Q&As

Agents were contracted to manage a three bedroom residential property for 10 years. In breach of contract they failed to carry out quarterly inspections for the past four years in which time the tenants unlawfully sublet the house so that there were seven or eight people living there. Significant property damage, including to doors, has been caused along with large amounts of debris being left. The only evidence is a check out report. If the managing agents are found to be negligent or in breach of contract how will damages be assessed? Is there case law in respect of similar cases?

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Produced in partnership with Helen Galley of XXIV Old Buildings
Published on LexisPSL on 21/12/2017

The following Property Q&A Produced in partnership with Helen Galley of XXIV Old Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Agents were contracted to manage a three bedroom residential property for 10 years. In breach of contract they failed to carry out quarterly inspections for the past four years in which time the tenants unlawfully sublet the house so that there were seven or eight people living there. Significant property damage, including to doors, has been caused along with large amounts of debris being left. The only evidence is a check out report. If the managing agents are found to be negligent or in breach of contract how will damages be assessed? Is there case law in respect of similar cases?

The managing agent in this case is the agent of the landlord even if the fees charged by the agent are recoverable from the tenants as part of the service charge in accordance with the terms of their leases. The question suggests that there is a written contract between land and agent. Consequently, the outcome in the situation described is subject to any express terms in any such contract. The agent will owe a duty of care in contract and in tort to act with the degree of skill and care to be expected of a reasonably competent managing agent. If, as suggested, it is expressly provided by the contract that the agent will carry out quarterly inspections of the property and the agent failed to do so then there will be a breach of contract and most probably a breach of the tortious duty of care. The question states that the tenants have unlawfully sublet the house and that the subtenants have caused significant damage. Had the landlord been aware of this before the tenants moved out, it would have been entitled to seek to forfeit the lease in favour of the tenants and, no doubt also bring a claim against the tenant for breach of the repairing covenant which will almost certainly be included in the lease.

It needs to be borne in

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