Letting Agent Isn’t Passing On Rent To Landlord

I received an email earlier that virtually got my blood boiling. While reading the email I started to grit my teeth and develop mental images of certain snakes in cheap suits being stoned…

I have a property currently let by a local agent over 2 months ago. As far as I am aware the tenant is paying the rent yet the agency has not passed any money on to me.

I have contacted them regularly over the past 10 weeks and constantly get fobbed off by junior members of staff with promises of call back’s and despite leaving multiple messages, I have still not herd back from anyone as to why I have not been paid. i am now at the end of my tether and i am wondering what recourse I have against the agency. Is this something you have come across?

Many thanks,

10 weeks and no payment and no callbacks? Excuse me? What? Some people need to be kicked in the throat Jackie Chan style.

I can’t imagine how frustrated the landlord must be; I know if I was in that situation I would be livid. I’m actually surprised the landlord has been so cavalier about the situation. I would have been banging on the agent’s door with a blunt spoon when payment overdue by 2 weeks. The blunt spoon being my weapon of choice to pierce their hearts. My gut feeling tells me that they’re holding back payment because they’re in a really bad financial situation. Of course, that’s just speculation. But I honestly can’t think of any other logical explanation. Either way, not-fucking-acceptable.

If I were in that situation, what would I do?

  • I’d get in contact with the tenant to confirm he/she has been making regular payments.
  • I’d forget the phone calls to the agency; I wouldn’t waste my time. Estate/letting agents aren’t good with communication if they’ve already got their commission on a deal. The only thing a phone would be useful for in this situation is to beat down the agent’s door, and then their heads. I would literally go banging on the door, demanding to talk to the manager. I would ask why my payments have been ridiculously delayed, why no ones called back after leaving several messages, why they are such unprofessional cock-faces, and then I would demand for my money on a silver platter.
  • I would terminate my contract with them immediately. They haven’t stuck to their end of the bargain, so why should I?
  • I would talk directly to the tenant and explain the situation, and then advise them to pay directly to me from now on, and direct all property managment concerns to me as I would be taking over the show. I would be saving a load of money, and plus they’ll be no more shit from the middle-man.
  • I’d check if the agency was part of the OEA (Ombudmans of Estate Agents). If they are, I would make an official complaint. On a side note, I would never deal with an agent that isn’t regulated by the OEA. The sad truth is that there is no real legislation; a consumer has more rights when buying a tin of baked beans than when buying a house. It’s extremely difficult to gain compensation unless they are part of a moderated organization like the OEA.

    Here’s relevant snippets of the “Code of Practice for Letting Agents” from the OEA guidebook:

    9. Rent Collection – Clients and Tenants
    9a You must use reasonable endeavours to obtain prompt rental payments from tenants in line with their tenancy agreement.
    9b You must have procedures in place to notify both client and tenant (and guarantor if relevant) in a timely manner, of rent that has become appreciably overdue – and take suitable steps to notify rental warranty
    insurers (if appropriate) as necessary.
    9c You should provide a tenant, upon request, with a statement or schedule of rental payments received showing how arrears have arisen.
    9d You must draw a client’s attention to a build up of serious rental arrears and should seek appropriate instructions from the client or his professional advisers.
    9e You must co-operate fully and promptly with legal advisers acting for, or appointed on behalf of, client landlords.
    9f You must have in place suitable processes and accounting procedures for fulfilling the obligations placed upon an agent for the deduction, if appropriate, of tax from rent received on behalf of a non-resident or overseas landlord and subsequent payment and reporting to, the Inland Revenue.

    13. Clients’ Money
    Money held or rent collected for and on behalf of client landlords (including ex-clients) is considered as client money – and this will include deposits or money held for and on behalf of an applicant, tenant or ex-tenant,
    13a You must comply at all times with your regulatory bodies’ rules or byelaws in relation to the handling of clients’ money.
    13b You must provide a client with an appropriate, regular Statement/Invoice detailing Income and Expenditure. Other than for trivial or minor amounts, adequately detailed invoices or receipts should support payments made on behalf of a client and copies provided to the client upon request.

