Letting Agents: Servants of Two Masters?
Housing Matters, Issue 128, pp. 2-3, 2019
3 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2018 Last revised: 5 Feb 2019
Date Written: October 4, 2018
It is a common fallacy that a letting agent is “the servant of two masters” — that in letting a property an agent’s role is to advance the interests of both the landlord and the (prospective) tenant. Agents should stop perpetuating this myth. Whenever a landlord engages a letting agent to market their property for rent, the landlord is the agent’s principal. The agent does not act for the tenant. If an agent were to prioritise the tenant’s interests, the agent would risk breaching their contractual and fiduciary duties owed to the landlord. Despite impressions, tenants are not generally the customers of letting agents. It is to the landlord whom the agent provides a service.
Keywords: rental agent, fiduciary duty, agents' duties, landlords' duties, leases, residential tenancies, tenants’ rights, Consumer Rights Act, Housing Act, Tenant Fees Act, ARLA Propertymark, david cox, holding deposit, agreement for lease, pre-tenancy, unfair terms, repudiation, breach of contract
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