We have recently been instructed by a leading national residential property management agency in relation to the recovery of letting fees owed to them by a landlord. Our client locates tenants for prospective landlords and manages the tenancy on behalf of the landlord throughout the period of the occupancy. In return, a fee is charged to the landlord calculated by taking a percentage of the rent.
Letter Before Action
Our client initially approached us with a request to write a Letter Before Action (“LBA”) to the landlord, who was refusing to pay the management fees that had become payable. The outstanding invoices related to the discovery of tenants to be placed in the landlord’s property as well as managing the tenancy on a day to day basis. Upon completion of the initial tenancy, the lease was renewed as agreed by all parties. According to our client’s Terms of Business a renewal fee is payable upon a lease being successfully renewed. Despite lots of chasing, the invoice was not paid and DebtFast were instructed to write an LBA, for just £14.50+vat.
Our LBA prompted some back and forth correspondence with the landlord who maintained that the fees were not payable and was not willing to pay. As such, we were instructed to issue a claim in the County Court. For this service we charged out client just £80+vat, on the basis that this would be recoverable should the claim be successful.
The Defendant landlord filed a formal Defence, alleging that our client had not acted in accordance with the contact the two parties had entered into. The Defendant then alleged that our client had not obtained character references from the prospective tenants and further alleged that our client had not negotiated with the prospective tenants in an optimum manner.
Continuing to trial
The matter was then listed for trial in the small claims track of the County Court. Our client had no prior experience in litigation and so required an in depth summary on the court procedure. We explained to our client that we would draft a witness statement to be used as evidence which would outline in great detail the facts of the case and why the landlord was liable for the outstanding balance. This involved reviewing years’ worth of correspondence between the parties and painstakingly ascertaining what would be relevant for our client’s case. We eventually found key emails that determined our client had successfully obtained character references and performed all of their contractual duties.
Once the witness evidence was compiled we instructed a barrister on our client’s behalf. We regularly work with leading commercial litigation chambers so we can always instruct leading barristers. By the date of the trial our client felt suitably prepared and quietly confident of a successful result. After approximately two hours the Deputy District Judge ruled in our client’s favour and ordered the full amount claimed to be paid by the Defendant. In addition to this, our client was awarded a partial costs order in their favour – a rarity in small claims track cases.
All in all our client was extremely satisfied by this positive result and continues to instruct us on a regular basis. Please do not hesitate to get in contact for any debt recovery assistance.