Outoftown said: Posted on: 20/07/2009 00:00
I do not live in the UK and I have been experiencing problems with my letting agent including sloppy management of the property (taking five months to provide a quotation for work and four months after having agreed the quotation, they had not carried out the work and I employed someone directly myself, failure to provide monthly statements for a year and failure to carry out routine inspections when the tenants moved out and were replaced by others and failure to carry out gas safety inspections on time.
I arranged to have the gas safety inspection carried out myself and informed them of this and two months later received an invoice from them for an inspection (six months after the inspection was due) This particular issue which was the straw that broke the camel's back and I decided that I would cancel the contract with the agent.
Whilst I have to give three month's notice according to the terms of the contract, I only gave six week's notice, and listed the series of problems experienced as the reason for cancelling the contract, as they had breached the terms of the contract.
They did not agree with my arguments, I took legal advice and they suggested that I take the case to the Ombudsman. I asked the agency for a final viewpoint letter and they offered me a reduction on their fee for the 12 month period following the cancellation of the contract, which is included in the terms of the contract.
My argument is that given their breaches of contract, I should not have to pay any of this fee (70% of which they are currently holding as the final month's rent, which they have not paid me).
They have stated that they never had any intention of entering into a third party arbitration process and that they will take me to court unless I pay the fee in full. I spoke to the Ombudsman who told me to send the case information through in any case. For the amount involved, I would prefer to avoid going to court, also bearing in mind that I do not live in the UK.
I should also say that three of the tenants of the contract signed with them last year are still in the property and there is one new tenant. Therefore, I imagine that if I do have to pay them this fee, it should only be 75% of the fee and not the full amount?
I would appreciate your and any other members advice.