Been screwed by my agent

I recently (End of last year) bought a house. I listed it with some agents (no names mentioned but it was a "reputable" name). One month ago they told me they had someone who was moving in that weekend or even the next day. I was at that stage about to change agents as they had had the property on their books already for 4 weeks with no luck.

The property mind you is immaculate, the asking rent is resonable also if that was a problem I would have lowered it. Anyway, I went through my bank accounts through the internet and lo and behold, the rent money hadn't come through! Plus there was no rental statement in the mail.

I rang them up yesterday and the guy said that they had problems with getting the tennants to move in some crappy story that I only half listenned to. I was SO SO upset. Not because of the loss of rent (I could have done some really good shopping with) but because they didn't bother to get off their FAT ASSES and TELL ME!!!! They basically LIED to me!

I feel like sueing them. I noted the date in my diary when they SAID they had rented it out. Can I take action!!!! or is there nothing I can do. I was so stressed out, this has never happenned before and I've been in this game for nearly 6 years now. If there hasn't been a tennant other agents just told me, they didn't LIE! I might have been upset but then I could take remedial action like lower the rent or rant and rave at them (that doesn't help by the way!).

Has this happenned to anybody else??? What recourse did you take? Obviously now I am going to change agents. I cannot believe this.

I signed a standard 'Management Agency Agreement Residential' on 25th Novemeber 2002. This includes all my details and the set rent, which by the way is negotiable if they find the right tennant.

The tennants have to sign a lease but I don't have to see it. I rely on the agents to tell me that it is leased. They are then meant to send me rental statements every Friday at the end of the month and also bank the money automatically into my nominated bank account.

Hi Sophie,

I was in a similar situation once, but I was the property manager - not the owner. I had tenants lined up for over a month to move in to a property, they had paid the holding deposit and kept ringing and asking when they could sign the lease. They obviously can't sign a lease until the property is vacant.

The old tenant moved out, I called the new tenant to sign the lease and they came and told me they didn't want it anymore!

I couldn't call my landlord as he was over seas and uncontactable. I had to wait for him to call me. Let me just say that he was absolutely livid.

There was nothing i could do except continue my efforts to secure another tenant, which only took a couple of days thankfully.

The landlord couldn't do much except go to a difference agent. I was honest and up front.

The correct thing for your agent to do would have been to call you immediately, if in fact they were telling the truth from the beginning.

It appears to me that they don't have your best interests in mind, and if i were you i'd be looking elsewhere. But first, id ask the agent if they took a holding deposit from the tenants, and if so, why it hasn't been deposited into your account.

I empathise with you- some PM's are really lousy at their jobs, and there are some terrific ones.

Just a tip- I always ask for a copy of the lease for my own records as well as the special conditions that I get all my tenants to sign. Just extra peace of mind.

Hope you find a new tenant soon. Good luck :)
Hi Sophie

It has certainly happened to me but in most cases we have received holding deposits. Nowadays unless a holding deposit is lodged I have instructed the various PM's to keep the property open.

Just a question, why didn't you phone them subsequent to the weekend mentioned? I realise that they should have phoned you if things didn't go to plan but I will allways touch base with the relevant PM to ensure that events panned out.

Handy Andy,

Normally, when an agent phones to say that a tennant is moving in then I expect everything to be fine unless there is something wrong, like missing light bulbs, tv aerial missing etc. There usually is some small thing that needs to be fixed up and that's fine. If they don't ring me I assume everything is fine. As I said, I have been renting out properties for nearly 6 years and this has never happenned before.

You can say everything in hindsight. Its not the sort of behaviour you expect from agents. Anyway, now of course I would insist on ringing but I do have a life besides property and that's what agents are paid for in any case.

My other agents do usually send me the lease, but then if the money is being deposited into my account I'm not too concerned.

I can tell you that that agency didn't just destroy it's own reputation but I will not do business with other agents bearing the same franchise name. If that's their business philosophy then I don't need to waste my time, energy and money on them.

Of course having said that, some agents are downright fantastic and care about every property detail.