estate agents fee to roll over to periodic after fixed term

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  • estate agents fee to roll over to periodic after fixed term

    Apologies if this has been posted here before, i'm new here.

    My partner and I have found a property we love and have had our application accepted by the letting agency. We have not signed the actual tenancy agreement yet, but have viewed a sample. We are due to sign on the day we get the keys.

    There is one thing i'm concerned about and would like some opinions. the initial fixed term is 6 months. After the fixed term, the contract states the tenancy will move on to a periodic basis. I'm aware that ALL fixed term tenancies lapse into periodic, by law, unless tenant gives notice to leave, or landlord serves notice. However, the letting agency wants to charge £57 'admin fee' for the priveledge of allowing the tenancy to go on to a periodic basis, which as i understand, would be our right by law anyways?

    I have heard of fees being charged to create a new fixed term, but I have never heard of a fee being levied for simply rolling over to a periodic, as all AST tenancies automatically do this.

    I have no doubt that this is an 'unfair charge', however, i'd like some opinions as to what to do about it? we both love the property and want to move in; I wouldn't want the issue of £57 to stop us. However, I don't like being charged for absolutely no reason. Is this illegal, or just unfair? Any suggestions?

    Obviously, i'll be querying it with the letting agents, but it would really help if i knew whether i had a leg to stand on

    Thanks very much to anyone who can help!

  • #2
    Just unfair!

    As a Landlord, I had this same situation with a letting agent, and their argument was that for their fee (they charged the landlord and the tenant?) they wrote some sort of document that gave the tenant peace of mind! Needless to say, I explained it was piffle and they agreed not to do the letter or charge for it. As it happens, I agreed not to even sign up with them!

    Your only option is to basically say you want that removing from the agreement because it serves no purpose. If they disagree, ask to talk to the Landlord directly - he may be willing to instruct the agents to drop it - especially if he's going to get hit for this money-making escapade too!

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    • #3
      ^^ I agree with Snorky, further, where there is one unfair term in a contract there might be others. Have a very close look at what they ask you to sign and argue anything you don't like.
      In addition, find out where your deposit is going to be held before you pass it over, if the agent is going to hold it in a 'client account' make sure they are at least members of ARLA or something.

      moneygrubbing gits
      I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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      • #4
        Well, I feel you are all being very unkind to this poor agent who is only trying to earn his crust. Anyone who has ever seen a letting agent at work will know that it generates absolutely mountains of extra work for them when a LL allows a tenancy to 'roll over'. Checking the relevant legislation, amending their records, perhaps a phone call to the LL. It's all to do! £57 sounds like a bargain to me. Plus, you cannot surely expect them to go uncompensated for the fact that they are not required to organise a whole new contract for you. How do you expect them to make a profit?

        Not.
        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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        • #5
          Thanks everyone for your advice. I spoke to the lettings manager today, I was very calm, but assertive and made sure I did my home work before I rang. To say it's quite a posh lettings agent, I was appalled by the replies I got. I never once lost my temper, just explained that though we want to maintain a good relationship, i feel within my rights as a consumer to query the charge.

          The woman told me she was also aware of the legislation, but we don't see all the admin fees incurred in office that they have to 'take the hit for' when rolling over from a fixed term to a periodic. I asked specifically what those fees were, and she said 'checking with the landlord its ok for you to stay and writing to you to confirm and updating our systems'. I pointed out to her that if the landlord didnt think it was 'ok for us to stay' he would have to serve notice and therefore there was no need to notify him, that there was no need to write me because i was aware of my rights, and no need to 'update the systems' because a tenancy rollover is automatic andno need for any further written agreements.

          The customer service i got was horrendous. iwas basically told to just clear off and if i dont like it, then find somewhere else to rent. It really pissed me off (sorry for language) because my partner and i have have good jobs, earn a good wage and have a spotless rental history. for all the money we pay out to them, i expect a basic standard of respect. Anyways, that's a rant for another day.. She refused to give me the landlords contact details so i could query it with him.

          We've decided to take the hit and pay it, as we've already given notice on our current home. I know it will probably get me nowhere, but I will make a complaint to head office and contact trading standards. If it's a waste of time, so be it, but maybe if enough people complain something can be done to regulate letting agents.

          I realise they are a business and need to earn a profit, but it's just taking the piss sometimes!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sheepie100 View Post
            The customer service i got was horrendous. iwas basically told to just clear off and if i dont like it, then find somewhere else to rent. It really pissed me off (sorry for language) because my partner and i have have good jobs, earn a good wage and have a spotless rental history. for all the money we pay out to them, i expect a basic standard of respect. Anyways, that's a rant for another day.. She refused to give me the landlords contact details so i could query it with him.
            You have a legal right to know your landlord's address. See
            http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/landlord's_address.htm

            While you are of course entitled to be treated with the courtesy appropriate to a business relationship, remember your contract is with the landlord, not the agent. You may pay your rent via the agent but in doing so you're not paying the agent a fee, the landlord is.

            I would also complain to the landlord about the agent's behaviour to you, as he may well be unaware that the agent is alienating his tenants. I'm a landlord and I would certainly want to know if an agent had spoken to my tenant like this, and refused to carry out their legal obligation to provide T with LL's address.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
              Well, I feel you are all being very unkind to this poor agent who is only trying to earn his crust. Anyone who has ever seen a letting agent at work will know that it generates absolutely mountains of extra work for them when a LL allows a tenancy to 'roll over'. Checking the relevant legislation, amending their records, perhaps a phone call to the LL. It's all to do! £57 sounds like a bargain to me. Plus, you cannot surely expect them to go uncompensated for the fact that they are not required to organise a whole new contract for you. How do you expect them to make a profit?

              Not.
              Newbie question: but don't agent get their renewals for this? (or do you mean in cases where there are no renewals)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by GJMSurrey View Post
                Newbie question: but don't agent get their renewals for this? (or do you mean in cases where there are no renewals)
                I'm not quite sure what you mean. Please could you re-phrase the question?
                'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                • #9
                  If the landlord does not require AST's to be renewed every six months in writing (or his agent has not persuaded him that this is necessary - so the agent can earn an extra crust) the agent has absolutely NO work to do at the expiry of an AST which becomes statutory periodic despite what he may claim.
                  I always instruct my agents that there will be no renewals and thus no renewal charges. As I self-manage and all rentals are paid directly to me there is no arguement and agent receives agreed one-off fee for finding a new tenant. I have in the past approached an agent who would not entertain landlords who received their own rent and self managed! Whether he is still in business or not, I have no idea. However the agents I use most certainly still are and providing their landlord clients with an excellent service.

                  P.P.
                  Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm glad someone has got a good word for them!

                    However, it is difficult to 'stuff up' on a 'tenant-find only' service. Most of the complaints posted about letting agents on this forum concern their failure to manage properties professionally when they are being paid to do so, the silly amounts they charge for clerical services and their insistence on 'perpetual renewal' fees. All of which you have very sensibly avoided by self-managing.
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                    • #11
                      Sheepie: as T, you have no contract with A (only with L) so delete all obligations on your part to pay any fees at all to A.
                      JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                      1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                      2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                      3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                      4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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