Checkout fees / boiler repair

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    Checkout fees / boiler repair

    Hello,

    My apologies if this question has been asked before - I looked to see if there was anything in the FAQ but it's not available at the moment.

    I have two questions.

    (a) My partner and I moved to a new flat this month. The property management company for our old flat, who took over shortly before serving us notice (the landlord decided to sell the place), have just informed us that they will deduct a £70 check-out fee from our deposit (presumably to pay the chap they sent to do the inventory).

    I'm fairly certain (and will check this evening) that there was nothing in our tenancy agreement about check-out fees. That tenancy agreement was with another company, but as above, the management of the property changed hands about two weeks before we were served notice. We did not get a new tenancy agreement or contract of any kind when this happened - just a letter introducing themselves and requesting rent.

    I know plenty of companies do charge a check-out fee. However - is that their unquestionable right? Can they enforce it without something already agreed in writing?

    (b) Before I moved in, back in Jan 2009, the boiler needed repairing - my partner was without hot water for a month. Eventually he gave up hassling the old managment company and just paid to have it fixed himself. He says he withheld a month's rent to cover this cost, which seemed to be okay. However he also says the company(or landlord?) agreed to pay him some compensation for the month it was broken, but never paid it. Now he wants it, but of course that company is now out of the equation. Has he got any chance of getting the agreed compensation? He has nothing in writing on it.

    #2
    On the question of inventories, no, there is no automatic right to charge the tenant for this if this is not spelled out in the tenancy agreement or by verbal agreement.
    However, if an inventory check-in was carried out before/as you moved in, it would have been wise to have asked what will happen when you vacate and who pays (both procedures).

    On the boiler question, your partner should have got the agreement to have the boiler repairs paid in writing, but as long as the boiler is a landlord supplied item (almost always is), you should not have to pay for any repairs.
    but I would also want to know if the LL/agency agreed formally for your partner to withhold a month's rent and agreement to pay compensation too.

    If your partner obtained a receipt/invoice that details the cause of the boiler malfunctioning (and which was not due to someone tampering with it, etc), you should have no problem making a claim for the costs.

    Small claims court should suffice if the LL/agent will not play ball.

    Comment


      #3
      On the question of inventories, no, there is no automatic right to charge the tenant for this if this is not spelled out in the tenancy agreement or by verbal agreement.
      However, if an inventory check-in was carried out before/as you moved in, it would have been wise to have asked what will happen when you vacate and who pays (both ways).


      There would have been an inventory check 6 years ago, with the original tenants, I guess - my partner's friend, and the friend's pal.. but they've never been back to check up at all, in six years. When I moved in, they simply took my details, did a credit check and gave us a fresh tenancy agreement.


      On the boiler question, your partner should have got the agreement to have the boiler repairs paid in writing, but as long as the boiler is a landlord supplied item (almost always is), you should not have to pay for any repairs.

      If your partner obtained a receipt/invoice that details the cause of the boiler malfunctioning (and which was not due to someone tampering with it, etc), you should have no problem making a claim for the costs.

      Small claims court should suffice if the LL/agent will not play ball.


      I'll find out if he has any documentation! If he doesn't, would he just have to chalk it up to experience?

      Thanks for your help!

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by synesthesiac View Post
        There would have been an inventory check 6 years ago, with the original tenants, I guess - my partner's friend, and the friend's pal.. but they've never been back to check up at all, in six years. When I moved in, they simply took my details, did a credit check and gave us a fresh tenancy agreement.
        The agency or LL should have arranged for a check-out for when the old tenants "vacated" and the LL should have assessed any damages/deductions, etc., at that point and addressed these with the old tenants separately, if there were any.

        Then, a new check-in should have been carried out for the new group of tenants.

        When done properly, a check-out (and check-in) report (usually with photographs) is produced by the inventory clerk and a copy is given to both the LL and outgoing tenants.
        Any deductions made by the LL are entirely down to his or her wishes.

        Now that tenants and property conditions have been co-mingled, it is hard to prove what damaged occurred when.


        Originally posted by synesthesiac View Post
        I'll find out if he has any documentation! If he doesn't, would he just have to chalk it up to experience?
        Your partner can always chase up the LL/agency to remind them of their promise, but if they don't pay up, it will be hard to prove they agreed to compensation.
        Also, if the month's rent your partner withheld covered the cost of the repairs and some extra to compensate for putting up with no heat and/or no hot water, I would think you are about even, but I don't know the details so only your partner can know the answer to this.

