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I am a landlord who has recently termintated my management contract with the letting agent. They are requesting a cancellation fee of £480. I am unsure of what my rights are in terms of declining to pay this as I feel they have acted badly.My initial complaint to them was regarding the failure of the agent to arrange tradesmen to attend the property to obtain estimates for work. Following the tenant complaining of a problem with the fire smoking I was sent a quote stating replacement of the boiler was required. I asked for further quote, and on the agent instructed me that 2 further contractors had attended and this was the cheapest quote. This led to us unnecessarily calling out our heating engineer to replace the boiler which was found not to be needed, and costs were incurred with this unnecessary callout. Our engineer found the fire smoke was caused by rubbish being stuffed behind the fire grate. The agent is unable to provide any proof of the 2 further contractors visiting the property suggesting the boiler needed replacing. The tenant does not remember any other contractors attending. Subsequently multiple heating engineers visiting the property have found no requirement to change the boiler. I have also realised they have not been collecting the correct rent on my behalf. The tenant has been paying £20 less per month than stated in the tenancy agreement. I also strongly suspect they have not done quarterly inspections of the property, which the agreement says is included in the management service. Do you think I have the right to decline to pay the termination fee due to the above. Surely they have broken the terms of the contract? I signed the agency agreement in 2016. Is it still enforceable if there is no time period stated on the agreement? Many thanks for your help.
You have two options Sarah.
1. Decline to pay the termination fee and see how far they take it.2. Use their official "Complaints Procedure" to seek resolution. If this does not work, you can refer the case to the independent redress scheme they are a member off, who can offer up to £25K as compensation for unfulfilled or poor service.Note: If they are not a member of an independent redress scheme - which should be prominently displayed on their website - they are trading illegally and you will have no route of redress and you should report them to your local Trading Standards. In that case, option 1 is your only one.Hope that helps?
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**