at Rocket, we have no need to obstruct landlords in anyway, as we’re confident that the landlords we work with are satisfied with our service.
Should anyone want to leave for whatever reason, however, that’s also not a problem, we have a termination clause in all the contracts with our landlords.
It states that should a landlord want to terminate our management they can serve three months’ notice and if you want to terminate the letting then you would have to pay a fee to the end of the tenancy, but when it’s up then you can terminate.
Lots of changes are coming in the property market with the Renters Reform Bill set to be introduced soon.
So, it may be worth considering, if you can’t even trust your agent to include a termination clause in your contract then they are unlikely to be competent enough to deal with the upcoming changes.
So, make sure you’re best placed to continue profiting from your property investments.