Thursday, February 28, 2008

OFT challenges unfair terms in landlords agency agreements

Landlords nationwide will be delighted at the action being taken by the Office of Fair Trading, regarding letting agents Foxton’s agency terms and conditions.

Under these agency agreements, Foxtons claim commission from landlords for tenants found by them when the tenant stays on after the end of the tenancy agreement, even if they (ie Foxtons) are no longer involved in the management of the property, and even if the landlord has sold the property! (In which case the landlord would not be receiving any benefit from the tenant at all.) They also claim commission if the property is sold to the tenant, even though they may have paid no part in the sale negotiations.

Foxtons claim that these terms are fair, but the OFT disagree and have issued a High Court action for an injunction to stop them using them. They are also asking the court to make a declaration that they are unfair, in breach of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

If the OFT are successful, they will be bringing action against any other letting agents which have similar terms in their agency agreements (and there are many!).

This is a much needed action. Landlords have been complaining for years about these clauses which in many cases are ‘money for nothing’.

You can read about the items on the OFT web-site here.

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