Letting Agents

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    Letting Agents

    Hello All,

    My wife and I are expats and have rented our home out in the past through letting agency(s). Unfortunately we have not had much luck with the 3 sets of tenants recommended.

    Questions

    1) Despite being reassured Tennant has a guarantor we were spectacularly unsuccessful in obtaining guarantor details to pursue a claim. What obligation has the letting agent to the LL in passing on these details?
    2) Why do letting agents charge the landlord a ‘setup’ fee and why do such fees vary?
    3) Why do letting agents charge the LL a fee for arranging for the deposit to be held and why do these fees vary?
    4) As a LL am I entitled to see the credit report of a prospective tenant which has been obtained by a letting agent?
    5)We have found that a tenant can refuse to pay the last month’s rent and elect to have this rent offset against the deposit. Often this means there is no money left in the event of damages. How can we avoid this in the future?
    6) Where can we find a reputable letting agent in the Liverpool which offers an independent arbitration service in the event of a dispute

    #2
    1. This should be provided at start of tenancy. Check your agreement with Letting Agent as they may be breaking it. Presumably they lied to you about Guarantor.
    2. LA charge "Tenant Finder Fees" due to the visits, photos, advertising, calls, etc.. Then switch to management (say 10% of rent) after. Fee's vary, as they are set by the LA.
    3. LA charge "Deposit Fees" due to having to liaise with these agencies... We don't charge this fee though, a bit excessive.
    4. Your only entitled if LA has permission from T to provide you with the report. It should be in the "Tenancy Application" that permission to share info with Landlord.
    5. Tenant can not refuse to pay last months rent and ofset it against deposit, its a term in our standard tenancy agreement. I suggest you change it, otherwise their is no point in collecting a "deposit" to safeguard against damage.
    6. Id perhaps visit a landlord event in liverpool and ask other landlords.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by YesAdam View Post
      4. Your only entitled if LA has permission from T to provide you with the report. It should be in the "Tenancy Application" that permission to share info with Landlord.
      Landlord is entitled to see any and all documents related to the tenancy. Data protection act does not apply between landlord and his agent on matters related to the tenancy as agent acts in behalf of his principal.

      Originally posted by YesAdam View Post
      5. Tenant can not refuse to pay last months rent and ofset it against deposit, its a term in our standard tenancy agreement. I suggest you change it, otherwise their is no point in collecting a "deposit" to safeguard against damage.

      Tenant is liable for the rent, for any damage beyond wear and tear, and for any other obligation set forth in the tenancy agreement. The deposit is a security for the performance of these obligations.

      When tenancy ends and tenant vacates landlord can propose deductions to deposit, and/or sue to recover any amount owed.

      Thus, in my view such clauses are either useless or dangerous.
      Useless because, at best, the result is the same as without the clause.
      Dangerous because, depending on the wording, the clause can actually prevent the landlord from recovering owed rent from the deposit.

      Comment


        #4
        Item 5. That is understood. The problem is the tenant normaly refuses to pay the last months rent. Agreement from the LL is not required. :-). The deposit is to cover damages and outstanding rent. If there is any damage we then have to pursue through the courts. Seems a bit pointless asking for a deposit against damages when it can effectivly be used to pay the rent.

        Is there any way around this.

        Comment


          #5
          I don't think that tenants 'normally' refuse to pay the last month rent.

          Originally posted by zipit View Post
          Is there any way around this.
          Ask for more than one month rent as deposit, and hope that tenants do not adjust their non-payment of rent accordingly...

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
            I don't think that tenants 'normally' refuse to pay the last month rent.



            Ask for more than one month rent as deposit, and hope that tenants do not adjust their non-payment of rent accordingly...

            In the context of 'based on our experience' - I'm afraid they ‘normally’ do.

            Really nothing to stop them since it’s impractical/expensive pursuing them for damages where some of the deposit would have covered the cost.

            Your suggestion is appreciated athough for the reason you already imply as a possibility - we are not sure it's a solution.

            Comment


              #7
              You cannot make your tenants pay their rent. What you can do is lower the risk by trying to select the best tenants you can. (and ask for more than a month rent as deposit)

              If your tenants 'normally' withhold the last month rent, I would be asking myself what tenants your agents find for you, and perhaps what is the reputation of the agent...

