Is this normal when renting?

(49 Posts)
Mendi Mon 15-Jul-13 16:06:41

Am renting for first time and the agent has called up insisting I have to give them a second address - the address of my parents or a close friend - for after the tenancy ends. My work address (law firm!) was not acceptable.
I kept asking why this is necessary, and all she could say was 'it's to do with the TDS' but not why. I said well presumably you return the money to my bank account, which you have details of, and you know where I work, so I'm not clear why you need a third party's address. In particular I'n uncomfortable about giving my parents' address as they hate all kinds of junk mail and calls and they're in their 70s now. Am not sure why I should give any of my friends' addresses either!

Under intense pressure in the end I did give my parents' address but now am worried about what it will be used for. Any clues?

Next, I asked if I could pay rent on 4th of the month but am moving on 14th. I assumed I would pay to end of month up front and thereafter on the 4th. Instead she says I have to pay for a month plus 10 days up front (plus the deposit). I am already struggling to get a month's rent and the deposit (a further 6 weeks' rent) together. I asked why I can't just pay pro rata and she kept repeating "it's standard we have to take a month up front". So I asked if she could ask the landlord if he would be willing to take pro rata to month end instead, but was left feeling this was a ridiculous request. Is it? I am still going to have to pay the rent on the 4th under the contract, I can't really see the problem!

I paid this agent £500 "holding deposit" 2 weeks ago to get a tenancy agreement out of them and 2 weeks later they've only just started thinking about it. Am meant to be moving in 4 weeks and it's getting to be that unless I agree with everything the agent says, that might not happen!

Please console me and tell me this is all normal, or that it isn't and IANBU.

BonaDrag Mon 15-Jul-13 16:07:55

It's normal and the details of the deposit protection scheme will be forwarded there when you leave.

Mendi Mon 15-Jul-13 17:00:54

Ok thanks. What about this rent up front thing? Am I on a hiding to nothing asking to just pay up front the part of the month I'm actually using and thereafter one month in advance?

ThemeNights Mon 15-Jul-13 17:48:01

The rent thing is normal too. It's a killer to find the rent and the deposit all up front but it is normal.

Jan49 Mon 15-Jul-13 17:58:01

It all sounds normal to me.

I had to give a next of kin address which is awkward as the only next of kin worth contacting lives with me. I think they want to ensure they have a way of contacting you when you move out and also if anything happens such as you disappear or are in an accident. Perhaps you could have given another relative or a friend. I don't think it would result in junk mail.

I think paying monthly is normal, from whatever date the contract starts.
If the contract starts on 4th then you'll need to pay monthly from 4th even if you move in on 14th. If you want to pay from the date you move in, you'd need the landlord to agree to start the contract from 14th but you'd still need to pay for a month.

I had to pay one month's deposit. I queried a few things in the tenancy contract and they said they weren't allowed to change anything at all in it and it couldn't go ahead except exactly as worded.

specialsubject Mon 15-Jul-13 17:59:43

all normal, sorry. Although normally the rental period begins on the day you get the keys and that will be your payment date. You have to pay it anyway so what's the difference?

the usual analogy is that you pay for your baked beans before eating them, and it is the same for your accommodation. They also need a real address for you to contact you over any deposit disputes after you leave, and to have some chance of contacting you if you wreck the place and run.

landlord is letting you use a property worth tens of thousands at least, hence the precautions.

90% of all tenants are decent people who give no problems. same with landlords. But both sides need to take care in case the other is one of the 10%.

Mendi Mon 15-Jul-13 18:51:45

Yes I'm not objecting to paying the rent up front, that is obviously normal. What I would like to do is pay on the day I am paid, which means either paying a massive whack up front to cover 6 weeks rent up front PLUS a deposit equal to another six weeks' rent, or pay just the 2 weeks pro rate rent for the month I am moving in in, then paying the next WHOLE month's rent in advance at the start of the next month.

As it is I am going to have to borrow ££££ just to move into this house. No problem paying rent in advance, it's the extent of the period of advance that I find unreasonable. Also totally unreasonable to say there will be no negotiation of contract terms and ripe for a claim under the Unfair Contract Terms Act IMHO.

