Saturday, April 25, 2009

Refunds after Foxtons

One aspect of the Foxtons case which I have not seen mentioned is the impact this will have on the status of past payments.

To remind readers, a claim has been brought against Foxtons by the Office of Fair Trading, for a declaration that some of the terms in their landlord agency agreements are unfair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (see my post here).

The OFT are objecting to clauses which require landlords to pay commission when tenants renew where Foxtons are not managing the property (and even if the landlord has sold the property), and also pay commission if the property is sold to the tenant where Foxtons pay no part in the sale.

We have had a preliminary Court of Appeal decision in the case which says that the ruling (when we get it) will apply to both current and future contracts. The High Court decision is expected shortly.

What I would like to know (and I am sure a lot of landlords would like to know also) is what then is the status of payments already made by landlords under these agreements. If the OFT win the case, then this will mean that these clauses were always unfair and unenforceable. Can landlords claim a refund?? Or offset payments made, against future commission?

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