Check Out Charges

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    Check Out Charges

    The saga of our nightmare tenancy goes on.

    We are renting a 4 bedroom house under an AST. The owner has exercised the break clause so that she can sell the house in the tenancy agreement and we are moving in 3 weeks. The owner has found a buyer and the sale is progressing.

    When we took the tenancy the property was in poor decorative order and we spent £2,500 last year having most of it professionally decordated. It's in much better condition now than when we moved in.

    The owner's agents want to charge £176.25 (incl VAT) for the checkout. They are using an external agency to do the check out. We have suggested that, subject to the owner's agreement, they could do the checkout themselves and charge us rather less particularly given the condition of the property and that it has been sold. So far they are not only refusing to do this but they don't seem prepared to even ask the owner about it.

    Leaving aside the slightly unusual circumstances of the checkout, I can't find anyone on the web who charges so much for a checkout for this size of property. Moreover, the check in charge was £126.50. Whilst this was a year ago, it is significantly less than the check out charge. Again I can't find anyone who charges more for the check out than the check in.

    I can't find anything in the AST that deals with check out/ in charges. We did, however, sign a Notification of Costs attached to a Tenants Guide to Lettings that says we are liable for checkout costs.

    Some questions:

    1) Am I right in thinking that the charge seems high for the size of property and is strange for exceeding the check in costs.

    2) Is there a reasonable argument for them to use a cheaper check out service given our own expenditure on the property?

    3) Given that the tenancy agreement doesn't appear to make reference to the costs of check in and check out, can they deduct the cost of the check out from our deposit or so they have to separately bill us for this?

    4) If the checkout cost is deducted from the deposit, is it subject to the normal dispute rules and can it be challenged under them?

    Sorry for all the questions.

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