Lease Renewal Commission for Agent after 2 years?!?

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Bain
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Lease Renewal Commission for Agent after 2 years?!?

Post by Bain » Thu, 16 Jan 2014 5:49 pm

Hi,
I just wanted an insight from someone who might have experienced similar situation.
In 2012, I've decided to renew my contract for the current property that I am living in, the landlady and myself have agreed to deal directly and told the agent our intention. The landlady told me to deal with her from then on regarding the renewal contract etc. Everything went smoothly, so I renewed my contract until 2013, after which I then decided to extend 2 more years until 2015. All between my landlady and myself.

Just a few days ago, out of the blue, the agent that was engaged in the very first TA agreement msg and asking if I was still living in the same property, and demanded that I pay for her commission for the renewal I made.

Now, to be fair and square, she had never contacted me after when we told her in 2012 that we no longer require her service, and during the 2012-2014 (up until today), I have been dealing with all the paper work myself, (stamp duty, minor repair). What right does she have demanding me to pay her commission for negotiation she never did, nor providing any services?

She claimed that I have signed a contract with her, in which I do not seem to recall that I needed to pay her commission for renewal, and even so, she could have addressed this issue during the time that my landlady and myself told her directly that we no longer require her service.

Anyone had similar experience or any thoughts on this?
Please advise.

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Post by Steve1960 » Thu, 16 Jan 2014 5:59 pm

You do need to read the original contract and see what it says. My contract is due for renewal in April and I do have a written agreement with the agent that she will receive commission from the renewal.

Having said that, in my case I am very happy to pay it as the agent has provided an excellent service during the past 21 months and has helped us on many occasions. She is more of a friend than agent these days.

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Post by movingtospore » Sat, 18 Jan 2014 11:09 am

speak with your landlord too it may have been one of the joint deals where the landlord (supposedly) also owes her money.

The whole system is an institutionalized scam but it is what it is. The same could be said of real estate agents worlwide...just different flavours.

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Post by zzm9980 » Sat, 18 Jan 2014 11:18 am

What the above people said. If you signed a contract with your agent when they first found you the property that you agree to pay the renewal fee, you may be stuck on it.

That said, see if the contract also requires them to perform any services that you've been doing yourself.

Most likely if you didn't review the contract you signed then it is likely slanted in their favor and you're screwed. I'd still refuse to pay until they provided a genuine contract stating this that you signed, and even then try to settle by offering them 1/3rd-1/2 given their lack of assistance just to go away.

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Re: Lease Renewal Commission for Agent after 2 years?!?

Post by JR8 » Sat, 18 Jan 2014 12:27 pm

There was a pivotal case on just this matter, in the UK, in recent years.

Much of Singapore tenancy law is of course based upon UK law.

http://www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/consumer- ... tn_lkBPtok

Does your contract with the agent state that you're liable for commission, as long as you remain in the property?

Have you replied to the agent, and confirmed that you are still in occupation?

p.s. Google on "foxtons court case renewal fees" for lots more.

... and at a brief skim, this looks like it might be of interest too (this one from a landlords perspective) ... http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2013/0 ... -renewals/

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Post by Bain » Mon, 20 Jan 2014 3:58 pm

Hi thanks for all your suggestions & comments.

Actually I spoke to the landlord and she also does not understand why this agent is asking for the renewal commission.
I re-read the old TA and never once was it mentioned about the commission for renewal of contracts or let alone about the very first commission I had to pay at all.

I also discovered that the landlord was paying the agent a full month commission at the beginning, and so was I. Which is tricky of this agent, as as far as I know, it's either you pay the full commission to the agent if they're representing you, or half if they representing both you and the landlord, or non at all of they're representing the landlord. but never full from both sides... correct me if I am wrong though...

With this being said I think I have the right to question her as to why she has been charging me and the landlord a full commission price, and asking for the renewal commission solely from me? Perhaps I should just not pay them at all??

Since the last msg the agent sent to me, I have not responded, and neither have they bothered me, so I am going to leave it at that, and should they try to approach me again, I think I have the right to start questioning their motive on their dodgy service commission.

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Post by ecureilx » Mon, 20 Jan 2014 4:10 pm

I was in a similiar situation, a few years ago .. the agent kept the landlord from seeing us, saying she doesn't speak english etc etc.

When the lease was ending, landlord turned up and we found out happily she can speak english - atleast enough .. to understand we were good tenants ..

