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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2156

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definite contract for sale or lease. Similarly where an owner of premises instructs an agent to place the property on his books and states the price he is willing to accept, his final right of acceptance or refusal is reserved.

Duty of House Agent.—Whether an agent has undertaken to make reasonable inquiries as to the suitability and solvency of a tenant is a question of fact.

The Usual Terms of Commission payable to Estate or House Agents are as follows, but inquiry as to the charges should be made in all cases before employing an agent:—

For the sale of freehold or leasehold property by private treaty.—5 % on the first £100, after which 2½% up to £5,000, and on the residue 1½%; and, in addition, the usual commission on the amount paid for fixtures, furniture and effects. Where a property is let and the tenant afterwards purchases it, the commission, if chargeable, will be that payable upon a sale, less the amount previously paid for letting.

For letting unfurnished houses or disposing of leases, other than ground leases, by assignment or otherwise.—Where the term is for three years or less, 5% on one year's rent; where for more than three years, 7½% on one year's rent; and, in either case, upon the premium or consideration, 5% up to £1,000, and 2½% on the residue; and, in addition, the usual commission on any sum obtained for furniture, fixtures or other effects.

For letting furnished houses in town or country.—When let for a year or less, 5% on the rental; when let for more than a year, 5% on the first year's rent, and 2|% for remainder of term.

For valuation or sale of furniture, fixtures and other effects.—5% up to £500, and 2½% on the residue.

For valuation of furniture and effects for probate or administration.—2½% on the first 100, and 1½% on the residue.

HUSBAND, Liability of, for Debts contracted by Wife

Marriage does not, in itself, give a wife authority to pledge her husband's credit. Whether she had such authority in any particular case is a question of fact; for a husband is only liable where it can be shown that the circumstances were such that the wife must be considered as having had his authority to act as his agent. Such authority may be either express, implied or ostensible.

Express Authority.—If it can be proved that such authority was, in fact, given, the husband will, of course, be liable, as in the case of any other principal who employs an agent, to the extent of the authority conferred.

Implied Authority.—Where the husband and wife are living together, the presumption is that the wife has authority to pledge her husband's credit for necessaries suitable to the position in which the parties live.[1] This presumption may, however, be rebutted by the actual circumstances, as, for instance, if it be shown that her husband, in fact, prohibited her from pledging his credit;[2] and it will be immaterial whether or not he gave notice of that fact to the tradesman, provided that he has done nothing to justify the tradesman in looking to him for payment. Likewise, even if the husband has not expressly prohibited his wife from pledging his credit, but has made her an allowance for the purpose of obtaining the necessaries, or if she is already sufficiently provided with them, the presumption of authority to act as his agent will be rebutted.

On the other hand, an express prohibition against pledging his credit will

  1. The burden of proving that the articles supplied were necessaries lies on the person seeking to make the husband liable.
  2. The wife herself will, however, be liable to the extent of her separate property, as to which, see p. 1976.