I have noticed several comments on this website concerning occasions when Northwood have withheld 6 months rent from landlords when they have requested to take their properties back. I too fell victim to this practice when Northwood withheld over £10,000 of rent after informing me they no longer wished to manage my portfolio then begin proceedings to evict all of my tenants.
When I challenged them they assured me that their contracts had been written with the advice and assistance of Trading Standards and that they had defended several court actions from landlords attempting to recover their rent. This is not the case. After taking legal proceedings against them they eventually backed down, resulting in full repayment of rent along with compensation and costs.
The practice of there being clauses hidden in management agreements that suggests that letting agents are able to withhold rent from landlords wishing to leave them (even in cases such as mine where it was the letting agent's decision) is totally unacceptable and should anyone find themselves in the same situation as I did either with Northwood or with any other letting agent I suggest they take legal action to recover their losses. Contracts stating that letting agents are entitled to six months rent should you leave them is covered under The Unfair Contracts Terms Acts 1999, therefore cannot be enforced and despite what Northwood have repeatedly claimed has never been and cannot be defended in court.