Change Property Managers

Hi, first time post. Have a property in SA country town and have been with same property manager for around 5 years. Have had a number of issues over this time but the property has now been vacant since December 2014 and advised to undertake some expensive maintenance to improve quality of tenant and investment - full internal paint, new roof, blinds throughout. This has been ongoing since Dec and still not finished. Fed up we want to change agencies and sent notice to terminate property management agreement last week. Attitude towards me has totally changed, principle will not speak to me and property manager keeps voicing her disappointment and will do no further work on the property as 'not getting commission'. New manger lined up but they will not release the keys, stating I need to pay my debts! Upon giving notice to terminate they advised I need to provide 90 days notice and pay a termination fee (90 days worth of full management fees for untenanted property). The property management agreement was for 12 months (signed in June 2010) then continues thereafter from time to time for the period of any tenancy agreement or when not less than 3mths written notice. I don't believe there is a current management agreement as property not tenanted. The relationship is so broken now. They are holding our property to ransom. I want to organise to change the locks and bypass them - can I? Any suggestions...
 
Hi, first time post. Have a property in SA country town and have been with same property manager for around 5 years. Have had a number of issues over this time but the property has now been vacant since December 2014 and advised to undertake some expensive maintenance to improve quality of tenant and investment - full internal paint, new roof, blinds throughout. This has been ongoing since Dec and still not finished. Fed up we want to change agencies and sent notice to terminate property management agreement last week. Attitude towards me has totally changed, principle will not speak to me and property manager keeps voicing her disappointment and will do no further work on the property as 'not getting commission'. New manger lined up but they will not release the keys, stating I need to pay my debts! Upon giving notice to terminate they advised I need to provide 90 days notice and pay a termination fee (90 days worth of full management fees for untenanted property). The property management agreement was for 12 months (signed in June 2010) then continues thereafter from time to time for the period of any tenancy agreement or when not less than 3mths written notice. I don't believe there is a current management agreement as property not tenanted. The relationship is so broken now. They are holding our property to ransom. I want to organise to change the locks and bypass them - can I? Any suggestions...

I'd be talking to Department of Fair Trading in SA, and get the new PM to get a locksmith to change the locks.
 
As discussed in chat, get the contract reviewed and if you're in the right get the locks changed so that you can begin looking for a tenant.

In the meantime, discuss the ethics of the agency with Fair Trading and REISA.
 
Hi Brenda
It sounds like the fixed term agency agreement has expired which means to end the contract you need to give them the appropriate notice stated in the agreement. 60 or 90 days is normal - check the contract.

The new agent - not you - should be handling the handover and keys, getting appropriate paperwork and giving the other agent the appropriate termination notice - that is the norm in the industry.

The current agent is failing in their responsibility to keep advertising the property - the new agent should be negotiating early termination of contract by mutual consent so that the new agent can do the letting - this is also a norm.

Paying out 90 days of management fees for the property being vacant is one I have not heard before - check the management agreement. Again new agent can advise you and negotiate all on your behalf.

I dont see how suggesting improvements to the property is a breach of the agents responsibility?

Are they still advertising the property?

If you change the locks and relet the property they could hold you or new agent accountable to paying out any income for the next 90 days.

Get the property rented and pay as a priority and pay out what you need to - unless reisa determines a contract breach somewhere - then contract would be terminated.

Has the 90 days been given to them yet in writing?
 
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