              Comment


                #8
                At least if you take more than 1 months rent as deposit, you get an extra month to deal with any adjustment the tenant is making.
                Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                  At least if you take more than 1 months rent as deposit, you get an extra month to deal with any adjustment the tenant is making.
                  I'm not being pedantic. What is there to stop the tenant making a simailar ajustment?

                  We are responsible LL's who rent out our own home - it is in our own interest to ensure it is maintained correctly.

                  We are being asked by various agents to pay a fee to protect the tenants deposit. Why? It's not our money?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by zipit View Post
                    We are being asked by various agents to pay a fee to protect the tenants deposit. Why? It's not our money?
                    It may not be your money, but it isn't the agents either. Why should they do the work required to protect it (admittedly minimal work) for no reward?

                    Just being pedantic, if you are renting out your own home, then you don't need deposit protection because your occupants would be lodgers. Of course, you probably don't rent out your own home - it may have been your home in the past, now it is merely a business asset. An agents fees are a business expense, pretty much like an accountant or a solicitor (but with less qualifications!).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                      You cannot make your tenants pay their rent. What you can do is lower the risk by trying to select the best tenants you can. (and ask for more than a month rent as deposit)

                      If your tenants 'normally' withhold the last month rent, I would be asking myself what tenants your agents find for you, and perhaps what is the reputation of the agent...
                      Understand your comment. Some of the questions I've asked originally should give you some idea of why we are asking for advice with regard to letting agents.

                      In so far as we can - we have ensured the letting agent(s) have been 'reputable'. I'm sure they were. It's the abdication of responsibility when things go wrong that we seem to be having a problem with.

                      The initial cost of protecting a deposit, the initial cost of finding a tenant, the management fees, the cost of repairs, the cost of statutory certificates - we fulfil these obligations. However, we are dependent on the agent to minimise the risk of non-payment/damage restitution and ensuring the tenant is responsible and can be held accountable.

                      Even after all of this - the onus is still on us to make good the losses or legal costs when things go wrong. We have found it difficult to find out how the tenant was vetted in the first place and be able to question the letting agent even though we paid a fee.

                      It seems that the agents are more interested in the person that pays the rent rather than the person who owns the asset that they derive an income from?

                      Holding them accountable is expensive and difficult. Much prefer, given that their fees are derived from our asset that they take some responsibility contractually.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by zipit View Post
                        I'm not being pedantic. What is there to stop the tenant making a simailar ajustment?
                        If you read what I wrote, I actually was making the point that you would have an extra months notice that they were playing that game, not that you can stop them doing it.
                        Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                        Comment


                          #13
                          If you feel that the agents have not complied with their contractual arrangements, and that you have suffered a loss as a result, then write to them saying what you think they haven't done and what this has cost you. If they won't recompense you for your loss then you sue them for the losses that they caused.

                          However, I feel that in your case, the line of responsibility between agent and tenant is slightly blurred - essentially, if rent isn't paid, that is the tenants responsibility, the agent can not make them pay.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                            It may not be your money, but it isn't the agents either. Why should they do the work required to protect it (admittedly minimal work) for no reward?

                            Just being pedantic, if you are renting out your own home, then you don't need deposit protection because your occupants would be lodgers. Of course, you probably don't rent out your own home - it may have been your home in the past, now it is merely a business asset. An agents fees are a business expense, pretty much like an accountant or a solicitor (but with less qualifications!).

                            It's the tenant's money. Why is the LL being asked to pay a fee to protect it? Name me one other product where someone else has to pay to protect my money? In any event, given there is a fixed fee to agents for such a service - why do different agents charge different prices. I've been quoted £55-00 per year for such a service?

                            I'm not sure what you mean when you say that by renting out your own home tenants are somehow lodgers. Are you being obtuse?

                            Not sure why you would compare accountants a solicitors with letting agents? The former are regulated by professional bodies where they can be held accountable more easily in law. As you rightly say – they also hold professional recognised qualifications. In so far as I’m aware anyone can be a letting agent?

                            I’m not going to get into an argument about this. It’s all a bit subjective. You get responsible LL, you get responsible tenants and you get responsible LA’s.

                            I’m posting as a responsible LL- If we were not – We would be accountable to the tenant in law. If you know of a responsible letting agent nationwide/Liverpool – we would be grateful for your input.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                              If you read what I wrote, I actually was making the point that you would have an extra months notice that they were playing that game, not that you can stop them doing it.
                              I did read what you wrote. My intial question was how can I stop it happening. Did you read what I wrote?

                              Comment

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