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Exorbitant Fees From Letting Agents For Tenants

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I've been trying to rent a place, and I feel very angry about the ridiculous fees some letting agents try to charge you. I think it's virtually criminal how out of line these charges are. If you agree with me, please sign this petition:

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/lettingfees/

I know these things are bound to be ignored by government, but maybe it would help get some momentum behind the issue.

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Hi there - I think that this is fantastic!!!

But I think you need to be more specific about the charges you are complaining about in the address.

I would sign your petition but I am worried it is not detailed enough.

Plus - I am a bit disconcerted that my name will be displayed.

And as the previous poster says - that you need to give details that could be sold on to other agencies - and there is nothing in your petition to provide a clause to protect people giving their details. That I am worried about online.

However, your petition in priciple is as I say FANTASTIC - and I agree totally with what you are saying.

It is a rip-off - and I have written to my MP so many times that I don't and never have received a reply.

One of my major concerns is that a LL can sell their property during the time of your tenancy agreement - and thereby quiet enjoyment goes out the window.

To me, that should be illegal - as you are expected to do all sorts of stuff to ensure the sale of the property - be tidy - not be there - or worse in my case - show the prospective owner around!!!!

As I've said - I've written countless times about this - but not got any acknowledgement from my local MP - so I really do applaud what you are doing here - and I think in the right place - and the right advertisement - you can achieve a great number of people - but you may have ensure security - and advertise on sites other than this - as the rental side of this site is visited by few.

Will monitor this site to see if you have more ideas ..... keep us posted.....

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One of my major concerns is that a LL can sell their property during the time of your tenancy agreement - and thereby quiet enjoyment goes out the window.

To me, that should be illegal - as you are expected to do all sorts of stuff to ensure the sale of the property - be tidy - not be there - or worse in my case - show the prospective owner around!!!!

The alternative is protected tenancies which limited supply of rental properties, the current laws strike a reasonable (if not abused) balance between LL and tenant rights.

Eviction for selling is only granted if the mortgage is in default and needs a court order under the 1988 housing act taken by the mortgage company and mostly always awarded. The LL can not sell a house underneath you during the fixed term of a tenancy just because he wants to unless it was stated from the outset that it was a possibility, he can go to court but the order is discretionary depending on circumstances. Once you enter a period tenancy the LL can issue a Section 21 notice (2 months notice) ay any time. Also the LL has to give the tenant first chance at making an offer on the house if they sell...

Edited by Matt Henson

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But I think you need to be more specific about the charges you are complaining about in the address.

There's a strict word limit on those petitions, which is probably why he wasn't.

I don't agree with Matt Henson that the AST system strikes a fair balance between the rights of LLs and tenants. He's right in that the 1965 Rent Act created the problem of sitting tenants; but many other countries, were renting is more widespread, have managed to evolve legal frameworks which have allowed long-term renters more security of tenure but have not driven away LLs and squeezed the supply of rental property.

The basic issue is that Thatcher wanted to create a society which encouraged as many people as possible to become OOs, and so in that context renting was something you'd only do for a short while at the start of your adult life. At that point flexibility was seen as more important than security of tenure, for both sides. The problem now is that thanks to the housing bubble created by NuLab, a whole generation of citizens have been priced out and are having to rent long-term. A legal framework in which it is impossible to inhabit a home without the possibility that you'll be thrown out at the end of a relatively short period is not acceptable, is not forced on anyone else (certainly not the benefit-subsistent!) and will drive taxpaying professionals out of the country if it is not addressed.

I think a fair compromise would be to extend the minimum term of an AST to five years, but extend the period of notice a tenant must give the LL if they want to leave before the term is up to, say, six months. If an LL does not wish to offer an extension of the five-year term, he must serve notice to the tenant at least three months before the end of the AST. If the tenant wants to stay, the LL refuses to renew his or her AST and the tenant has not breached any of the conditions of the AST, the LL is then barred from renting the property to anyone else for one year after the AST has expired.

Such a system would give the LL a 'window' to sell the property (or start living in it themselves) without any sitting tenant every five years, but at the same time would ensure that tenants can stay put for reasonable length of time and get first refusal on the AST renewal, provided they obey the rules. I would also beef up the law on evicting delinquent tenants: basically, if the tenant commits or allows any criminal act to be committed on the rented premises, or if a noise abatement notice is served in respect of activity on the rented premises, the landlord can evict them within seven days' notice of conviction - no ifs, buts or wherefores.

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These services should be free, or should only reflect their true cost.

So do you also believe that, to choose some examples at random, Mars Bars, shoes, cars and loans should also be free or reflect their true cost? Presumably you work for a business - do they give their goods/services for free? Or for that matter, do you charge your employers for your time at work on the basis of what it costs you in travelling costs and lunch money?

Do you not understand the concept of profit and commerce?

