Agent trying to offset his unpaid fees against deposit

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Paul C
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I have recently terminated a tenacy arranged with a well known but little loved agent. The agent now seems to be holding the tenants to ransom in order to recover unexplained charges out of the deposit.

The tenants left the property after staying a few extra days for which rental X was agreed. The tenants left the property in a very good and clean condition so I am happy to refund them in full subject to all rent being paid. My rental receipts are up to date except for the x for the extra days.

I have instructed the agent to refund the full deposit less the x extra rent. The agent though has told the tenants that I have agreed to refund the deposit less the x but also has added several hundred pounds of deductions for various fees and earlier unpaid rent of which neither I nor the tenants are aware. Further the tenants insist that the paid the final rent and have bank statements to prove it. I am inclined to believe them but have not yet seen the evidence.

The issue is though that the agent seems to be deliberately holding back the rent from me so that I will not agree to release of the deposit thereby giving them a lever to obtain payment for their dubious admin charges.

I don't know how to break the deadlock but to me, if the tenants can prove that they paid the agent all the rent then perhaps legally I must agree to release the full deposit and then take action against the agent for recovery of the rent as he is my collecting agent. It would then be up to the agent to seek recovery of any disputed tenants' admin fees directly from the tenants with no legal lien on the deposit. The added sting is that I have already paid the agent commission amounting to 30% of the final rent and with the admin fee paid by the tenants the agent gets more of the final rent than I do! Views please. Paul C

19/08/2008 00:00

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