Back in July the High Court ruled that the estate agents Foxtons were unfairly charging landlords’ commission each and every time a tenant renewed a contract.
The case was brought by The Office of Fair Trading which was complaining that particular charges within Foxton’s letting agreement were not clear to landlords.
The estate agents agreements required landlords to pay Foxtons a set commission – usually around the figure of 11% - when a tenant renewed a contract, even if this was arranged without any input or involvement of the estate agent – money for nothing some might say!
In addition to the above the contact also included the clause that if Landlords eventually sold their property to the tenant, the landlord would have to also pay Foxtons a commission – A commission Foxtons will argue a landlord would have to pay if they advertised the property for sale through any agent.
The High Court upheld this complaint in July because the details of these clauses were buried in the small print and was not obvious to the landlord signing the agreement. It was also commented at the time that repeat renewal commission by Foxtons represented a 'trap' for consumers.
On the 18th of December the estate agent was given leave to contest the ruling and has until the 29th January 2010 to formally lodge an appeal. If the appeal is a success it may prevent landlords from claiming changes back, a sum which was estimated to millions of pounds.
If you are a landlord or an estate/letting agent let us know your opinion on the High Court ruling and if you think these charges are fair if made obvious to the landlord?