The reader does not explain the terms on which she initially contracted the agent or the extent of the agent’s involvement with the rental property and tenant.
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The reader should first review the contract she signed with the agent to determine whether she agreed to the fee being charged on the aforementioned basis.
The nature of the fee should also be established.
For example, the fee may merely be for the service of seeing to the renewal and drawing up the document.
If the reader is not contractually bound to use the agent’s services for the renewal of the lease, she could see to it herself or have her attorney handle it.
If the fee is charged for work beyond the mere preparation of the renewal document, our reader should consider the amount of work involved in the renewal of the contract.
An active agent who checks on the property from time to time, properly reviews the terms of the contract and advises on matters such as rental increases could be of great assistance to a landlord.
This is particularly true in an instance where the landlord is personally unable to carry out such investigations and enquiries, perhaps because he or she is living somewhere else.
If the agent is not of any assistance to the reader, one could understand how the fee charged for each simple renewal may become a source of irritation.
The reader could take up the matter with the agent’s principal to determine whether a more suitable arrangement could be agreed upon despite the contractual terms.
This could be advisable if only to ensure that the agent is carrying out the agreed duties so that he or she is “earning” the fee.
The alternative scenario to consider is that the reader is the tenant and that it is she who is paying the renewal fee each time.
In such an instance, the reader should examine the terms of the lease agreement because certain terms may relate to payments to the agent.
An initial contract fee for the preparation and conclusion of the lease is fairly standard and possibly even for the first renewal. However, depending on the terms of the renewal, further charges may not be contractually permitted.
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