Musings of a London Property Search Agent
Oh the joy of the British legal system! While on the one hand everyone I know is rejoicing at the judgement published on Friday, ruling that certain terms in Foxtons terms and conditions are unfair, the ensuing press coverage over the weekend implies that arguments over what does and what doesn’t constitute an unfair contract term for the lettings industry, will run and run.
Many consumer landlords have been stung over the years over the following terms in the Foxtons contract:
- requiring landlords to pay further commission after the initial one year period where the tenant stays in the property even if Foxtons have had nothing to do with persuading tenants to stay;
- requiring landlords to pay further commission even if the landlord has sold the property;
- claiming a full estate agents commission if the tenant decides to buy the property.
The problem is that the Foxtons contract for both sales and lettings is a one page document with the terms and conditions written in tiny print, which the average consumer wouldn’t bother to read. Looking at the judgement closely, the Judge, Mr Justice Mann makes clear that he wasn’t asked to judge whether renewal clauses of this type are always unfair. He seems to imply that as long as letting agents have their terms and conditions in a reasonable typeface, they can carry on charging what they like.
Foxtons lost this case because the charges weren’t clear, the charges were excessive and a potential landlord would be ‘astonished’ about the size of the commission due.
ARLA, the Association of Residential Lettings Agents immediately issued a press release on Friday, clarifying that the judgement in no way opens its members to issuing refunds in light of the judgement.
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If you want a good buy-to-let which should hold it’s value or appreciate, call us, arguably the best Buy-to-let Property Search Agents in London and Brighton and we may even find you a tenant for free!