Agents charging £370 for new tenant on contract

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    Agents charging £370 for new tenant on contract

    Hi, Can anyone give any advice about whether our agents are trying to stiff us. We live in a 4-bed shared house, with the contract in all of our names. One of us is moving out, and another friend is moving in.

    We enquired about getting the names on the contract changed, and they want to charge us about £370 for background checks, printing a new contract and god knows what else... Surely this is extortionate?!! What are normal charges for this type of thing? Can we legally sub-let it to our friend?

    At the moment, we're just not going to tell them. We'll keep the contract as it is, keep paying the rent and not tell them there's been a change of people. Is this illegal?

    If anyone has any advice that'd be great. Cheers!

    #2
    The fee is extortionate.

    What does your agreement say about assigning/transferring the tenancy?

    Comment


      #3
      Tell the OFT about these fees. The fees agents are charging tenants is getting out of hand. Some landlords I've spoken to had no idea that agents across the UK are charging credit reference fees, agreement fees, check in fees, check out fees, key fees, tenant reference at conclusion fees etc. It's gone from about £50 to £100s and if enough people complain to the OFT they will do something.

      I have it on very good authority that the OFT are the ones to complain to.

      http://www.oft.gov.uk/contactus

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        #4
        My lettings agent charges the tenant £130. So £300+ sounds exceptionaly high to me.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Tenant12 View Post
          Tell the OFT about these fees. The fees agents are charging tenants is getting out of hand. Some landlords I've spoken to had no idea that agents across the UK are charging credit reference fees, agreement fees, check in fees, check out fees, key fees, tenant reference at conclusion fees etc. It's gone from about £50 to £100s and if enough people complain to the OFT they will do something.

          I have it on very good authority that the OFT are the ones to complain to.

          http://www.oft.gov.uk/contactus
          I agree. As there's no contract between T and L's Letting Agent, there's no obligation on T to pay anything at all.
          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).

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
            I agree. As there's no contract between T and L's Letting Agent, there's no obligation on T to pay anything at all.
            No. There usually is a contract between T and LA and if T has signed up in advance to these charges (which I agree are extortionate), I cannot see how they can refuse to pay them. Please see:
            http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...t=extortionate especially #8 onwards.

            In OP's case, it is in the Ts' interest to have the new T's name added and the old T's name removed. If Ts simply refuse to pay, LA will refuse to make those changes. I cannot see that they have much choice (unless Ts were not made aware in writing when originally engaging the LA to find them a property that this charge would be incurred were there to be a change of tenants during the tenancy).

            Has the OFT ever managed to prevent a letting agent charging a ridiculous fee for a simple task? If they couldn't nail Foxtons over the equally extortionate renewal fees issue, I struggle to see how they could make much difference with this. I hope they prove me wrong one day.
            '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


              #7
              If you don't tell the letting agent, and you don't have to, what will happen is that the departing tenant will remain jointly and severally liable for the rent - and any damage the remaining tenants do. The new occupant will have minimal obligations, but minimal rights - they will (in effect) be your lodger.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                If you don't tell the letting agent, and you don't have to, what will happen is that the departing tenant will remain jointly and severally liable for the rent - and any damage the remaining tenants do. The new occupant will have minimal obligations, but minimal rights - they will (in effect) be your lodger.
                I agree. It's raggy and unsatisfactory from everyone's point of view. And if subletting is specifically prohibited (which it usually is), they would presumably all be in breach of contract.
                '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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                  And if subletting is specifically prohibited (which it usually is)
                  I would argue that this wouldn't be subletting.

                  My understanding is that if all the tenants left, and granted a tenancy to someone else, THAT would be subletting. It would confer tenant rights upon the new person. A 'lodger' situation does not have the same issues.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                    I would argue that this wouldn't be subletting.

                    My understanding is that if all the tenants left, and granted a tenancy to someone else, THAT would be subletting. It would confer tenant rights upon the new person. A 'lodger' situation does not have the same issues.
                    True - except that wouldn't the original (departed) T still be liable for rent etc., as before? In which case, they are no further on, are they?
                    '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


                      #11
                      Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                      True - except that wouldn't the original (departed) T still be liable for rent etc., as before? In which case, they are no further on, are they?
                      I agree that original T will remain liable, but while at least one of the original Ts remain in residence then the "tenant (multiple people)" will be the new occupiers resident landlord, and therefore not a tenant themselves.

                      It would be a mess, just clarifying it for OP, but I don't believe they would be breaching any subletting clause. Of course, that doesn't mean the landlord will share my definition of subletting, and come the end of the fixed term, it might still be "hello s21, bye bye tenants".

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