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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Vendor has been running campaign against bankrupt agency since 2014

A disillusioned vendor has been running a campaign against standard term agency contracts for almost two years. 

Paul Tranter has been specifically campaigning against Hampshire firm Penyards, which was recently sold-out of administration.

Tranter, who now lives in New Zealand, has set-up a website named 'Penyards Estate Agents Our Nightmare'.

The vendor claims that he terminated his contract with Penyards after becoming unhappy with the service received. 

Tranter's website states that during his contracted period with the agency, someone viewed the property but did not purchase.

He says that almost two years later the same person bought the property through a different agent running a new marketing campaign.

On the website, the vendor claims that Graham Evans, the firm's co-founder, subsequently pursued a fee and interfered with the sale. 

Evans subsequently secured a court judgement for the fees to be paid in full. 

Tranter's website claims that the scenario nearly bankrupted him and has cost over £45,000. 

Tranter references a clause in Penyards' Sole Selling Rights contract which states that total fees and commission will be due if: 

'Unconditional contracts for the sale of the Property are exchanged after the expiry of the period which we have sole selling rights but to a purchaser who was introduced to you during that period or with whom we had negotiations about the Property during that period.'

The vendor contends that the clause is a breach of the Unfair Contract Terms Act.

The seller claims that the agent must clarify in writing if they intend to reference the clause in the future, something he says Penyards ignored.

He also maintains that the contract went past its six months limitation.

"We do feel that this has not come soon enough and that it’s criminal the Evans’ were allowed to continue in practice for so long even after all regulatory authorities were contacted," writes Tranter on his website.

"We took every avenue open to us but the industry closed ranks to protect their own."

Tranter's campaign is aiming to have the aforementioned clause struck out of estate agent contracts and he actively encourages vendors to 'go elsewhere' if an agent refuses to remove it from their terms.

The campaign website details in full the vendor's complaint made to the Property Ombudsman Scheme as well as correspondence with the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team. 

Estate Agent Today has contacted Penyards for its response.

Earlier this week we reported that the agency was sold-out of administration for £180,000 to Number 17 Marketing Ltd. 

The pre-packaged sale secured the jobs of 32 estate agents.

Administrators Begbies Traynor revealed that the firm which was founded in 1988 had accumulated debts of over £1 million and owes significant sums of money to HMRC, Lloyds and Newsquest.

  • Glenn Ackroyd

    This seems to have all the hallmarks of Foxtons -v- Hamptons which found for the vendor.

    In short, Foxtons had showed a viewer around a property and they did not put an offer forward to purchase. It was later re-marketed with Hamptons, and the buyer put forward a successful offer to purchase.

    The judge found against the Original Agent. The rationale was at the first viewing, they were simply a viewer and they had not been ‘introduced to buy’. It was the second agent who had facilitated the ‘introduction to buy’, at which point they became the ‘buyer’. And it was the agent who found the buyer who was the only one entitled to the fee.

    On this basis, the Original Agent is not entitled to any fee from the Seller under the terms of their terminated original agency agreement.

    Here is a link reporting the judgment:
    http://www.solicitorsjournal.com/news/family/children/no-future-estate-agents-battling-over-introductions

  • Terence Dicks

    Absolutely agreed Glenn. If the viewer does not at least offer on the property after the first viewing and the agency fail to sell the property, they should have no right to a fee if said viewer makes a successful offer through the second successful agent.

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    Whilst I completely agree that in this particular case, the agent should never have been found in favour of their fee, simply due to the length of time between their introduction and when the property was sold via the other agent. However, it would be quite ludicrous to suggest that if a viewer does not offer, a fee is avoidable. Otherwise, in my opinion this opens up the position of an unscrupulous buyer to approach the vendor direct to simply go through an on line £75 listing agent, as he made no offer through the real introducing agent. The simple answer is common sense, which this particular judgement appears not to have implemented. But of course, we no not the whole picture.

    Terence Dicks

    Sorry Keith, I WAS using common sense. If an agent fails to sell a property and it is marketed by another agency (because they failed), and a person views it through the second agents and successfully offers (even after he/she had viewed it before with the failed agent and not offered), AND the original contract period has expired), what right does the first unsuccessful agent have to a fee?? We are not talking about unscrupulous buyers here, we are talking about unscrupulous agents and fraud, because what that agent attempted IS fraud. They had no right to an unearned fee, and although I agree with Smile that the judges wording was at fault, the decision was correct.

     
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    I simply don't understand this so called distinction between a viewer and 'introduced to buy'
    Can someone point out the difference please?

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    I think the judge was right in the Foxtons case but his wording has left this a can of worms for future disputes.

    Basically the judge is saying its not enough to show a property and expect a fee, you need to get an offer and put the deal together.

    If you are aware of the case it is a little more complicated than this, which is why in my opinion the wording of the judge is so poor as it leaves the door open to aggressive agents to claim a sale they do not have a right to.

     
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