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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2155

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1945
LEGAL MEMORANDA

an agreement for hire with a mere option to become the purchaser upon making a certain number of payments on account of rent, any person who buys the goods from the hirer cannot acquire a good title to them.

HOUSE AGENTS

Circumstances under which a House Agent's Commission becomes payable.—When an estate, or house, agent has been employed upon commission to negotiate the sale or lease of any property, he is not entitled to any commission unless and until he has found a person who is actually ready and willing to enter into a binding agreement to purchase or rent the premises, as the case may be, and both the parties are really agreed as to the terms. If, however, the agent does introduce such a person, but the sale or lease is not effected in consequence of the owner's refusal or inability to conclude the transaction, the agent will be entitled to damages.

Where there is an express contract to pay a fixed commission "on completion of the purchase," or "in the event of success," or to pay the usual commission " out of the purchase-money obtained by the agent," the agent cannot recover either his commission or any sum on account of his services in finding a person who is willing to purchase, if the latter does not complete the transaction either through his inability to pay all the instalments, or from any other cause. Where the inability to complete the purchase is due to the fault of the seller, it is otherwise.

Where a person employs a house agent to sell or let a house of which he is in occupation, and nothing is said about giving up possession, there is an implied undertaking to do so within a reasonable time; and if the agent is prevented from earning his commission owing to the person who would otherwise have taken the premises declining to do so on account of his inability to obtain possession within a reasonable time, damages will be recoverable by the agent.

Payment of commission where services of more than one agent involved.—To entitle an agent to commission, the person who ultimately purchased or rented the premises must have done so in consequence of the agent's introduction. The mere fact that the agent gave the particulars and an order to the premises to the person who eventually became the purchaser or truant is not, in itself, sufficient. If, however, the relation of buyer and seller, or of lessor and lessee, was, in fact, brought about by the act of the agent, he is entitled to commission, although the actual sale or lease was completed through the instrumentality of some other person.

Whether the sale or lease was, or was not, brought about by an agent is a question of fact, and one which often involves considerable difficulty.

Payment of commission on exercise of option to purchase or to renew the lease.—Inasmuch as the right to commission does not arise out of the mere fact of having introduced a person who subsequently became the purchaser or tenant, it follows that where agents are instructed to find a purchaser, or failing a purchaser, a tenant, and they find a person who declines to buy but becomes a tenant, they cannot claim commission for the sale of the premises if such tenant, after being in occupation for some time, determines to re an agent finds a person who is willing to take the premises on lease with an option to purchase and the right is exercised, it is otherwise. And where there is in a lease an option to take on the premises at the expiration of the original term, commission may become payable on the exercise of such option; but the right to such commission will not arise if the tenancy is continued upon an agreement for a different rent and such agreement is obtained through another agent.

Limit of Estate or House Agent's Authority. Instructions to an estate to procure a purchaser or tenant and to negotiate a sale or lease do not amount to an authority to the agent to bind the owner by a