How can I end my contract with a letting agent?

Our lawyer Katharine Marshall advises on landlords terminating their contracts with letting agents
© Merrily Harpur
Question: I started letting my flat four years ago using an agent to help find me tenants, which worked well and I have kept the same tenants to this day. However, am I obliged to renew the contract every year with this agent?

I appreciate they found the tenants originally, but they charge a hefty fee each year and I don’t feel it is value for money, given that there is so little for them to do. All they do is make a phone call around renewal time and send copies of the previous contract with the dates changed.

I haven’t increased the rent yet, so the agent hasn’t even had to negotiate that on my behalf. Can I give the agent notice?

Answer: Before terminating your contract, you may wish to request a breakdown of costs from the agent so you can make an informed decision regarding their fees. You will need to review the terms of your contract with the agent to check the grounds for termination. It is likely you will have to give prior written notice to the agent and a fee may even be payable.

The terms of your contract will be subject to the provisions under the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1988, and so if the termination provisions are unduly excessive they may be unreasonable. Before you terminate you may also wish to shop around to allow you to compare other managing agents and their fees.

As a reminder, terminating your contract with the agent will not affect your obligations and responsibilities within the lease with your tenant which will continue.

What's your problem?


If you have a question for Katharine Marshall please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk, or write to: Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5EE.

We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here.

Katharine is a solicitor and director at Pitmans Solicitors (www.pitmans.com).

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