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Do Landlords Really Need to Use a Letting Agent? Part 2

Part 2 of Zahra’s property mis-adventures...

Following on from last week’s fascinating blog...

A week later, on a sunny Friday afternoon, Zahra gets an email from Gloria, who works with Harley:

“Good news, we have a tenant who wants to move in TOMORROW!”


Zahra replies “Well that’s great, only as you well know, the flat is no longer mine. It belongs to the new owner as of the day of the auction. I will have to confirm with the new owner.”

On Monday, Zahra emails Gloria saying “I can’t get hold of the new owner, best not to let anyone move in without their consent. Besides, I don’t know what their intentions are for the property – do they want to rent it or live in it?”

Harvey suddenly jumps in on the email conversation and replies: “I have put the new tenant into the property over the weekend so I am afraid it is too late for you to change your mind now.”

Zahra: “What?!? Are you even for real? How can you do that it’s not even your property and you know full well the property was sold to Ziva during the auction that Claudio ran on Saturday! You know we are no longer the legal owners of the property how can you manage to do that.”

Harvey: “You should have read the Authority To Let Mandate more carefully because in there is a clause that states “I/We further appoint We Let For You as my/our managing agent and to do all things necessary to enter into and sign the Lease on my/our behalf including placement of signage and marketing material”


Zahra: “Oh my word! So you actually SIGNED a lease agreement on my behalf with the new tenants AND let them move in without my knowledge or consent?”

Harvey: “Yes indeed Zahra, you catch on quick. I will be sending you an invoice for the finder’s fee shortly. I’m sure the new owners would be only too happy to have us manage the new tenants so we’ve actually done them a favor. Besides, the new tenants have been credit checked and have paid full deposits so it is not all doom and gloom.”

Zahra: Can’t speak. Entire world turn red. Proper red rage. Head spinning.

Once Zahra calms down to a riot, she contacts Claudio (that’s right, the suave guy who ran the recent auction of her properties) to tell him what happened.

Claudio: “Calm down Zahra, we can figure this out. Perhaps Siva wants a new tenant?”

Claudio calls Siva who, in a sneaky sideways move says “I will keep the tenant but I want NOTHING to do with the unscrupulous likes of We Let For You.”


Harley on the other hand, claims that since he found the tenant and signed a year’s lease agreement, he wants the money that is due to him.


Things get messy. (I know right, you thought it was ALREADY messy!) When emotion goes up, intelligence goes down. Soon enough, there are threats of legal action and all conversations have been relegated to legal letters.

Reluctantly, Zahra ends up having to pay We Let For You their finders fee, equal to one month’s rental plus VAT as well as 10% of the gross monthly rental plus VAT for the duration of the lease and the small profit she was set to make from the sale of the property goes up in smoke. Whoosh.


In the (very) bitter end, Zahra ALSO had to arrange for the tenants to sign new lease agreements with the new owner and arrange for the deposits to be transferred over to the new owner upon transfer of the property.

Zahra keeps shaking her head in utter disbelief. How on earth did she end up trapped in the very bad B grade movie!?

Now even more convinced than EVER that property is for the birds, Zahra skulks off to her local Spar to buy that lottery ticket.


PLEASE NOTE:

It is not unusual for a landlord to give permission for the letting agent to sign a tenancy agreement on their behalf. The tenancy agreement is still a binding contract between tenant and landlord, even if signed by the agent on the landlord’s behalf.


KEY LEARNING:

Do not sign anything ever (no really, ever ever EVER!) without reading and understanding every single word in the document. If you don’t understand it, ask for clarification. Don’t get bored of the legalese mumbo jumbo and just sign it with a flourish thinking “what’s the worst that can happen?”