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The Mighty Douche

Ridiculous Letting Agent Charges

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Just found out that aside from having to fork out a fortune just to sign a sodding AST, they will automatically deduct £100 from my bond just to check the property when I vacate it.

2 questions;

1) When the hell did crap like this become normal? I've never heard of such a charge before.

2) Is it legal? How can they automatically deduct a fee from your Bond, that is supposedly kept in escrow?

It's robbery, plain and simple.

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Just found out that aside from having to fork out a fortune just to sign a sodding AST, they will automatically deduct £100 from my bond just to check the property when I vacate it.

2 questions;

1) When the hell did crap like this become normal? I've never heard of such a charge before.

2) Is it legal? How can they automatically deduct a fee from your Bond, that is supposedly kept in escrow?

It's robbery, plain and simple.

Letting Agents always try this sort of stuff on. Remember: everything is negotiable, including all these ridiculous fees, right up until the point where you sign the contract. Agents will always try and snow you with extra charges (£50 charges for credit checks that cost them £3 + 10 minutes of staff time is a particular favourite!)

Mind, if there's lots of demand for rental property in your area you may just have to suck it up: just mentally add it to the cost of your monthly rent and forget about it.

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Just found out that aside from having to fork out a fortune just to sign a sodding AST, they will automatically deduct £100 from my bond just to check the property when I vacate it.

2 questions;

1) When the hell did crap like this become normal? I've never heard of such a charge before.

2) Is it legal? How can they automatically deduct a fee from your Bond, that is supposedly kept in escrow?

It's robbery, plain and simple.

I have been renting in various places for a long time - STILL looking to buy by never seem able to - and this is standard down in England (the letting agents charge it, if you go through a solicitor as I did with my current place in Scotland, they did not charge). I have been quoted everything from £80 to £125 so your £100 seems standard. Is is legal, I believe so, is it moral - probably not, but when did that ever stop anyone!

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One of my recent experiences - waited outside for the agent to turn up half hour late. When he eventually turned up (his office when called claimed he was stuck in traffic) the current tenant had no idea we were coming. They had forgotten to book it, which made me wonder about the "stuck in traffic" excuse. As such the viewing (already late) was cancelled as the tenant refused access due to no appointment being made.

Anyway, being wary of "admin" fees, I asked and this conversation took place on the pavement outside:

me: Mate, do you charge an admin fee?

Oh its 75 + VAT each for referencing.

me: ok we can live with that

Oh and we charge 150 + VAT for the tenancy agreement

me: come off it you just photocopy the last one and change the name

No, we have a solicitor draw up a new one every time!

me: ok, guess we'll have to accept it

Oh and 50 + VAT "admin" fee

me: eh?

Oh and 60 + VAT checking out fee

At that point we left.

So, approx £500 in fees. And there was me thinking a tenant compensated the landlord for the use of the property with RENT. I think some of the agencies are pushing their fees up to compensate for the fact that they can't just pocket the deposit (bond) as easily as they used to.

Edited by captain_mandrake

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Anyway, being wary of "admin" fees, I asked and this conversation took place on the pavement outside:

me: Mate, do you charge an admin fee?

Oh its 75 + VAT each for referencing.

me: ok we can live with that

Oh and we charge 150 + VAT for the tenancy agreement

me: come off it you just photocopy the last one and change the name

No, we have a solicitor draw up a new one every time!

me: ok, guess we'll have to accept it

Oh and 50 + VAT "admin" fee

me: eh?

Oh and 60 + VAT checking out fee

At that point we left.

Don't worry. The conversation between the LL and the agent goes much the same way.

LL: How much do you charge for finding tenants?

EA: Out standard fee is £250 + VAT + a charge based upon the value of the tenancy.

LL: How much is that?

EA: 10% of the monthly rent for 9 months + VAT.

LL: What happens after 9 months?

EA: There is no additional charge until the end of 12 months?

LL: What happens then?

EA: There is another charge of 10% of the monthly rent + VAT for the next 9 months. If you want us to manage the property, then it 17.5% of monthly rent + VAT for each and every month.

LL: What if the tenants want an 18 month AST?

EA: Our charges are based on a 12 month tenancy. For 18 months - we would charge 10% for the first 13 months, with 5% in the 14th month - if you wanted the letting only service. The management cost is fixed at 17.5% of all rent received.

LL: So what do I get for this charge?

EA: We'll advertise for tenants, and show them the property.

LL: What about tenancy agreements, credit checks, etc.?

EA: We do make additional charges, if you don't use our tenancy agreement. There is also a £50 + VAT charge for credit checking each tenant?

LL: Hang on. Don't you charge the tenants for the credit check?

EA: Credit checks are expensive. We split the cost between tenant and LL.

LL: What about the mandatory EPC? Is that included?

EA: No. The LL has to provide us with the EPC before we can market it. If you don't have one, we can arrange one for £100 + VAT.

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Don't worry. The conversation between the LL and the agent goes much the same way.

