When it comes to selling or renting out a property, many people choose to work with estate agents.
Estate agents can provide valuable knowledge, expertise & support throughout the process, from marketing the property to handling negotiations and sealing the deal.
However, there may come a time when you need to terminate your contract with a letting agent, and this can be down to dissatisfaction with the services they provide or simply a change in circumstances.
However, if you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you need to know about terminating a contract with a letting agent.
What does a contract with an estate agent outline?
A contract with an estate agent is a legally binding agreement between you and said letting agent, outlining the terms and conditions of their services.
This contract usually includes details such as:
- The length of the contract
- Commission rates
- Agreed provided services
- Mutual obligations between you and the letting agent
Why would you want to terminate the contract?
There are many reasons why you may wish to terminate the contract you have with your letting agent. These consist of: (but aren’t limited to)
- You might feel they’re not fulfilling their contractual obligations
- You’ve identified a competitor and want to go with them instead
- You’re selling your property and no longer require their services
- You want to manage the property yourself
How to terminate an estate agent contract
Terminating an estate agent contract can be a complicated process, and it’s important to understand your rights and obligations under the contract before taking any action.
Here are the steps you should follow:
Review the contract
Before terminating the contract, take the time to carefully review the terms and conditions. This will help you understand the process for terminating the contract and any penalties that may apply.
Notify the letting agent
Once you have decided to terminate the contract, you will need to provide written notice to the estate agent. This can be done via email or letter and should include the date you wish the contract to end.
Pay any outstanding agency fees
If there are any outstanding fees or commissions due to the estate agent, you will need to pay these before the contract can be terminated.
Wait for confirmation
Once you have provided written notice and paid any outstanding fees, the estate agent should confirm in writing that the contract has been terminated.
Seek legal advice
If you’re unsure about your rights and obligations under the contract, or if the estate agent is refusing to terminate the contract, you may need to seek legal advice.
What happens after the contract is terminated?
Once your letting agent confirms that the contract is terminated, you’ll need to be aware that they’ll no longer provide their services.
If your estate agent previously managed the property for you, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to ensure that your tenant has an updated point of contact so they know who to reach out to.
You will also need to plan for the property to be marketed and sold or rented out, either by using another estate agent or by doing it yourself.
It’s important to remember that just because you terminate an estate agent contract, it doesn’t mean that you will be free from paying commission if the property is sold or rented out within a certain period.
Be sure to review the terms of the contract carefully to understand any obligations you may have.
How do I complain about a letting agent?
If the situation can’t simply be resolved by terminating the contract and needs to go further, you can file a formal complaint against a letting agent by following these steps:
Contact the Letting Agent
You can start by speaking to the letting agent or property manager about your concerns. It’s best to do this in writing, either by email or letter, so that you have a record of your complaint.
Use the Redress Scheme
If you’re not satisfied with the response you receive, or if you don’t receive a response within eight weeks, you can escalate your complaint to a property redress scheme.
Letting agents in the UK must be a member of one of three approved property redress schemes:
Take Legal Action
If the redress scheme is unable to resolve your complaint, or if you’re not satisfied with their decision, you may consider taking legal action.
This could involve going to court, or using alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation.
HINT: It’s important to note that if you have a dispute with your letting agent, you should try to resolve it as soon as possible. This will help to avoid any additional stress or expense.
Terminating an estate agent contract can be a complicated process, but by understanding your rights and obligations under the contract, you can ensure that the process goes smoothly.
If you’re unsure about the process or need help, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice.
With the right guidance, you can successfully terminate the contract you had with a letting agent and move on to the next chapter in your property journey.
Most problems with letting agents can be sussed out by using your due dilligence before tying yourself into anything. Make sure you vet your letting agent before you sign anything.
Managing properties without an agent?
Ditching the estate agent to manage your own properties can seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be.
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