Mr and Mrs C (the Sellers) alleged that, although they had instructed the Agent to market the property for sale, the Agent had, without their knowledge or consent, marketed their property for rent, let the property to tenants under a 12 month Tenancy Agreement and had accepted both a deposit and rent from the tenants.
The Agent acknowledged that the property had been advertised on their website for rent and that they arranged the tenancy. However, they explained that they had expected one of their representatives to become the owner of the property by the time the tenancy was due to start and, although Mr and Mrs C still owned the property at that point, they had allowed the tenants to move in as it would otherwise have caused the tenants a great inconvenience. An investigation of the Agent’s file supported the claim that, without Mr and Mrs C’s consent, they had marketed the property for rent, arranged a tenancy and had accepted rent and a deposit. The submissions also revealed that the Agent had failed to respond to Mr and Mrs C’s subsequent complaints.
I considered that the Agent’s actions not only breached numerous paragraphs of the Code
of Practice but showed that they had seriously compromised their duty of care to Mr and Mrs C. Accordingly, I supported the complaints and made an award of £3,233 which reflected the legal costs Mr and Mrs C had incurred in evicting the tenants and an amount for the distress, aggravation and inconvenience that the Agent’s actions had caused them.
An agent has a duty of care to their client i.e. the person paying their fee. Instructions from another party which may compromise their client’s position must not be acted upon and should be referred to the client.