Written for YourProperty
This week, the Property Poser expert follows up on a recent letter from a reader who asked whether she should employ an agent in letting her property.
In brief, the general conclusion was that if the agent could expedite the process and provide a service that the reader might not have been able to provide herself, there might be some value in it.
The reader elected to use the agent’s services, as he was insistent that he had a number of qualified tenants already interested in the property.
The first tenant he put forward was an unrehabilitated insolvent who wished to pay her rental “off the books”. The reader had, quite understandably, numerous problems with this proposal.
The next prospective tenant was so keen she could hardly wait to gain access to the property so that she could take measurements and the like. This tenant was apparently verified and all background checks had been conducted.
Now the reader, not in the habit of being rushed, told the agent that she wanted her attorney to look over the documentation he had provided for her signature, which comprised the mandate to the agent and lease agreement.
The attorney raised a number of potential problems that he suggested be amended or deleted and the reader put these to the agent.
The agent was apparently adamant that the contracts could not be altered and that, for the tenant to take occupation, he had to receive the signed copies urgently.
Our reader conceded, to expedite the process and avoid the property standing vacant for a month or more and not receiving rental for that period.
Needless to say, the matter spiralled out of control and the new tenant failed to materialise.
The agent claims this was due to the reader’s delays, while the reader feels that he fabricated the prospective tenant to pressure her into signing the mandate.
She believes the “tenant” was merely being used as a dangling carrot.
The agent does not seem to have any other prospective tenants lined up, despite his promises of a pool of tenants from which to draw.
Some angry words were exchanged and, being unhappy, the reader would like to know what steps she can take.
She has already decided to report the conduct of the agent concerned to his directors as she feels that his actions have and will continue to bring the name of the agency into disrepute.
Her next step, should she still feel aggrieved after taking the matter up with his superiors, would be to approach the Estate Agency Affairs Board, says Sean Radue of Radue Attorneys in Port Elizabeth.
“The EAAB has an established procedure for the resolution of complaints and the complaint initiation form is available on their website.”
According to Radue, this serves as a cautionary tale to would-be landlords.
“Anyone contemplating letting their property would be well served in negotiating terms that are acceptable to both them and the agent.”
Should acceptable terms not be found, it might not be a bad idea to seek alternative representation, says Radue.
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