The whole renting thing stinks and I haven't even moved in yet!

specialsubject Mon 15-Jul-13 22:15:51

if you don't like this contract, don't sign and find another flat.

Mendi Mon 15-Jul-13 22:33:51

Well that's sort of the point, isn't it? The contract is pretty much the same contract everywhere. It's a standard precedent. But saying to your contracting party "no negotiation of any terms is acceptable" means that one party has 100% of the bargaining power and the other has none. That is prima facie unfair under the Unfair Contract Terms Act.

If I have to sign a contract to get somewhere to live and am forced to sign up to a clause which says I am liable for the costs of de-infestation plus all associated remedial works, then move in and find a massive rodent problem, clearly it's totally unfair that I should have to pay for that, even though the contract says I do.

That is why we have laws such as UCTA. I'm just surprised lettings agents aren't aware of how unreasonable some of their "negotiating' tactics are. So far on this one I've had a completely made-up "other offer", which despite being a few hundred pounds a month more than my offer AND for an earlier commencement date, was mysteriously overlooked by the landlord, who took my offer instead.

Then the agent came back again telling me I really had to raise the offer (which had been accepted at that point!) by another £100 because the landlord might change his mind. I didn't. The landlord didn't. Yet.

All this is from an agent at Hamptons/Knight Frank/Strutt and Parker end of the market.

I used to feel sorry for estate agents for all the bad rap they get, before I had to embark onto the rentals market myself. No more.

all normal.

I've never heard of anyone doing it other than paying monthly in advance for the month commencing move date. otherwise it is messy at both ends of the contract - which with a standard 6 month contract is a lot of mess in a little time.

Jaynebxl Tue 16-Jul-13 06:48:51

If you want to move in on 14th why don't you just make that your regular rent pay date and not pay the extra ten days? So you pay on 14th of each month.

WeleaseWodger Tue 16-Jul-13 08:18:18

One party can't be forced to negotiate and they clearly said they do not on contract terms. Frankly I don't know anyone who does. You can't be forced to accept their conditions, you can walk away. But you can't force them into changing conditions they do not wish to change.

I don't understand the fumigation thing. If you cause an infestation, you pay. If you moved in and found the flat infested, you clearly didn't cause it, therefore LL responsibility. If there is a question as to who caused it, there needs to be proof, or most of the time the LL will pay as default.

It doesn't sound like you understand what the contract actually says, to e honest, as you seem to be misinterpreting it.

Llareggub Tue 16-Jul-13 08:20:07

I didn't have to do that. I just provided an email address. Having said that, the landlord knows where my parents live. The agents don't!

Llareggub Tue 16-Jul-13 08:22:17

I am renting after years of owning property. What I have learned is that the letting agent doesn't see me as the customer. The landlord is the customer. It's crap for renters.

My agent even told me I couldn't negotiate a 12 month lease. The landlord was furious so I negotiate with him.

Mendi Tue 16-Jul-13 08:35:08

Thanks weleaselodgers, I do understand the contract, I'm a litigation lawyer. I've also had it looked over by my boss, who is the senior property litigation partner in my firm. He agrees. The point is, it's open to contracting parties to share liabilities however they want. This contract clearly states that any infestation during the tenancy is my liability. Causation doesn't come into it. And it's non-negotiable. I've seen the same clause in 3 other leases. It's not as easy as "take it or leave it".

Mendi Tue 16-Jul-13 08:37:05

Sorry, should have been WeleaseWodgers

RenterNomad Tue 16-Jul-13 21:12:09

Money up front is normal, but not paying for such an extended period, at least IME. Plenty of people have payment dates not in line with payday, so better to focus on that, not the pro rata business, which agents will never accept, as that first month is their fee from the LL, so of course they want it ASAP. Meanwhile, the LL might be quite excited to think of actually getting some money in that 1st month, so may be digging their heels in, in their turn.

