Not paying renewal fee to landlord
Some months ago Hamptons sent me a bill for over £3000, 10% of the annual rent we get for a flat in London, for renewing the tenants' contract. FOr then this meant changing one name and sending out the contracts
I thought then and continue to think that this is a grotesque sum for very little work. I was quite clear to Hamptons that this was what I thought and that I did not intend to pay. I offered them £100 as being a reasonable payment for their services.
I am of course aware that the renewal payment was in the contract, but this all happened not long after the Foxtons' ruling in the High Court, and I was also aware that the renewal payment clause was not foregrounded, nor was it mentioned in any of the publicity literature for residential landlords, and nor did Hamptons tell my wife about it when she expressly and directly ask how much renewal would cost over the phone.
Now I have received a solicitor's letter demanding payment plus interest by next Friday or court action will be taken.
To be frank though I am aware that in strictly legal terms I am liable for the payment I think that to be charged what amounts to 5% of my total income for approximately half an hour's easy work by an estate agent is a joke, and I am still deeply resistant to paying. I am also annoyed by the proposal in the solicitor's letter that Hamptons will reduce future renewal charges to 7%, as if I had the remotest intention of ever using them again in any circumstances.
So my questions are:
(a)Should I, highly reluctantly, pay this?
(b) What is likely to happen if I do nothing and get taken to court?
(c) Have I any chance of resisting this legally, especially following the Foxtons' ruling?
(d) How can I make sure that I can legally dispense with Hamptons's services for the future?
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