    14. Conflict of Interest
    14a Whilst your duty and obligations are to your client landlord, applicants and tenants should be regarded as consumers and customers – and should therefore be treated appropriately. If there is a conflict with your duty to your landlord client, the applicants or tenants should be advised to seek independent advice.
    14b You must tell your client in writing as soon as reasonably possible after you find out about circumstances that give rise to a conflict of interest. This would include where any of your partners, directors or officers own, or have a financial interest of 24% or more in, a business or contractor engaged to provide services to a client.

    From the sounds of things, this particular agent hasn’t complied with any of the above. Most likely, they aren’t with the OEA, but it’s worth checking out. If they are, i’d get in touch and make a royal complain.

  • Having failed all of the above, I would go to my solicitor and start chalking up the master plan.

Letting Agent's Code Of ConductI definitely wouldn’t rest easy with this cowboy agency. Well, certainly not until I received full payment. Even after then I would pull the plug on their services, and perhaps throw a few eggs/bricks at their windows (only joking, kinda’).

I’ve had my fare share of problems with dodgy letting agents and that’s why I refuse to go full management these days. Plus, I know how frustrating they can be, so I have sympathy for anyone that is suffering because of them. In the most recent years I’ve just paid agents to find me a tenant. Promptly after they arrange a tenant I run a mile and completely disjoint myself from agencies. I’m not saying that all agents are bad news, but I am saying that the one’s I have dealt with have left an extremely bitter taste in my mouth. I’ve never got value for money, and let’s face it; they need to provide a pretty solid service to justify their extortionate costs.

What would you do if you were in that situation? More importantly, has anyone ever been in this situation?

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14 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Wendy 13th June, 2008 @ 14:04

I also have a property which was let through a letting agent.

The letting agent has done a runner and shut shop. I am now owed one months rent plus the deposit as they held it and insured it with TDLS. As a landlady I am still liable for the deposit, which I dont have.

The tenants are now withholding rent as they say that we have their deposit.

Its makes me sick that people can screw you around and I have no rights.

It would be good to hear your thoughts on my situation.

thanks

1
Guest Avatar
jon 19th June, 2008 @ 11:42

I also was dealing with a letting agency with my property, when i was not paid last months rent i immediately phoned the office, only to be redirected to an accountants. Although I questioned the accountants was not told anything about the company, but checking various web site found out the letting company was going through liquidation. I did manage to get through to the manager of the office (by Mobile) and was asured that i would get my money (still waiting?).On finding out this information i went and spoke to my tenant and told them not to pay anymore money to the agency and has also agreed to continue with the let but is also worried about his bond. now the question is am i liable for their bond? even though its in a secured account? am i still bound by the agreement with the agency?

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Guest Avatar
jon 19th June, 2008 @ 11:55

I thought that bonds in secured accounts can be retrieved? is not that the idea of having it placed in a secured account so that it does not fall in the wrong hands?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 19th June, 2008 @ 22:22

Hey Jon,

You're still bound by the agreement if the company is still trading. From what I understand, it still is...

When you say "bond", i'm assuming that you're referring to a tenancy deposit scheme, right? If so, then a third party will be holding those funds, and that money will be safe. You should find out what kind of scheme the money is tied up in, and find out which company was appointed to handle it...

Please keep me informed.

Kind regards

4
Guest Avatar
Wendy 21st June, 2008 @ 00:18

Just found out that as my tenants bond was insured by TDSL otherwise known as mydeposits, the agents or landlords keep the tenants deposit. TDSL act a mediator if anything goes wrong, but TDSL arent paying out to the tenant as they say I am fully liable for the deposit and obviously still around. The company is useless and making money from joining fees from agents. Basicaly, I have been screwed by the agents and that TDSL doesnt really serve much function. The tenants deposit isnt safe with your agent if they go bust and they have kept it. The safest option is to either keep the bond yourself or join the custodial scheme. Bastards....