        In this age of easy email, getting things in writing is not hard anymore (no having to ask a secretary to type out a letter on a clippity-cloppity typewriter), so try to get all agreements written down, somehow.

        Comment


          #5
          co-mingled? clippity-cloppity typewriters?

          Love it.

          Let's hear it for the inventive use of language!
          '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

          Comment


            #6
            The agency or LL should have arranged for a check-out for when the old tenants "vacated" and the LL should have assessed any damages/deductions, etc., at that point and addressed these with the old tenants separately, if there were any.

            Then, a new check-in should have been carried out for the new group of tenants.

            When done properly, a check-out (and check-in) report (usually with photographs) is produced by the inventory clerk and a copy is given to both the LL and outgoing tenants.
            Any deductions made by the LL are entirely down to his or her wishes.

            Now that tenants and property conditions have been co-mingled, it is hard to prove what damaged occurred when.


            Yes - it was a bit strange, in retrospect, that they didn't bother doing any checking up. It was a new property so you'd think they'd have been keen to ensure it was kept in tip-top condition! As it happens, we and the previous tenants did treat the place like gold, and they are not making any dilapidation deductions from the deposit. But the company have been very difficult and somewhat deceptive in their dealings with us regarding the notice, and at this point the checkout fee just feels like a spurious way of them withholding some money!

            On the other point, well, it's really my partner's call. I wasn't there at the time so I'm just enquiring on his behalf really! If he doesn't have any documentation at all it might just be an unnecessary headache, and as you say, he did recoup some of the cost from the withheld rent.

            Comment


              #7
              I would make sure you get a copy of the check out report, just to ensure that the agent has actually carried one out.

              Comment


                #8
                My partner was present when it was done (the agents are based outside London so they had a chap from a different company do it on their behalf), so he knows what was said, and we do know it took place... but if the agent wanted us to pay for it, we feel they should have advised us in advance, in writing, that it was a necessary cost - ideally it should have been part of our signed tenancy agreement. If we'd known we'd be paying for it, we'd have budgeted accordingly - money is tight for us and we can't just afford to surrender cash as and when a less-than-helpful agent tells us that a charge applies. We feel like they're trying to just extract what last bits of cash they can from us now that we're no longer their tenants.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by TenantsLuvMe View Post
                  Then, a new check-in should have been carried out for the new group of tenants.
                  Although - just to clarify - with this flat it was never a case of one pair of tenants moving out, being replaced by another pair... tenant 1 and 2 moved in first, tenant 1 left, my partner moved in with tenant 2... tenant 2 left, and I moved in - it was always a "there's a spare room, want it?" situation between friends. So there was never a vacation of the whole flat.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    There seems to be confusion over the actual tenancy agreement. If I am reading this correctly, the original tenancy was a joint tenancy between the landlord and 2 people (T1 & T2) who no longer live at the property.

                    I am reasonably sure that (unless this tenancy was legally assigned to your BF or a new tenancy agreement has been signed) that the agency can not make such deductions from the deposit - because BF hasn't signed any agreement to that - BUT - the deposit should be returned to the legal tenants - ie T1 & T2.

                    IF you or BF paid a deposit to T1 or T2, then you need to recover it from them.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Hi Snorkerz,

                      No, everytime someone new moved in, the agents were notified (for clarity, the previous agents, who handled the property from 6 years ago until March this year), and a new tenancy agreement was issued and signed. The most recent copy was signed by myself and my partner in July 2009. So we are due the deposit.

                      However there was never any mention in the agreement of check out fees, which is where the issue lies for us.

                      Moreover, when the new agents took over in March, they did not give us a new tenancy agreement or indeed anything else to sign - the only written documents we have from them are a letter announcing they were the new managing agents (& requesting rent going forward), a letter giving us notice (and this came after we confronted them to ask what was going on, having been surprised with a call from the sale agents asking to come and measure up - our own agents then denied all knowledge!), and then a letter accepting our subsequent notice of the date we were leaving and asking us to ring them and arrange a time for checkout.

                      Comment

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