Witholding of pre paid commission

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A tenant left my property after 10 months leaving everything in good order clean and tidy, After checking all utilities and council tax had been paid I refunded the deposit less two months agents commission plus VAT that the agent had taken up front at the commecement of the tenancy which was for twelve months with a break clause after six months. It was an assured shorthold tenancy and I expected the agent (Ludlow Thompson Ltd) to refund two months commission plus VAT but they refused to do so as hidden in the small print of the agreement they say payment of said refund is conditional on the landlord making the property available for re-letting and SUCH RE-LETTING taking place.
I did give them instructions to re-let but I also gave instructions to other agents and tried to find a tenant myself. Another agent found a suitable tenant and I let the property through that agent.
In my view this is a totaly unfair term as effectivly they are saying that they must be given an unconditional sole agency for an unlimited period or thet can keep thier letting fee for the whole period of the tenancy even if the tenant leaves after six months. I cannot believe any landlord in thier right mind would give a sole letting agency with no limit on the time it might take to find a tenant.What is your opinion and am in the right to deduct the fees from the tenants deposit as although they were good tenants if they had not broken the contract before 12 months had elapsed I would not have been out of pocket.
15/11/2006 00:00

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