Can I persuade my estate agent to accept reduced commission?
Q: I gave notice to my estate agent to take my property off the market if they had not secured a buyer by 12th May. However, the property remained on their site until 17th May. I was told that a couple were interested in viewing the property and asked if I was prepared to accept the viewing. At that point, I agreed but with the caveat that if it was successful, I expected a reduced commission fee because the viewing was out of contract and had not been previously introduced as potential buyers. The agent is insisting that I pay the full commission as per the (former) contract. Am I legally bound to pay the commission or do I have grounds for the viewing being out of contract? And can I invoice the estate agent for advertising my property in breach of cancellation of contract and the unauthorised use of my property to advertise the agency?
The Estate Agents Act states that an agent must not market a home without the permission of the owner. It seems that they have breached this.
I guess that the pivotal point here centres around the viewer being accepted. Undoubtedly that means that the contract terms were still applicable at that point. However, what was said exactly regarding the reduced commission? Is that in writing or was the call recorded at either end? If it can be demonstrated that this constituted an amendment to the contract then it should hold up.
You should not acknowledge that the full commission is due and hold that a reduced commission was agreed but perhaps not the extent of the discount. I’d start at 50% off. But I’d also make it clear to the agent that a complaint is being considered to Trading Standards on the basis that the agent has breached the terms of the Estate Agents Act, to which they are bound. The publicity and aggro should make them repent.
Answered by Russell Quirk, eMoov CEO