Inventory companies/clerks/fees

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  • L8r
    replied
    My comment regarding sympathy was aimed at the post, that I now don't see, expressing sympathy.

    To clarify, not that it should make a difference, I am a LL. As many LL's I have become weary of T's entering into agreement, possibly having had the essential responsibilities clarified, that later when things may not suit they will happily attempt to transfer accepted responsibilities to the LL.

    Too many times I have heard "I didn't know" or "you didn't tell me", when, as adults, they were perfectly capable of gaining the required education from many available sources. It isn't correct that the LL, in his position of bias, should be considered responsible for a T's education even though in the real world it is often necessary, only that the contract terms should be fair.

    A site such as this is excellent for gaining better understanding as may be required, this is done for many, including me on many occasions. Of course we have to accept that not all views expressed have value but at least in a free society we can have reasonable opinion, I gave mine.

    I've never chewed concrete, can't see the point, so I must take mtg's word for it that it is comparable to reading my post. Others can decide for themselves which comments in which post are platitudes.

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  • nugget
    replied
    Originally posted by L8r View Post
    I can't say I have sympathy with the op.

    Check in and check out have or are becoming an industry standard. This is the safest way for a LL to demonstrate condition comparison should the need arise, as it so often does.

    The contract, if read with understanding, does not try to slip the charge in unnoticed, it's clear. The amount can't be stated at this point as some years later the charge may have suffered inflation.

    LL's are often considered to be responsible for the education of tenants, but we are biased so shouldn't really provide this education. Tenants must find their own way to develop understanding, or at least confirm any understanding given them.

    £600 final utility bills, ouch, but no one else used it. I've paid my bills, just hope I can afford to in the future. Where I do have great sympathy is that life is very expensive, for all of us.
    1. I didn't post for sympathy just a clarification of a fee asked to be paid that I have never encountered before, now that I have clarification that this is a legitimate fee at an acceptable price I will be paying for it without argument.

    2. As for the final utilities I was just venting and perhaps justifying why I was ticked off by the extra (albeit small) check-out amount since as you say "life is expensive" and these extra little costs do feel like heaping on extra straw to my already paraplegic camel. So don't get your y's in a twist I will be paying everything I owe.

    Oh and yes if something is only just becoming industry standard then if not for the sake of legality then out of simple courtesy perhaps a LL should draw to the attention of the tennant any fees that the tennant will definatley have to pay (even if the amount is not stated) regardless of punctuality of rent and immaculate care of the property.



    Edit - To MTG - right on! x
    Last edited by nugget; 28-05-2010, 15:01 PM. Reason: because i'm a pain?

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  • Moderator1
    replied
    Two or more threads on the same topic have been merged here.

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  • mind the gap
    replied
    Originally posted by L8r View Post

    Check in and check out have or are becoming an industry standard. This is the safest way for a LL to demonstrate condition comparison should the need arise, as it so often does.
    Oh, please! Spare us the vacant, inelegant platitudes. You sound like a letting agent. Reading this stuff is like chewing concrete.

    Originally posted by L8r View Post
    £600 final utility bills, ouch, but no one else used it. I've paid my bills, just hope I can afford to in the future. Where I do have great sympathy is that life is very expensive, for all of us.
    I think OP was being humorous. Don't worry about it.

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  • L8r
    replied
    I can't say I have sympathy with the op.

    Check in and check out have or are becoming an industry standard. This is the safest way for a LL to demonstrate condition comparison should the need arise, as it so often does.

    The contract, if read with understanding, does not try to slip the charge in unnoticed, it's clear. The amount can't be stated at this point as some years later the charge may have suffered inflation.

    LL's are often considered to be responsible for the education of tenants, but we are biased so shouldn't really provide this education. Tenants must find their own way to develop understanding, or at least confirm any understanding given them.

    £600 final utility bills, ouch, but no one else used it. I've paid my bills, just hope I can afford to in the future. Where I do have great sympathy is that life is very expensive, for all of us.

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  • nugget
    replied
    Thanks again for the advice, you're probably right it's not worth the hassle fighting over £65, I was just slightly incensed by the sneaky last minute charge that I felt was not a transparent part of my contract (or even transparently explained to me in the total of my final bill).

    Moving house is just so expensive and stressful, having to front a months rent and deposit whilst not having the previous deposit back yet, and jaw dropping final bills from utilities amounting to nearly £600 when I've been paying £100 and odd a month, it's just another unwelcome suprise bill that i didn't calculate for, money I'd rather be spending on a rocking pair of heels then some musty old fart with a clipboard sorry for the rant

    Take care and thanks again x

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  • mind the gap
    replied
    If your LL is employing an outside inventory clerk and you agreed at the outset to pay that fee, I doubt there is much mileage in challenging the reasonableness of the £65 charge. It is not necessarily the case that the clerk will do £65 worth of work (almost certainly he will not - like most of the things letting agents do, it's money for old rope), but the fee is not so outrageously wide of the mark as to make it worth your while suing.

    It would be nice to be able to earn £65 just by walking around someone's house for an hour and ticking things off on a list, wouldn't it?

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  • nugget
    replied
    Cheers for the advice so far

    I believe it is an outside clerk who is doing the inventory and apparently they paid for the check in inspection which was apparently more expensive.

    I currently live Cheshire.

    I also have found this information below useful, but it seems like a gray area.


    Group 18(a): Allowing the landlord to impose unfair financial burdens

    4.2 In a fairly balanced contract the parties must be subject only to the obligations that they agree to accept. We object to any term that allows the landlord to impose an unexpected financial burden on the tenant. This is similar in effect to a price variation clause (see Group 12) and cannot be considered an exempt 'core' term because it does not clearly set an agreed price.
    4.3 We would challenge an explicit right to demand payment of unspecified amounts at the landlord's discretion. The same objections apply even if the terms are merely unclear about what will be payable, because such a term can in practice be used to impose unexpected and excessive demands. We have concerns about the potential unfair effect of terms, as well as the intentions behind them, and do not consider the purpose of such terms relevant if their potential effect could be unfair.

