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Estate Agent Taking Me To Court - Sole Agency

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Ive just sold a house a few months ago privately and the estate agent is taking me to court!

I ended up selling the house to my tennant who had been renting the house from me for over 4 years. 2 years ago I began talking to him about selling the house and he made a few offers but no sale happened.

8 Months ago I signed a Sole Agency agreement with a well know estate agency in London as they claimed they could do better than what my tennant was offering. This never happened as the market got worse. I ended up selling to the tennant myself priavtely (not through the estate agent) but the estate agent are now claiming to have helped with the sale.

The estate agent claim that because they spoke to my tennant on a few occasions (and called to the house) to arrange suitable times for other customers to view the property that they helped with the sale!!!!

They are now also claiming to have had negotiations with the tennant during this time and wrote to me with an offer from the tennant (even though I asked them not to do this). Where do I stand?

Any advice?

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Ive just sold a house a few months ago privately and the estate agent is taking me to court!

I ended up selling the house to my tennant who had been renting the house from me for over 4 years. 2 years ago I began talking to him about selling the house and he made a few offers but no sale happened.

8 Months ago I signed a Sole Agency agreement with a well know estate agency in London as they claimed they could do better than what my tennant was offering. This never happened as the market got worse. I ended up selling to the tennant myself priavtely (not through the estate agent) but the estate agent are now claiming to have helped with the sale.

The estate agent claim that because they spoke to my tennant on a few occasions (and called to the house) to arrange suitable times for other customers to view the property that they helped with the sale!!!!

They are now also claiming to have had negotiations with the tennant during this time and wrote to me with an offer from the tennant (even though I asked them not to do this). Where do I stand?

Any advice?

You need to check the agreement. Does it give them "Sole Agency" or "Sole Selling Rights"? Big difference. If it is the latter, then you could well be liable to pay them, but if it is the former, then they are probably on sticky ground. I'm no lawyer, but I have heard of this situation before, hence above advice.

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You need to check the agreement. Does it give them "Sole Agency" or "Sole Selling Rights"? Big difference. If it is the latter, then you could well be liable to pay them, but if it is the former, then they are probably on sticky ground. I'm no lawyer, but I have heard of this situation before, hence above advice.

Contract says "Sole Agency"

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Contract says "Sole Agency"

I'd get legal advice, but my gut feel is they are trying their luck in the hope that you will get alarmed and back down. If you were in touch with the tenant regarding buying the house before they ever came on the scene then they have not got a leg to stand on. You would do well to have some documentation to back that up, although I am sure your tenant would happily sign something to the same effect.

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The quickest and easiest place to get the legal advice you need is to visit or phone your local CAB.

Once you have clarification about the legal position - assuming that it is in your favour (which I suspect it is) - ask the Estate Agent to put their claim down in writing so that your solicitor can look it over. Assuming that CAB have identified the situation as being in your favour legally I would then use the Estate Agents letter to lodge complaints about them to the OFT and Property Ombudsman.

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See the following: http://www.thelittlehousecompany.co.uk/howtosell.htm

How to sell your home privately on the internet

Perhaps the single biggest reason why homeowners have traditionally used an estate agent to sell their home, rather than do it themselves, relates purely to marketing - getting the property details in front of a sufficiently large number of buyers to achieve a sale. Nevertheless, there is in fact no legal requirement to use an agent at all.

Even under a "sole agency" agreement, there is nothing to prevent a homeowner from advertising and selling the property privately...

...with no liability to pay commission if he /she ultimately finds a buyer without the help of their agent. Since the introduction of the Unfair Contract Terms Act, it is very rare now to find the term Sole Selling Rights in an estate agent's consumer contract, meaning that individuals are free to market the property themselves - even where they have appointed a sole agent*.

On the basis of the above I would ask the Estate Agent to put their claim in writing to you and then use that to report them to the OFT (Office for Fair Trading). I would report them to the OFT because the OFT will use the law to prosecute Estate Agents whereas the Property Ombudsman is run by Estate Agents and have a reputation for decriminalising complaints against Estate Agents.

Check out your situation with the CAB and then go for it I would say.

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