Here is a blog clinic question from Elliott (not his real name) who is a tenant
I have a contract with my agent (Foxtons) that will expire in 2 months time, however I’m willing to end my contract with them but remain in the house and create a new legal contract directly with the landlord himself.
I have spoken with the landlord and he has agreed to this condition, in fact he favours this proposal. Would this be possible?
The trouble is, Foxtons are not YOUR agents. They are the landlord’s agents. In reality you always HAVE been been contracting directly with the landlord, the agent is simply an intermediary who facilitated that. For example if you wanted to bring a claim about the condition of the property this would be brought against the landlord not the agents.
There will be an agency agreement between Foxtons and the landlord and the landlord will undoubtedly be paying Foxtons an agency fee (probably a hefty agency fee) for finding you to be his tenant and then managing the property.
Foxton’s contract will almost certainly include a provision that the landlord continues to pay a commission for every year you remain in the property, probably up to a limit of two years (click here to see why).
So I am pretty sure your landlord woud be delighted to ditch Foxtons and deal with you direct – it will be a lot cheaper for him. However Foxtons may have other ideas.
For example they may say that the landlord is in breach of contract and claim their fee from him anyway. They are a robust firm, and don’t give up easily. The OFT v. Foxtons litigation bears that out.
Mind you if the reason you want Foxtons out of the picture is because they have provided an appalling service then, if what they did (or didn’t do) was in breach of their agency agreement, it would give the landlord a reason to end his contract with them early. But that is really a matter between the landlord and Foxtons.
If YOU have a problem, why not put it to the blog clinic? However there are a lot of questions submitted, so if you need an answer quickly, remember that members of my Landlord Law service can ask me questions in the members forum area, and will normally get an answer with 24 hours.