Read your Contract carefully
When you instruct a letting agent, you will sign a contract outlining the details of the relationship between you and the agent.
Within this Contract there should be a Termination clause giving you details of how to end the contract and the notice you have to give. It is important to read this clause carefully and comply with any notice periods stated in this clause.
Has the Letting Agent breached one of the other Contract terms?
If you believe that the agent has been in breach of one of the other terms of the Contract then you may have a right to end the Contract notwithstanding what is written in the Termination Clause.
If you believe that this is the case then you should first write to the letting agent setting out clearly why you believe that they have been in breach of the Contract with reference to the relevant term of the Contract. You should clearly state your intention to end the Contract on this basis, and if you intend to make a complaint to one of the redress schemes mentioned below, you should also tell the agent of this. You should consider taking independent legal advice.
Try to reach an amicable solution
It would usually be better for both parties to reach an amicable solution. Beware that if you do end the Contract unilaterally then the agent may pursue you for missed payments and ultimately issue Court proceedings. You would then have to defend the proceedings on the basis that the agent was in breach of Contract.
This is not a good route for either party to go down as it is timely and costly. Therefore, having already written to the agent outlining why you wish to end the Contract it is best to reach out to them to try to negotiate an amicable solution. This may include an agreement to end the Contract and may include a fee payable to the agent.
Are open-ended Contacts enforceable? Unfair Contract Terms
Letting agents' agreements are often drafted so as to tie you into the Contract for the duration of the tenants' stay in the property, including renewals and extensions. If there is a term to this effect then it should be clear and intelligible and only refer to tenants found by the agent. If there is a lack of clarity then the term may be found to be unfair and ultimately unenforceable. If you believe that a term of your contract may be unfair then you should seek independent legal advice before ending the Contract.
Letting agencies must by law be a member of one of the two approved redress schemes. You can make a complaint about any behaviour of the letting agent which you believe to be unfair including any breaches of contract or potentially unfair terms.
You must first write to the letting agent setting out your complaint. The agent should acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days. They must investigate your complaint fully and write to you within 15 working days. If you are not happy, write back and explain why. The agent will review your complaint again and write to you explaining their final viewpoint and how, if you are not satisfied, you can escalate your complaint to the relevant redress scheme.
You will need to check which of the schemes your agent is a member of before making a complaint.
The approved redress schemes are:
Moving your tenancy onto OpenRent
At OpenRent we charge a one off fee of £49 for our Rent Now tenancy creation service. You can see more about Rent Now here, and can see more information on how to move your tenancy onto OpenRent and what services we may be able to offer to landlords in your position here.
Information on this site is by way of general guidance only and may not apply in your particular circumstances. You should not act or refrain from acting upon information on this site without seeking independent legal advice.