An estate agent who introduced the buyer of an apartment to the vendor was still entitled to its agency commission despite his agency having been terminated more than a year earlier, the court ruled recently.
The agent had entered into a sole agency agreement which specified that a commission would be due if at any time contracts for sale were exchanged with a person introduced by the agent. Although there were more than 100 viewings, no buyer was found and the owner of the property terminated the arrangement,
More than a year later, a person who had viewed the property previously got in touch with the vendor via the apartment block porter and subsequently purchased the property. When the agent found out about the sale, it sued for its commission. The vendor argued that the gap in time between the person viewing the property and approaching the vendor (16 months) and the indirectness of the approach meant that no commission was due.
The Court of Appeal accepted the estate agent’s argument. There was a direct causal link between the agent’s activities and the introduction of the ultimate buyer.
This case illustrates the point that in sole agency cases, it is rare for a commission to not be payable if the ultimate buyer of a property is someone who has viewed it whilst the agency arrangement is in operation.