Do I have to pay estate agents fees when I sold the house?

Q: I signed a contract with an estate agent to sell my home for £190,000, but they did virtually nothing to find a buyer, and in the end I agreed to sell it to a cousin at that price. My cousin and I both think this means we don’t have to pay the estate agent, but the agent is insisting that I still have to pay their fees of 2.5%. Surely that can’t be right – I sold the flat, not them!


Including VAT, the fees would amount to £5,600, giving the estate agent a big incentive to try to get the fees. Whether the agent has a right to the fees depends on the type of contract you have with them. If the contract gives the agent “sole selling rights”, then you made the agent the only person allowed to sell the flat, irrespective of who it is sold to. In this case, you have to pay the agent’s fees. However, if the contract stipulates only that they are “sole agent”, then you as homeowner would be allowed to sell without paying fees, so long as you didn’t do it through another estate agent (which presumably you didn’t with your cousin). You need to look at the small print of the contract – and assert your rights to the estate agent. If you have any problems, then consult a lawyer


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