We agreed to renew lease and asked another agent, just to charge for the paperwork - the original agent found out, and demanded I pay the agent fee due .. since he was my appointed / exclusive agent (no, I am not that dense to sign such a document .. )

I reminded the agent that when I had a dispute paying for an air con repair, and when there was other issues, agent was always MIA, and I told him, since he has really earned his fee, let me pay him, after I seek advice from CEA ..

He just went MIA again.

Well, I didn't bother to report to CEA, since you need to really furnish a lot of information for CEA to act, and I didn't have patience nor the will to follow up .

For your case, report to CEA - as this kind of agents need to learn their lesson - especially since the agent is pushing you hard to make his/her missed freebie income

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Post by zzm9980 » Mon, 20 Jan 2014 4:21 pm

ok so let's step back:

Are you saying the *landlord*'s agent was asking for a commission on your renewal, or the original agent that helped you find the place?

It is illegal in Singapore for an agent to represent both the tenant and the landlord. This is one of the few 'protections' you as a tenant have. The landlord should have paid your agent. If you used an agent to help you find the place (can't be the same one!) then you should have also paid. If the T/A doesn't say anything, that's good. But also try to recall if you signed an agreement with your agent at the time they originally found you the place. It would have been seperate from the T/A.

If it really is the same agent trying to hit you both up, then contact the CEA immediately. This agent will be in big trouble:
http://www.cea.gov.sg/cea/content/index.html

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Post by Bain » Mon, 20 Jan 2014 5:19 pm

Hi,
Actually that's the thing, all along I thought they were my agent, because I paid them the first commission in full. But after reading some clauses in the old TA, turned out that they're actually the agent representing the landlord as well....
and the landlord had paid them full month commission.. same as me.

I don't seem to recall signing any other contract, otherwise I should have a copy of the separate contract with me, because strictly speaking they would have given a spare copy to me as well.

tricky agent!

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Post by JR8 » Mon, 20 Jan 2014 5:23 pm

Bain wrote:Actually I spoke to the landlord and she also does not understand why this agent is asking for the renewal commission.
I re-read the old TA and never once was it mentioned about the commission for renewal of contracts or let alone about the very first commission I had to pay at all.
The TA is an agreement between you and the landlord. It will not refer to any arrangement or commission vs your/the agent. The latter is an entirely parallel matter.

Did you have an agreement with this agent, for their services? If not it raises an interesting point that (potentially) you cannot be held liable for the cost of services that you have not instructed/contracted to receive.



I don't seem to recall signing any other contract, otherwise I should have a copy of the separate contract with me,

Ask them to provide you with a copy. A perfectly reasonable request.

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Post by zzm9980 » Mon, 20 Jan 2014 8:11 pm

If the agent took money from both you and the landlord they're in big trouble. Contact CEA. If you don't want to deal with that, just tell them you and the landlord spoke and you now know they took money from both of you and threaten to call CEA. He'll be gone very quickly.

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Post by Saint » Tue, 21 Jan 2014 11:52 am

The CEA Estate Agent Act only came into force in November 2010 which made it illegal for Agents to charge commission to both the Landlord and Tenant. Looking at the OP's timeline it maybe that the initial TA was prior to the Estate Agents Act coming into force. Only since the new Act has there been the implemetation of Legal Agreement documentation between the Agent and either the Landlord or Tenant where renewal commission needs to be agreed upfront.

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Post by AngMoG » Tue, 21 Jan 2014 4:21 pm

I think it is quite simple. If there is no written agreement that the agent is due the money on renewal, I would tell the agent to get lost, since he did not provide any services for which he could charge.

Even if there is a written agreement for said services, I would still not pay, since the agent did not provide any services, i.e. fulfil his portion of the agreement.

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Re: Lease Renewal Commission for Agent after 2 years?!?

Post by American » Sat, 19 Mar 2016 10:20 pm

Has there been any legal precedent in Singapore where a tenant refused to pay the renewal commission and won, because of the agents non performance of basic duties involving major defect repair follow up with the landlord and just generally being unresponsive to all contact from the tenant throughout the original TA?

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Re: Lease Renewal Commission for Agent after 2 years?!?

Post by maneo » Sun, 20 Mar 2016 12:58 am

If you signed a rental agency agreement with the agent that stipulates paying a commission on renewal, you may not have any legal ground to refuse.

However, in the UK Foxton's case mentioned by JR8 back in Jan 2014 the High Court ruled that the "estate agent is allowed to charge renewal commission, but only if it continues to actively manage the tenancy" (italics mine).
Failure to perform basic duties could be evidence of failure to actively manage the tenancy.

Maybe you should check with the CEA (Council for Estate Agencies) on whether this might apply in SG, too.

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