    4.7 The terms described above are considered unfair because they reserve to the landlord, expressly or in effect, the discretion to impose additional charges. But terms that themselves directly impose charges may be open to objection if, through lack of reasonableness and transparency, they too can result in unanticipated financial burdens for tenants. We do not regard ancillary payment obligations as transparent unless either they conform to what a reasonable person would expect to find in a tenancy agreement or they are drawn as clearly and fully to the tenant's attention as the obligation to pay rent itself – ie: rather than appearing ordinarily in the body of the contract.

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  • Sad S
    replied
    £65 seems quite reasonable to me, providing it's with a proper inventory clerk, not just the landlord/agent with a biro.

    £70 would be a bargain in London.

    Whereabouts in the country are you? Did you have a check-in inventory, and if so how much did that cost to whom?

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  • jeffrey
    replied
    Originally posted by jrsteeve View Post
    Hopefully one of the legal people will confirm but as far as i know the charge is unenforceable unless the amount was specified in the contract.
    Wrong. The Agreement reserves a fee, albeit unquantified. The only argument is about how much 'reasonable' is, in this context.

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  • jrsteeve
    replied
    Hopefully one of the legal people will confirm but as far as i know the charge is unenforceable unless the amount was specified in the contract.

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  • nugget
    replied
    Check Out Fee

    Hi everyone,

    I've just been told by my Landlord that he will be charging us (a rather steep) £65 check out fee, this is 10 days before our last day of tennancy. (Actually I had to weed out of him why the final bill was going to be more money than expected, since our tenancy ends on the 5th he said he would just send a bill to us for those last days, when the bill was £60 more than I thought he said oh yes that's the check out fee)

    When I argued that he never mentioned this before he told me I had signed for this service in my lease. I found this section below in my electronic copy which I believe he is referring to.

    7.23.1 To pay the reasonable* cost of a check-out of the Inventory and Schedule of Condition listing all the Fixtures and Fittings in the Premises and the condition of them at the expiry or sooner termination of the tenancy.

    Now I have a couple of issues with this, firstly it doesn't specify an amount that will be charged (so he's free to name his price) which makes me believe this may be an unfair term and condition according to contract law.

    Secondly I've never been charged by my last three rentals a check out fee (all within the past 4 years, full deposit back on all, no hassle) so this was not a charge I was expecting.

    Any thoughts to whether or not this is a legitimate charge or a cheeky little last chance piggy grab at our hard earned.

    Thankyou kindly, Nugget x


    *hah!

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  • alias
    replied
    Question regarding check out fees.

    A clause in our agreement reads as follows;

    2.5 To pay the cost of checking out the inventory at the end of the tenancy. A schedule of fees is available from the Landlord's agent upon request.


    I specifically wish to know if this term could be classed as unfair? Obviously because the fee is not in any durable medium the fee could be shown to the tenant as £20.00 on the move in date and £20,000 pounds (granted I'm being flippant) on the check out date? There is an added complexity that the tenancy agreement is actually completely unsigned by either tenants or landlord, but the clause is more of a concern in itself.

    There is a more complicated state of affairs behind the question, namely the tenant winning a CCJ and costs for misadvertisement of the property and issues such as one joint tenant never being given a key for the entire tenancy period, but I'm sure you have all heard similar stories before.

    The landlord wished, prior to a letter before action to keep ''the whole deposit until the tenants agreed to allow the deductions'' (these are being disputed separately as the cleaning fees amount to betterment).

    Thank you in advance!

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  • westminster
    replied
    Originally posted by Seminole View Post
    Given that the fee is deductible from the deposit is it subject to the same reasonableness tests that would apply to deductions for actual damage. In other words can we challenge it in the same way?
    Yes, but I think there would be a range of reasonableness.

    You can check comparable charges by searching for inventory firms on this website http://www.theaiic.co.uk/ Of those who display their prices online, I found one who covers Surrey and charges £120 + VAT for a 4-bed unfurnished property. If there is a garden/outhouses or extra reception rooms, then this may be an extra cost.

    So although £150 + VAT is on the pricier side, it's possibly justified, and it's not wildly excessive. Nevertheless, you are perfectly entitled to dispute the charges, and chances are you may succeed in getting the cost reduced via adjudication.

    We have suggested that, subject to the owner's agreement, they could do the checkout themselves
    The contract allows the landlord to charge for a check-out and moreover LL is entitled to gather independent evidence of condition at check-out - if he presented a DIY report as evidence in an adjudication dispute, he might well place himself at a disadvantage.

    I appreciate that you spent money on redecoration, and the condition is better than at check-in, and the property is being sold, but I'm afraid that has no bearing on this particular issue. The LL can simply point to your liability in the contract.

    Speaking as a LL, I would want to get a professional check-out done, even with the property in apparently improved condition. It's all very well having a superficial view of the condition during occasional inspections, but you do need a thorough inspection at the end of a tenancy.

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  • Seminole
    replied
    Thanks for the replies.

    My wife has just finished reading the tenancy agreement from cover to cover and I was wrong. It does make reference to us paying for the checking of the inventory at the end of the tenancy. Sorry for the confusion.

    We are therefore faced with a bill of £150 plus VAT for the checkout of a 4 bed unfurnished house. I can only find one other inventory service in our area (Surrey) that charges as much. Most are £100 or less.

    Given that the fee is deductible from the deposit is it subject to the same reasonableness tests that would apply to deductions for actual damage. In other words can we challenge it in the same way?

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