5
Guest Avatar
K Fitzpatrick 28th April, 2009 @ 13:54

I terminated Just Letting's services for the very same reason. Every month rents are paid over very, very late. Now, in the notice period I am struggling to get the last months rent in - it's more than 3 weeks late - the tenants paid as they always do and I'm worried about their deposit. Just Letting Northgate wont return my calls or reply to my emails.....

6
Guest Avatar
Marlene van der Wath 21st August, 2009 @ 14:48

Your experience with Just Letting sounds like my story, I have searched the web for others with complaints and found a lot. I have terminated my contract with Just Letting at Nortgate but I want them to be stopped! They should not be allowed to run a service for rentals. They still have not aknowledged my e-mails to confirm that our contract is cancelled. They never produced any statements in the 9 months I had the misfortune of dealing with them, and never ever returned any calls, and lied blatantly about when the payed in my rent. I want them up and out! Consumers should be protected against agents like this. Shameful!!! Is there a body or board of some kind that I can lay a complaint to about this agency? Not fair to have them give letting agents a bad name!

7
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st August, 2009 @ 14:56

Hey Marlene,

The problem with the industry is that there isn't much regulation. However, if your letting agent is registered with an approved redness scheme, you can take matters further. Follow this link for more details: Use Letting Agents That Are Registered With An Approved Redress Scheme For Consumer Protection.

Kind regards

8
Guest Avatar
Kathleen Jardim 23rd August, 2009 @ 08:36

Marlene,

Just Letting Northgate is a franchise operation and the franchisor is the Just Property Group. I got in touch with one of their directors, john (john@justpropertygroup.co.za) and it was only through his assistance that I was able to walk away with the contract terminated, the deposit and rent up to date (even though that took a while) and a statement of recon, listing excatly what had been paid and also the steep fees that I had paid every month to JL to manage the property. I now have a superb letting agent who charges half the amount and gets the rent in before the 2nd.

Best bet is to put pressure on the franchisor - I found them on the web, think it was www.justproperty.co.za.

kath

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Guest Avatar
Amanda 21st January, 2013 @ 16:10

My agent seems to have gone missing - with owing rent and deposit - would he have insurance to cover the deposit - or am I wasting my time going legal?

10
Guest Avatar
Fuzzy 11th November, 2013 @ 14:43

What happens if the tennant doesn't pay the rent due to mitigating circumstances. Does the Letting Agency pay up or is that down to the landlord to have payment protection from Insurance???

In a nutshell: Does letting agencies cover rent being paid???

11
Guest Avatar
Framed 12th October, 2014 @ 17:55

My son and his family live in a rental property managed by a letting agent. His 12 month tenancy expires in less than a month but he has not heard from the landlord or agent about the option to renew or vacate.
Are they in breach not to have approached my son. And should he request the tenancy continue on a month by month agreement?
Any advice would be very much appreciated.

12
Guest Avatar
Landlord 20th March, 2015 @ 19:55

Jackson Rose in Coventry and Leamington Spa owe me and others lots of money. They failed to register my tenant's deposits and owe me rent money even though they issued me a rental statement showing that they had paid me - Fraud!

The police are on to them - they are currently hiding behind liquidated companies and still trading under the same name, but if the police decide to go after them, there's nowhere to hide - let's hope we all get our money back and they are out of business for good!

Stay clear of this lot in Coventry and Leamington Spa.

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Guest Avatar
Ros Porter 10th February, 2016 @ 09:51

A letting agent has gone with my tenants deposit and also owing me rent.
The tenant agreed to stay with me.I have since found out that the agent was taken to court for using the monies from the deposits. A few years down the line the tenant has given notice as they are moving into their own house.Iam fully aware that Iam responsible for the deposit that they lost but who is going to pay my rent loss also the tenant has declined the offer of more than half of their deposit being returned to them I have withheld a sum for repairs, and now Iam being taken to court because they are also looking for compensation.

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