Is the following a potential ruse to circumvent the No Fees legislation

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    Is the following a potential ruse to circumvent the No Fees legislation

    I met someone whilst on holiday who was intending to come and study in London , he coming from the Slovak country with fair to middling English.

    We discussed accommodation whilst he was staying in London and he said he would be doing the rounds of agents as he was to be joined at the end of September by a couple of friends. I cautioned him to beware of being taken for a ride given his innocence of what can happen with agents.

    Today he wrote asking if the attached Terms of Business were correct? The Agreement is from a "Consultancy organisation" but was according to its web site linked to a Letting Agency which also had links to other agents!!! The agreement covered the investigation of suitable accommodation , either on a house or room to let basis throughout London and included the negotiation of the rental and acceptance. All of which would require a non returnable fee of £1150. Clearly I have cautioned him against rushing into such a formal arrangement and it set me wondering if other Forum members had come across any similar situations ostensibly designed to circumvent the NO Fees legislation by Tenants.

    #2
    The "consultancy organisation" would seem to be proposing to do "things" in "the course of a business" in "response to instructions received from...a tenant who is seeking to find housing to rent."

    Which makes them a letting agent and, therefore, subject to the Tenants Fees Act.
    So I think it's a prohibited payment.

    Your friend should report the organisation to Trading Standards (and certainly not agree to it).

    If you send me a Personal Message with the name of the organisation, I'll have a bit of dig around.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks JP will do PM

      Comment


        #4
        I've been told it probably breaks the Accommodation Agencies Act 1953.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          Looking at section 1 of the Act, I don't think there is much doubt. I was pretty sure this was illegal by old legislation yesterday, but all my Google searches were being swamped by results about the Tenant Fees Act.

          Comment


            #6
            By way of an update, the person who contacted me was guided by some excellent advice preferred by JPKeates who PM’d me and distanced himself from progressing the matter, unfortunately he now appears to have got “caught” by another such operation where one of the business owners has recently been penalised by the authorities for failing to return deposit monies in another Lettings operation located in London. The terms of the agreement are almost identical to those of the original operation and given that they are requiring the deposit monies and one months rent before “concluding negotiations” with the rental agency strikes me with fear that this is an unlawful operation. I have again advised him to NOT to do this and to make direct contact with the actual agents. So it does seem that such practices are common in certain parts of London.

            Comment

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            • Reply to Tenant vs licensee
              by doobrey
              Agree with the above.

              Ven, I would advise you to politely but firmly request immediate refund of the fee that you paid. If there is resistance, quote the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

              Assuming that the agency you have been dealing with is a letting agent, it is required by law to be...
              17-08-2022, 10:24 AM
            • Tenant vs licensee
              by Ven
              Hello,

              Long storry short, ive paid booking fee to one agency, and after finishing reference checks they send me agreement, where im being described as licensee and they as licensors.
              This wasnt mentioned anywhere in the spareroom advertisement.
              is it possible to cancel the booking...
              16-08-2022, 13:47 PM
            • Reply to Tenant vs licensee
              by jpkeates
              Not only are you right (and I am, therefore, wrong), but I've made the same mistake before.

              Apologies!
              And thanks for the correction....
              17-08-2022, 07:15 AM
            • Reply to Tenant vs licensee
              by DoricPixie
              The Tenant Fees Act 2019 does not just apply to Assured Shorthold Tenancies. It also applies to licences to occupy so providing we are talking about a property in England you should not have been charged for the reference check. The penalty for a first offense of breaching the Act can be as much as...
              17-08-2022, 06:45 AM
            • Reply to Tenant vs licensee
              by doobrey
              It is a strange setup if an agency is describing themselves as a licensor. Generally, an agent acts for a landlord (or perhaps licensor). Typically they do not let their own property. Some do, but in that case they are a business and seem very unlikely to be a resident landlord, in which case a lodger...
              17-08-2022, 06:00 AM
            • Reply to Tenant vs licensee
              by jpkeates
              I don't think they can object if you say no, it's not what you thought it was from the advert.
              I don't think they can do anything (other than maybe not rent to you in future - but I don't see why they would do that, I'd bet this has happened before).

              I'd ask for a draft tenancy agreement...
              16-08-2022, 16:51 PM
            • Reply to Tenant vs licensee
              by Ven
              How can I peacefuly decline to sign their offer?
              is there anything they can do to harm me?
              how can i stop this occuring in the future? Perhaps i would need to ask to see draft of tenancy agreement before paying holding deposit?...
              16-08-2022, 16:32 PM
            • Reply to Tenant vs licensee
              by jpkeates
              No, but I think you're overthinking it.

              If they have the right to enter your room at any time, it is trying to be a licence agreement, not an tenancy.
              But my guess is that they make their money letting rooms not taking fees for referencing or non-returnable deposits (although they'll...
              16-08-2022, 16:27 PM
            • Reply to Tenant vs licensee
              by Ven
              Thank you for this response.
              i agree with you. The contract they send me includes many different behaviour violation, which would result in termination of the contract, also they have the right to enter the property and the rooms at any time without any notice..
              all that just indicates to...
              16-08-2022, 16:20 PM
            • Reply to Tenant vs licensee
              by jpkeates
              Technically it doesn't matter what the agreement says it is, the reality is what determines if its a tenancy or a licence.
              But that won't help you if they lock you out in the rain one day because you've upset them somehow.

              They sound a bit dodgy to me, so I'd walk away.
              Whether...
              16-08-2022, 16:04 PM
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