The Landlords complained that the Agent had not obtained their consent before they let the Property to the Tenant at a rent that was somewhat below the amount advertised. The Agent stated that they had obtained the Landlords’ consent, prior to the letting, during a telephone conversation.
In support of their complaint, the Landlords provided my Office with a copy of an email they had sent to the Agent after the Tenancy Agreement had been signed. This email referred to a previous telephone conversation which the Landlords had conducted with a member of
the Agent’s staff in which they had discussed the rent achieved for the Property. In the email the Landlords referred to the Agent agreeing to pay them an amount equal to the difference between the rent advertised and the amount that had been achieved. There was no evidence that the Agent had responded to this email or any progress notes which had recorded the details of the prior conversation.
I supported the Complaint as I determined that the email from the Landlords gave credence to their claim that they had not given their consent for the Tenancy to go ahead at the lower rent figure and that the Agent had agreed to make up the shortfall. I also criticised the Agent for their failure to respond to the email. The difference between the advertised
rent and the amount actually achieved was £330 over the six month term of the Tenancy. I made an award of this amount as I considered that the Agent had agreed to pay this to the Landlords. However, I explained to the Landlords that there was no guarantee that they would ever have achieved the rent that the Property was being advertised at and for this reason I believed the award was adequate compensation for the Agent’s failure to respond to their email.
Client instructions to proceed with an agreed level of rent and any another other caveats relating to a tenancy should always be confirmed in writing. Any telephone conversations of this nature should be immediately followed up with written correspondence outlining the details of the instructions obtained.