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Outgoing letting agent obstructing takeover of new letting agent

Started by The landlord’s daughter, June 16, 2024, 06:43:56 AM

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The landlord’s daughter

Good morning all.
My parent's letting agent was letting the properties be sublet, letting the properties get into a terrible state, allowed gas certificates to lapse by nearly a year and myriad further incompetencies. Dad is easily hoodwinked now he is a little older so I convinced him to switch to a more reputable outfit that I trust to protect him legally and protect the tenants from any negligence.
As expected, the unprofessional outgoing agent has been very slow to do anything at all even with repeated contact from our new agent.
Notice period with old agent (with hefty termination fees) lapsed two weeks ago and we still have none of the paperwork which they now claim was posted to the new agents ten days ago.
Old agent is completely blocking out attempts by new agent to sort this.

Dad did not personally contact the tenants to tell them not to pay rent to old agents as the old agent claimed they would do this (unfortunately Dad would not listen when I suggested hand delivering some letters to confirm changes and make sure tenants know everything is under control).

Old agents now have rent monies from at least one tenant whom they told "don't worry we will send it to the landlord". This tenant had no contact from the old agents to say not to pay them. The old agent did send Dad an email appearing to be an email that was sent to tenants to notify of the change but with no other addressee on the email but my dad - therefore proof of nothing but them sending Dad the email.

I know this agency are preferred by those who need max profit for zero effort. Their reputation is shocking among landlords and tenants alike and I knew this guy and his wife were going to be vindictive about losing the business.

Old agents are being wilfully obstructive but I know Dad has not done everything in the most ideal way either in terms of covering his back.

I'm penning an email to send the old agent and was really wondering if there is anything protecting my parents from this behaviour in legal terms or if Dad seemingly expecting these cowboys to do the right thing instead of contacting people himself has left us without much of a leg to stand on?

Sorry about the essay. Thanks for reading.


The main issue that you face is that unless the contract with the "old" agent is very unusual and caters for what happens in this situation, there is absolutely no reason for the "old" agent to do anything at all. Full stop. It's not that they don't have to be helpful or co-operative, there's no reason for them to do anything at all.

Changing the letting agent that set up tenancies is a deceptively complicated undertaking. Given that the reason for a change us usually that the existing agent is not providing the service required, realistically expecting them to be more effective when they have no further income and no need of any goodwill is unwise. The only "trick" is making sure that you have everything that you need before ending the relationship.

It might be worth dropping in on the agent to try and get what you need, simply on the basis that it's harder to be rude to someone's face and might even be easier to give you what you need than to have a confrontation.

The landlord’s daughter

Thanks for your reply. I figured this to be the situation.

I have managed to secure the certificates and agreements by making a fuss about GDPR and the prospect of them being lost in the post. They never posted them as they said they had. As expected, and as you suggest, they had done nothing at all.

Money has been returned, probably to get get rid of me being a nuisance.

Now understanding the precarious nature of these relationships if things don't go to plan, I will keep an eye on things a little more closely. I have confidence the new agent will be far more trustworthy. Just glad this little drama is resolved.