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HELP! Tenant has paid but my agent is not paying me!


CalvinYu

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Would very much appreciate any assistance in regards to this matter.

 

For two months now my agent has not paid me my rent despite my tenant paying.

 

At first my rent was coming in 2 weeks late, but for the last two months it hasn't been received despite constant daily calls to their office to chase the rent. They have blamed it on accounting changes with my account details being corrupted. Despite various promises of my rent coming in I still haven't received it for 2 months!

 

I have asked for a manual payment, written a letter of complaint, left voicemails, emails, called them literally everyday a few times each day. 

 

Furthermore having used this letting agent, Dacre Son & Hartley for nearly 6 months now I have never received any income statements.

 

Is there anything I can do, i.e. legal action, etc. to get this sorted, I'm worried they may be going under and are just trying to delay my payment and in the end never pay it?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated

 

and if anyone wants to use a letting agent in the west yorkshire area avoid Dacre Son & Hartley! This has been an absolute shambles and I don't think they are taking this complaint seriously at all!

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Calvin

 

I would go to the press - and tell them all - but make sure you stick to the fact and do not embellish it.  Bizarrely I read in a trade blog tonight that they are currently planning to expand through franchises etc  - see http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/agent-launches-major-expansion-via-franchising/  ...yet this bares all the hallmarks of a company in trouble!

 

They claim to be members of RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) who should take a very dim view of these sort of practices.  Interestingly they do not list any other trade bodies on their website which is unusual for an organisation their alleged size.  I would speak to RICS first on how to raise a formal complaint and your right to redress and then waste no time in implementing their recommendations - time is costing you money

 

If they have received the money from the tenant they have to pay you, minus their agreed commission and also statements should be available for each month.

 

I would also send them a couriered or registered letter of formal complaint and detail the full nature of your complaint.  List:

The rent you were expecting and the date you thought it was due

Request statements for each and every rent period paid

Request details of the Deposit taken by them and a copy of the Prescribed Information that they have served on the tenant + the unique deposit ID

Request a formal explanation for the late rent settlement as you have been told by the tenant that it has been paid on time to the agent.

If you have not already received copies - request a copy of the signed inventory raised at the start of the tenancy + the Tenancy agreement.

 

Keep a detailed record of any correspondence received, in email & text

Seek legal advice for dis-instructing the agent on grounds of breach of contract.

 

Agents such as these give the rest of the industry the bad reputation is has and these sort of crooks need to be nailed

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Tim gives the right advice here...if it were me I would shout loudly and publicly, even stand outside their offices telling all and sundry of the situation, which will no doubt include landlords and tenants alike...or at least threaten to do this (and the press as Tim says). I have adopted this approach in the past in other situations to some good effect but sadly when the boat starts to leak there is only one outcome in the end...

 

In the meantime, I may even contact the tenant and ask that they pay you directly for the time being...it might go against your agreement with the agent but so too is them not passing on your rent!

 

Good luck

Richard W J Brown a.k.a. The Property Voice

Property Investment Strategist

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I echo the above comments but would be inclined to be proactive with the tenant and get them to pay direct as Richard suggests. Are you absolutely certain your tenant has paid! I often hear tenants etc say they've paid to get me off the doorstep but believe it or not they sometimes tell porkies!

Two months without rent is far too long - your letting agent must be in breach of contract - change them and then pursue them via a process for what they owe. I may be able to help but also I'm conscious I'm not on this forum to actively tout for business but debt recovery is what I do, although normally chasing tenants not agents!

Alistair Howard

Property Inventory Report Ltd

 

Tel: 0151 662 0060

Email: alistair@propertyinventoryreport.co.uk

Follow me on Twitter @proptyinventory

WWW.propertyinventoryreport.co.uk

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I can't really add to all the sensible advice already given. My thoughts are;

 

  • If the property managed by the agent - stop this now! I'm sure you can easily find a more reputable LA to manage it for you.
  • Speak to the tenant directly - as Richard says, ignore the LA (hopefully forever!) give the tenant your bank details & cut this LA out of everything.
  • Ombudsman - this LA must be a member of a professional body, property ombudsman, ARLA etc. Contact & inform them.
  • The Press - of course this is an option but the first 3 points are more important initially.  I am sure the local rag would be keen on an expose on this LA, that would be my suggestion for this route.
  • www.allagents.co.uk - this website would benefit immensely with your feedback & was probably created for this very purpose.
  • Tenancy Deposit - check this clearly dubious LA has registered the Tenancy Deposit, if that was part of their service, correctly. Remember even if it was part of their service, and they failed to do so, the Landlord is still responsible.
  • Debt recovery - I'm confident you will get your money, unless the LA goes bust/bankrupt/into thin air. There will be many companies able to offer a service on a no win no fee basis to act on your behalf to retrieve this money.... watch out for their fees though! 

My preferred option, what I would do, go to the office in the morning, sit down and inform them you will not leave until the money is transferred to your account. Take a lunch box & a good book to keep you going. Of course feel free to enlighten other customers of your ongoing plight.

 

Hope that helps and good luck. Do return to this thread to let us know how you get on!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you all for your help! I can confirm that the letting agent have sorted out the 'account issues' and my rent paid in full. Your responses were a great support and I can't thank everyone enough for their help!

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Now you have your money up-to-date I would seriously consider switching to a respectable agent.  For peace of mind use one that is a member of ARLA (Assoc of Residential Letting Agents) or similar and also has Client Money Protection (CMP) and you should not have the problem again.

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Nick hi

Sadly most letting agents are not signed up to a professional body although, as of 1 Oct 2014, they should all be members of one of the redress schemes: The Property Ombudsman (www.tpos.co.uk); Ombudsman Services Property (www.ombudsman-services.org/property.html) or  Property Redress Scheme (www.theprs.co.uk) which gives a baseline right of redress.

 

The other associations such as ARLA (Assoc of Residentila Letting Agents) are voluntary memberships and have limited self policing and are largely reliant on the agencies self-policing the codes of conduct that they sign up to on joining.  The bodies do not go out and quality check the agencies.  To be a member of ARLA, at least one employee has had to have passed some property qualifications but they are not always at the branch you are enquiring at and there is no continuation training requirement so this is not necessarily a guarantee of quality but it is a good starter for ten.  RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) is also a good charter mark, but again the RICS member is not necessarily at the branch you may be dealing with and I have worked for an agency that had RICS membership and the quality of letting was marginal at best ( I realised after leaving!).  NALS (National Assoc of Letting Agents) requires no qualifications and therefore carries less weight but it is an indication of intent.

 

When choosing an agent find out who is qualified in the office and what control do they have within the business operation.  Get to know the agent and ask so searching questions - they need to be able to prove that they are going to look after your property, tenants and you too.  There are a lot of cowboys still in the market and one of the ways that I see to weed out the worst is to find out what they charge landlords and also the tenants.  The poorer the outfit the more they charge or if they charge very low fees there may be reasons for this too.  Find out what the local average is -  Remember cheapest is very often not the best - you get what you pay for up to a point and then the rip-off merchants kick in.  If you want a job done properly by a proper professional it will come at a reasonable cost.

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