Do you also understand that letting agents need to generate a certain level of income to stay in business? If admin fees are banned/capped, then the letting agent will simply raise the fees they charge to landlords, who will then just add it onto the rent. Charges always get passed down to the end-user - you may not like it, but that is utterly elementary economics.

It might make you feel good to have a whine about this issue, but the harsh reality is that tenants will always have some or all of the costs passed onto them.

Edited by agent46

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I think in this case that the free market cannot work properly. Agents have a cartel on charges. The only way to avoid them is by going to a private landlord, severely limiting your options. You cannot choose a different agent for the letting you want. The agents do not advertise these fees up front and only tell you at the last moment. They are clearly disproportionate to the real cost of the service - hundreds for a credit check, for instance. I'd have no real problems with cost+5-10%.

See all the fuss over disproportionate charges by banks. Here the tenant is not breaking any rules - the costs are crazy.

In regard to the other comments, I cannot change the text of the petition now. I think I haven't said anything which could be misinterpreted and the text is pretty clear. Leaving names in public is annoying, I agree, but unless your name is unusual, it would be hard to match it to the real you.

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I don't agree with Matt Henson that the AST system strikes a fair balance between the rights of LLs and tenants. He's right in that the 1965 Rent Act created the problem of sitting tenants; but many other countries, were renting is more widespread, have managed to evolve legal frameworks which have allowed long-term renters more security of tenure but have not driven away LLs and squeezed the supply of rental property.

It is worth pointing out that other types of tenancy exist other than a shorthold or assured tenancies. You can if you intend to stay in a property long term take a non regulated tenancy exactly as you describe

Secondly the AST protects the tenant from hidden costs etc. in many places in Europe such protection is no afforded (in France you can be lucky to rent a place with a kitchen)

Finally whilst many are priced out of the market and have to rent, private rental mainly cater for the young and the mobile where long term is not nesecarily a consideration. If look at the protection a tenant get in an AST and the fact that most rentals are fairly painless, the current laws are a reasonable balance.

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I think in this case that the free market cannot work properly. Agents have a cartel on charges. The only way to avoid them is by going to a private landlord, severely limiting your options.

No they don't have a cartel on charges. If you don't want to pay the charges, then negotiate with the agent, and if they won't agree to waive or reduce them, then there are other plenty of flats on the market through other agents. If they haven't informed you of the charges before you sign either the holding deposit agreement or the tenancy, then those charges are unenforceable- simple as that.

The bank charges matter which is presently being argued in the High Court is founded on entirely different legal principles and you shouldn't make the mistake of confusing the two issues.

Edited by agent46

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No they don't have a cartel on charges. If you don't want to pay the charges, then negotiate with the agent, and if they won't agree to waive or reduce them, then there are other plenty of flats on the market through other agents. If they haven't informed you of the charges before you sign either the holding deposit agreement or the tenancy, then those charges are unenforceable- simple as that.

It's affectively high charges across the board for the different agencies. The agencies work for the landlord - there is no cost competition on these charges as they don't affect the customer - the landlord. If you manage to negotiate the fee down, there's nothing to stop the agent putting it back up again the next time the contract is renewed. The only option is to move out.

The bank charges matter which is presently being argued in the High Court is founded on entirely different legal principles and you shouldn't make the mistake of confusing the two issues.

I'm aware the law isn't the same here as it's not breach of contract. However, the charges are definitely unfair, especially when you can get charged for ending the contract. See an interesting article here http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2005/may/0...rvercashsection

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I'm aware the law isn't the same here as it's not breach of contract. However, the charges are definitely unfair, especially when you can get charged for ending the contract. See an interesting article here http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2005/may/0...rvercashsection

As I have already explained, for example hitting a tenant with a fee at the end of the tenancy does not concern an issue as to the fairness of the term itself, but instead turns on whether the term was ever agreed betwen the parties. In a nutshell, if the fee wasn't agreed in advance, then it doesn't form part of the contract and the person from whom the fee is sought should tell the person seeking the fee to, as they say, "Do one".

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It is worth pointing out that other types of tenancy exist other than a shorthold or assured tenancies. You can if you intend to stay in a property long term take a non regulated tenancy exactly as you describe.

I think your chances of finding a LL who would agree to sign such a tenancy agreement nowadays are about as high as those of finding a hot dog stall in a synagogue. With no legal compulsion to allow the tenant more security, of course the LL is going to insist on the flexibility of an AST.

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One of my major concerns is that a LL can sell their property during the time of your tenancy agreement - and thereby quiet enjoyment goes out the window.

To me, that should be illegal - as you are expected to do all sorts of stuff to ensure the sale of the property - be tidy - not be there - or worse in my case - show the prospective owner around!!!!

You are under no compulsion to do any of these things; you are already protected by law. That 'quiet enjoyment' you mention protects you very nicely.

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