EA: We do make additional charges, if you don't use our tenancy agreement. There is also a £50 + VAT charge for credit checking each tenant?

LL: Hang on. Don't you charge the tenants for the credit check?

EA: Credit checks are expensive. We split the cost between tenant and LL.

absolute rubbish. think more £10-20 per search. thieving bastards.

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One of my recent experiences - waited outside for the agent to turn up half hour late. When he eventually turned up (his office when called claimed he was stuck in traffic) the current tenant had no idea we were coming. They had forgotten to book it, which made me wonder about the "stuck in traffic" excuse. As such the viewing (already late) was cancelled as the tenant refused access due to no appointment being made.

Anyway, being wary of "admin" fees, I asked and this conversation took place on the pavement outside:

me: Mate, do you charge an admin fee?

Oh its 75 + VAT each for referencing.

me: ok we can live with that

Oh and we charge 150 + VAT for the tenancy agreement

me: come off it you just photocopy the last one and change the name

No, we have a solicitor draw up a new one every time!

me: ok, guess we'll have to accept it

Oh and 50 + VAT "admin" fee

me: eh?

Oh and 60 + VAT checking out fee

At that point we left.

So, approx £500 in fees. And there was me thinking a tenant compensated the landlord for the use of the property with RENT. I think some of the agencies are pushing their fees up to compensate for the fact that they can't just pocket the deposit (bond) as easily as they used to.

Just been reading through the AST and I'm sure I'm about to read a clause that states they will charge me every time I fart in the flat.

How the hell have we allowed this to happen?

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Any conversation with letting agents is normally with me gritting my teeth while my girlfriend gives me her "you promised to be nice, we need somewhere to live" look.

What seems to be standard around here (Plymouth) is the £75 + VAT and then various other fees depending on agency. You can then add on various other fees depending on the agency. Moving out fee seems to be a popular one. Next it will be you have to chip in for their office Christmas party.

Knowing that they charge on the landlord side it has taken me a while to accept even the reference fee. I've had several conversations with letting agents trying to get them to justify what they charge. Futile I know, but I like to see them squirm. The best one I had was an agent who said the fees are justified because everyone else charges it. That's OK then!!

PS I love the way everything is "plus VAT". I'm a private tenant, does it look like I'm about to give you a VAT number??

Edited by captain_mandrake

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How the hell have we allowed this to happen?

A good question. That it has happened in a country where more people are up in arms about Gamu's X Factor exit than about swingeing public expenditure cuts gives you your answer.

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Just been reading through the AST and I'm sure I'm about to read a clause that states they will charge me every time I fart in the flat.

:lol:

Its not surprising they charge extortionate fees when you see the letting agent's pool cars are £10,000+ (imho) MINI Coopers and Fiat 500s...when in fact a base model 4 door Fiat Panda would suffice. Probably goes towards feng shui in the letting agent's office, <_<

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Letting Agents always try this sort of stuff on. Remember: everything is negotiable, including all these ridiculous fees, right up until the point where you sign the contract. Agents will always try and snow you with extra charges (£50 charges for credit checks that cost them £3 + 10 minutes of staff time is a particular favourite!)

Mind, if there's lots of demand for rental property in your area you may just have to suck it up: just mentally add it to the cost of your monthly rent and forget about it.

+1

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My worst experience was moving to London to rent a place at the end of 2006 - pretty much the height of the craziness. It was a small one-bed flat in East London. Fees were:

"Admin" fee: £165 + vat (one week's rent plus vat apparently)

"Contract" fee: £117.50 + vat (that's not a typo - it wasn't £100 + vat!)

"Reference" fee: £60 + vat

So that came to £402 to move in. Then there was:

Tenancy extension after 12 months: £100 + vat

Moving out fee (inventory check): £80 + vat

So in total the f*kers got over £600 in fees.

The EA for the place I moved into charged no fees at all. They even apologised when they told me that my bank would charge me £10 for them to do a bank credit check!

In this market I would negotiate down to zero fees for a rental. If they won't budge just tell them you're not bothered and start to walk out the door - it's worth more to them to get it rented out.

Edited by gmang

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In this market I would negotiate down to zero fees for a rental. If they won't budge just tell them you're not bothered and start to walk out the door - it's worth more to them to get it rented out.

Good point. If I was a landlord with a vacant property and I had found out that a potential tenant that had walked away from my property on account of the high fees the letting agent were charging him or her, then I would be livid! :angry:

These tenancy fees don't seem to be in the landlord's (ie: the client's) best interests.

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It is getting ridiculous.

LA's of the property we just vacated tried to keep £169 of our bond for a 'full clean' despite the fact the place was spotless. We've disputed it and looking to take them to small claims court... its a bit scary and probably not worth it but its the principal hopefully it will make them think twice.

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Fleabag, I've found the small claims court to be genuinely interested in sorting out these claims and very sympathetic to tenants. Although it was terrifying the first time, some others have not even some to court as the LL caves in before the day. Make sure that you send registered letters to the LL (as that is where your contract is) and then after fair warning start the proceedings. Keep inventory, photos etc as evidence. Put everything in writing. Good luck!