With your having paid the dreaded "holding deposit," you're unfortunately in a very weak position, but if you don't trust them (and it's certainly already rather antagonistic), do keep looking, and maybe you will find something which will make £500 seem an affordable loss? Asking prices do fluctuate over the year. If you use the Mozilla Firefox browser, therebis an add-on called Property Bee, wjich shows the history of entries on Rightmove/Prime Location (esp..date first liayed, asking rent changes, etc.) Lots of tweaking indicates there is more possibility to negotiate.

Four weeks is actually loads of time in the rental market, so there is time for even this situation to come right.

WeleaseWodger Tue 16-Jul-13 21:33:04

Really? You had a senior property litigation lawyer look at a standard rental agreement and now you're asking on the bet if this standard? He should've been able to tell you this, surely.

I am not a lawyer. But I do know that a contract doesn't over ride actual law. For example, standard contracts usually have a clause about allowing access to LL for viewings at end of tenancy. There is no actual law to enforce that contract clause and a tenant who signs that contract still isn't legally obligated to allow anyone in. In fact, in order to obtain emergency repair access, a landlord needs to first obtain a court order. He won't get one for viewings.

Misty9 Tue 16-Jul-13 22:00:04

We've rented many many times in different parts of the country (currently buying, yippee!!!) and have never had to give an alternative address, for any purpose.

As for rent, it's rarely in line with payday so just a bit of careful budgeting required. Upfront costs are horrendous yes, especially as you generally can't rely on previous deposit to cover any of it for a while at least.

And yes, the contracts generally stink. But when I've queried really odd clauses, or things such as we must get the property cleaned by a recommended contractor at the end, most agents have allowed us to cross through what we don't agree with on the contract, and initial.

And I know you have the right to walk away, yada yada, but it's not exactly a level playing field when properties are generally only on with one agent. Having said that, I will never rent through this agent again owing to their horrendously inflated and unjustified fees.

Welcome to the uk rental market get out as soon as you can!

ananikifo Tue 16-Jul-13 22:06:21

The private rental market is awful and unfair. My landlords have been reasonable but letting agents have a terrible reputation in general and conditions aren't what I'd call fair.

Mendi Tue 16-Jul-13 22:12:01

Wow. Just wow, WeleaseWodgersz You are so wrong on the law that the only reason I'm even responding to your message is to correct you on a public forum so that hopefully no non-lawyers take a word of your post as remotely based in actual law.

I'm happy to go with my own legal opinion, but the fact that it's backed by the Head of Property Litigation at an international City law firm is also good support for my interpretation of the law. Interestingly, he advised me not to enter into this lease.

So I'm going to keep looking, while trying to get the "agents" to actually perform their duties as agent to the landlord and at least pass on my queries to him.

queenofthepirates Tue 16-Jul-13 22:12:13

One good reason to have all tenants paying on a particular day is to make it easier for landlords to check their tenants have paid. It's much harder when you have multiple tenants paying at different time of the month.

ThisIsMummyPig Tue 16-Jul-13 22:21:49

I don't understand. You ask if something is normal, you are told that it is. You have already asked someone you respect (I hope) for advice, but then you slag off unqualified people who try and help you.

I hope I never need you to fight my corner.

Mendi Tue 16-Jul-13 22:35:27

Thisismummypig what I asked was whether it was normal to be told you have to pay more than a month in advance if you don't want to pay every month on the date in the month you first moved in. As opposed to just paying pro rata for the month you moved in and thereafter a month in advance.

I was told that was normal and therefore went back to the lettings agent and said I would pay in the middle of the month, every month.

However, when someone who is not legally qualified states as a point of law something which is either completely wrong or even just partly wrong, I do think it is important to correct it. I have not "slagged off" anyone. Merely pointed out the deficiencies in what is stated as "actual law".

RenterNomad Tue 16-Jul-13 23:12:48

I believe the Office of Fair Trading has called for tenancy costs ("referencing fee", etc.) to be published up front, but it would do well to also add a demand for contract terms to be published up front, before the invidious "non-refundable deposit" is taken!

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