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  • Deposit Protection

    Taking over from lettings agent - What do I need?

    I have a property that's been occupied by the same tenant for about 4 years now and she wants to stay on.

    Her contract is up for renewal in February and I pay the agent 4% of the annual rent just to make her sign a new contract every year which equates to almost £400. This seems ridiculous to me as I manga everything else anyway.

    So I wanted to know what I need to do if I want to take over from the agent. What do I need from them and how do I go about getting a new contract? Her deposit is registered with the DPS, and I am registered with them as well.

    Your help will be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks,
    H
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    Taking over from lettings agent - What do I need?

    Firstly, make sure that you 100% know your legal obligations and responsibilities as a landlord. Secondly, join one of the two recognised landlords associations.
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    I can’t give a direct answer to your question (like you, we use an agent to find us new tenants and then manage the properties), but I think you have some options:

    1) Talk with your letting agent and agree a deal that you both feel happy about. Ultimately, both parties need to feel they are getting a good deal for something to work in the long term.

    2) If your agent doesn’t want to do this, find one that will!

    3) If you want to do everything yourself, you need to find out exactly what is required. Either way you should know your responsibilities and obligations, the buck always stops with you.

    For what it’s worth, when we have tenants sign a new tenancy, they pay the agent a small fee and we don’t lose any money. If they don’t want a fixed term tenancy, but want to stay on in the property, the tenancy becomes periodic and neither us nor the tenant pays any additional fee. Do you have a contract with your agent? What does it say on this point?

    Hope that helps

    Harvey
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    As Harvey says, there's absolutely no need for a new contract; the only reasons are (a) the tenant's wish to have the landlord commit to letting them stay for another year and/or (b) the agent's wish to make money. (It's not really of any benefit to the landlord to renew the agreement; in theory you get the security of another year's tenancy, but if the tenant ups sticks before then then it's often not worth the hassle of pursuing them!)

    If no new contract is signed then the tenancy defaults to a statutory periodic tenancy whereby the tenant can give one month's notice, and the landlord two months' notice, at any time. Try telling your agent that you don't want the tenant to sign a new agreement, you just want the tenancy to go periodic. They might try to charge you for this; check your contract to see what you've agreed to. You might have signed up to pay this 4% fee per annum for as long as you keep the tenant, regardless of whether a new tenancy agreement is signed each year. If that's the case then the only way you're going to to get out of the contract is by either having the tenant leave or negotiating a settlement with the agent.

    If you're going to self-manage then I concur that it's a good idea to join a landlords' association such as the NLA, RLA or Guild of Residential Landlords. (The NLA and RLA are the most widely recognised but they aren't the only ones!)
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    [Image: 75pxLogo.jpg]

    http://www.brumhomes.co.uk / Facebook

    Local to Birmingham/Solihull? Join our Facebook private rentals group:

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    Twitter: @RentalBhamSol

    Many thanks Geoff, Harvey and Lynn for your valued replies. Much appreciated!

    H
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