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Just found out that aside from having to fork out a fortune just to sign a sodding AST, they will automatically deduct £100 from my bond just to check the property when I vacate it.

If the deposit is held in a government scheme you can request to go to arbitration (dispute resolution). If you have to sign agreement to such a clause you could try signing it and adding a note (under duress). Your argument is that it is an unfair contract term - why should you pay for a service they are performing for the landlord. Perhaps get your reference from them first.

Just a thought.

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You've all clearly never taken it all the way. Once you do finally agree to the fees there's another 2.5% (or more) credit card admin fee - and vat on top of that!

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my letting agent want £75 admin fee for extending our contract for another six months.

they have sent me a nice little form to fill out.

if i forget to return this will i automatically go on to a periodic contract?

havent rented for quite some years, i did not have to pay any fees to rent before. no credit check fee(£80 pounds each, one for me one for my wife!) and a £75 admin fee a\t the start of the contract, which was only 4 months ago. plus one months rent deposit. since then i have had 2 inspections.

I hate the sight of the LA woman already.

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Just about to rent a new place from Hamptons, prior to moving in they've issued me with an invoice for the deposit, first months rent, and the following additional charges:

Tenant Reference Fee x 2 106.00

Tenant Agreement Fee 188.00

Tenant - Check out - 3 Bedrooms 146.88

So that's approx £430 in fees, but not much I can do as the rental market round here is insane. Apparently the Tenant Agreement fee is split between the LL and the tenant (£188 each), and the LL pays a check in fee equivalent to the check out fee, so in total the LA gets £750 before I've even moved in, it's daylight robbery as far as I'm concerned.

I particulalry resent paying a check out fee, especially having to fork out for a check out fee at the start of a 2 years lease, I considered refusing to pay until I was actually moving out but I dread to think how much the fee will be by then.

I noticed that the 'check in' and 'check out' are handled by some outfit called Inventories etc, so the LA can't even be bothered to do that. I shouldn't be surprised considering it was the exisiting tenants that showed us around the property when we viewed.

Anyway, whinge over, but I just resent being blatantly ripped off.

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Just about to rent a new place from Hamptons, prior to moving in they've issued me with an invoice for the deposit, first months rent, and the following additional charges:

Tenant Reference Fee x 2 106.00

Tenant Agreement Fee 188.00

Tenant - Check out - 3 Bedrooms 146.88

So that's approx £430 in fees, but not much I can do as the rental market round here is insane. Apparently the Tenant Agreement fee is split between the LL and the tenant (£188 each), and the LL pays a check in fee equivalent to the check out fee, so in total the LA gets £750 before I've even moved in, it's daylight robbery as far as I'm concerned.

I particulalry resent paying a check out fee, especially having to fork out for a check out fee at the start of a 2 years lease, I considered refusing to pay until I was actually moving out but I dread to think how much the fee will be by then.

I noticed that the 'check in' and 'check out' are handled by some outfit called Inventories etc, so the LA can't even be bothered to do that. I shouldn't be surprised considering it was the exisiting tenants that showed us around the property when we viewed.

I don't think it's a case of "can't be bothered" but more a case of making the fee transparent.

by "subcontracting" it out they can answer any compliants about the level of the fee by saying that: it's nothing to do with them.

tim

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I don't think it's a case of "can't be bothered" but more a case of making the fee transparent.

by "subcontracting" it out they can answer any compliants about the level of the fee by saying that: it's nothing to do with them.

tim

Maybe, but I still resent paying the charges, and when they did they become so much of a formality that there's a business to be had offering these services? I've been renting various houses since the early 90's and from what I can tell it's only recently that these charges have become so punitive. Who does the check in and check out fee actually benefit? Neither the LL nor the tenant as far as I can tell, it's just a makey up EA tax to extract more money for the parasites. I find it annoying.

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Just found out that aside from having to fork out a fortune just to sign a sodding AST, they will automatically deduct £100 from my bond just to check the property when I vacate it.

2 questions;

1) When the hell did crap like this become normal? I've never heard of such a charge before.

2) Is it legal? How can they automatically deduct a fee from your Bond, that is supposedly kept in escrow?

It's robbery, plain and simple.

1) I have heard of it from time to time, but it is not normal.

2) No, it's not enforceable. Deductions from the tenancy deposit can only be made for damage to the property.

Just a thought - your use of the words 'escrow' and 'bond' make me think you might be American, or perhaps Australian? It's possible the lettings agents are trying it on with you because they think you might not know the legalities of renting in the UK.

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Ugh.

Best ones are the carpet cleaning fee or the curtain cleaning fee.

They try and charge around £100 to clean some tattered old carpet which is about 15 years old and nearly worn through and around £30 to 'clean' some curtains that cost around £5 which can be bathed in white wine vinegar and a bit of Vanish in the bath tub and look as good as new.

Remembering how these sharks work is making me angry! :angry:

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