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to expect overseas tenants to cover cost of transferring deposits overseas?

(12 Posts)
Ashera Mon 05-Nov-12 12:17:11

To summarise: we rent out our basement flat to short-term visitors, usually academics on study grants. I ask for a security deposit which is returned after they move out and any damages/phone calls, etc. paid for from the deposit. Many, though not all, are from overseas and deposit is paid by electronic bank transfer. When I return the deposit to an overseas bank, my bank charges me £25 transfer fee. I have suggested that I will return deposit by sterling cheque (at no cost to me from my bank) which they can deposit (and pay their banks fees, if any) or we split the cost of the bank fee. Some tenants, however, think I should pay the whole cost. I think in future I will clarify in the contract that they pay costs of dealing with foreign banks, but it does seem obvious to me that the buyer should pay. If you buy something in Euros the seller doesn't receive a lower price, but your bank will normally add a foreign currency transaction charge or somesuch, right? What do you think?

HecatePhosphorus Mon 05-Nov-12 12:23:47

I think that you're right - in future you have to spell it out in writing. There will be a charge of X to cover Y.

I think if you don't actually have it in writing, then it's right that it goes in their favour. Any costs must be in the agreement. If you don't have anything written down and it's only when it comes to returning the deposit, you say oh, I have incurred £X cost, which I want you to cover... I think that's going to cause problems. Or if you don't have it in the contract and just say it to them when they give you the deposit and want them to agree to it.

It'll be better when it's written into the agreement, because then everyone's clear.

FredFredGeorge Mon 05-Nov-12 12:30:00

You should spell it out in the contract - in the absense of any specific details then yes you should meet the full cost.

spotsdots Mon 05-Nov-12 12:35:06

I might be wrong but I would have thought they get charged by their bank when they transfer funds to you, therefore they wouldn't expect to pay for the transfer charge when you repay them back?

Instead of transfering the money through bank, can't you just give them the cash when they leave?

Amateurish Mon 05-Nov-12 12:38:47

Just put it in the contract and warn them in advance. If you wish me to return your deposit to a foreign bank account, then you will be liable for any fees which my bank levies.

Ashera Mon 05-Nov-12 12:44:09

Thanks for your replies, it seems that the issue is warning in advance, and I will certainly do this in future. But I wonder whether you agree it is fair for the 'buyer' (in this case, renter) to pay the fees.

Bogeyface Mon 05-Nov-12 12:46:53

Well as SPots said, if they have to pay the fees to transfer it to you, then they have paid their half of the costs.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 05-Nov-12 12:48:24

If I were renting from you I wouldn't make a deciding issue of what you said so long as it was up front - but I would secretly think it was a bit tight of you to accept overseas tenants but only if they paid twice for the transfer.

Viviennemary Mon 05-Nov-12 12:50:31

I think you should pay the cost because it is a transaction you are making. I'd say whoever makes the transaction should pay the fee.

HecatePhosphorus Mon 05-Nov-12 12:53:09

I think that it is not horribly unreasonable for this money to form part of the cost to them of renting, as long as it is clear in advance even of them making any commitment to rent that there is this fee.

But if they have to pay to transfer it to you, is it unreasonable that you pay to transfer it back? you pay any charges your bank wants and they do the same.

I'd be inclined to absorb it as part of the cost of renting it out.

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Mon 05-Nov-12 13:51:26

Payment by cheque if your tenants are from abroad is not appropriate. Cheques are an outdated mode of payment and are obsolete in most other countries. They haven't been used here where I live since the 1950s.

As others have said, the tenants are already paying the transfer costs when they pay the deposit so I too would be inclined to absorb the cost of returning it as part of the cost of doing business.

CaliforniaLeaving Mon 05-Nov-12 19:28:15

If you are transferring the money overseas you could use something like UKForex.com they don't charge you. Isn't it free to send an EFT within the UK? If so there will be no charge from your bank. My US bank won't do EFT's so I have to use a wire transfer to Xe or UKForex, but it's cheaper (something like $6) then UKforex and Xe.com don't charge me to put the money in the UK bank.

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