The starting point to getting paid promptly is to ensure that your Terms and Conditions are robust and enforceable. Too often, we see property professionals with a poor set of Terms of Conditions which they have cobbled together, having expensive and time-consuming disputes with their client’s overpayments. At least half of estate agents’ Terms and Conditions we have seen are legally unenforceable.
As a property professional when looking at your T’s & C’s, ask yourself 5 questions:
- Do the Terms expressly set out in writing when your fee is payable and any third-party costs?
- Is it crystal clear as to the events/services that trigger payment and the amount due?
- If not, could you imply a term that you must have been the “effective cause” of the sale to get your fee paid?
- Do they comply with the Consumer Protection Regulations (governing all agent dealings)?
- Are they otherwise void/unenforceable e.g. because of duress, undue influence?
Not only do we know what your terms of business need to cover, but we also know what terms to include in them so as to give you a competitive edge whilst still remaining within the law. For instance, including a term allowing for the suspension of the agency period when a sale is agreed, meaning that if that sale subsequently aborts (as 30% of all agreed sales do), the agency period can restart once again is very popular with our property professionals.
Strong Terms and Conditions are stage 1 of getting paid, stage 2 is about a robust debt recovery service:
Debt recovery starts with your internal processes and making sure that unpaid money matters in your business. Make sure it is discussed at management level weekly and steps are taken to escalate debt as quickly as possible in a process from a call to a robust letter and then legal action.
Debt recovery in the property sector is a real hot topic and we have a proud record of recovering long outstanding debts from difficult customers for our property professional clients. We aggressively pursue debts owed to your business and have a streamlined process in place to ensure you get money owed to you (with interest) with minimum time and expense.
We know the tricks that vendors, in particular, can play when disputing sales commission, such as instructing their solicitor not to make payment and complaints with service only surfacing once a sale is completed, in addition to threats to make a complaint to relevant redress schemes such as The Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme. We have been there, done that, and got the t-shirt, emerging time and again with a successful recovery of our client’s debt, mostly without the need for court proceedings.
We also offer a popular no-win-no-fee recovery service allowing you to instruct us to work on recovering your debt with no cost to you, eliminating worry and risk for you but at the same time incentivising us to recover sums owed to you quickly and effectively.