I was very amused, while surfing the internet recently, to find that there is a whole web-site dedicated to hating Foxtons – www.wehatefoxtons.com.
If you are interested in the landlord business and have a spare few minutes, it is worth a look, if only for the amusing spats between those posting (which include landlords, tenants, and Foxtons employees).
However there is one interesting case, which you can read here, Foxtons Ltd v Willis Estates Ltd, which was heard on 3 June 2009 at the Brentford County Court.
In this case the landlords, no fools, had deleted the renewal commission clause from the Foxtons agency contract before signing. The property was then let to tenants, the tenancy agreement signed, and the tenants paid the initial payments.
In the interregnum between this happening and the tenants moving in, someone at Foxtons twigged that the agency agreement had been changed and they were on line to lose their renewal commission. They therefore told the landlords that they had to sign a new agency agreement, and that if they did not they would not release the keys to the tenants and the letting would not go ahead. The landlord signed.
The court case was the agents claim for the commission. The Judge found for the landlords, saying that as the property had been let, there was no consideration for the second agreement (this is a legal term which means that a contract is only enforceable if both sides provide something of value), plus it was void anyway as it was signed under duress.
An interesting case, not only on the renewals commission saga, but also for shedding light on Foxtons business practices. The landlords here recommend that other landlords using Foxtons, get the tenants to pay rent to them, the landlords, direct rather than to Foxtons so they do not have funds out of which to deduct their commission claims.