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To ask letting agents to waive the £120 check-out fee?

(16 Posts)
JavaJeans Wed 08-Jul-15 20:07:21

My DP and I have been renting a one bedroom house since July last year. When we moved in we paid referencing fees, deposit, first month's rent and a checking-in fee to the letting agents. We're now due to move out at the end of July, as we're relocating to another part of the UK.

How usual is it to pay both a checking-in fee and a checking-out fee? I've rented other places in the past and never had to pay a fee to move out.
It states in our tenancy agreement that the fee is £120 and will be taken from the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

Before we knew for certain that we'd be relocating, we were informed by the letting agents that the landlady (who lives overseas and we've not had any contact with) was storing some furniture at their offices, and they had been instructed to move this furniture into our property. We weren't given a choice about this - the options were to accept (and have the tenancy changed to part-furnished instead of unfurnished) or leave. The Section21 notice was included in the letter.

We managed to firm up our plans and contacted the letting agents to ask if we could stay in the property until the end of July, which they agreed to via email. They stated that they'd arranged for the furniture to be moved across from their offices by a contractor, and this was done on the 29th June.

The furniture is awful! It's some drawers, table, chairs, sideboard and other random things. It's currently taking up most of our downstairs living space, leaving us with very little space to store boxes as we start packing. It was also filthy - covered in a thick layer of grimy dust from being stored for a long time. The contractors made a half-hearted attempt at cleaning some of the surfaces as they brought it from the van into the house, but it's still horribly dusty and generally not well looked after.

Considering that we've now lost the use of a good chunk of the space we've paid to rent.. would it be unreasonable for us to ask them to waive the £120 check-out fee?

Nolim Wed 08-Jul-15 20:11:58

Ime you pay one of the inventories(check in or check out) and the landlord pays the other, but if your contractt says you have to pay it i would not be optimistic on the agents waiving the fee.

OhEmGeee Wed 08-Jul-15 20:12:13

Hep can they take it from your deposit? It should be held in a deposit scheme, the agency don't have the money.

JavaJeans Wed 08-Jul-15 20:18:30

OhEmGeee I wondered about that as well - it is protected with the DPS. So how would they manage to deduct it? confused

specialsubject Wed 08-Jul-15 20:19:31

blimey.

there is no way you should have accepted that furniture. you should have flat out refused, contacting the landlady to back it up. If keeping it in your home was not set out in the tenancy BEFORE you signed, it doesn't go in unless you agree. you didn't. Refusing it is not grounds for a section 21. How long was your tenancy?

normal practice is that you pay check-in OR check-out. Now, you did agree to both in the tenancy, BUT that was before they breached it.

is your deposit protected?

set out in writing that as the landlord has breached the tenancy by filling the house with un-agreed possessions, you would like some compensation of at least not paying the checkout fee. Copy to both agent and landlord.

JavaJeans Wed 08-Jul-15 20:27:32

specialsubject our tenancy was originally for 6 months, which became a periodic tenancy once that ended. Deposit protected with DPS.

We accepted the furniture as we didn't want to rock the boat at that point. We needed them to agree to let us stay until the end of July - the Section 21 would have ended mid-June and DP needed to still be here for work. To be honest I really wanted to tell them to just wait until we were gone before moving the furniture in!

SauvignonPlonker Wed 08-Jul-15 20:33:37

Perhaps they'd agree to a tent reduction for the remainder of your tenancy? I'd be asking for one (and backing up with photographic evidence) in view of the disruption/inconvenience.

And yes, the agents should have protected your deposit in a scheme. LL can be personally fined up to 3x the deposit if they fail to do so.

Perhaps that might give you some leverage?

wowfudge Wed 08-Jul-15 20:37:49

special's advice is spot on. It doesn't matter that you wanted to be there until the end of July: do not mention that. A key point of all tenancies is that the tenants have the right to the quiet enjoyment of the property. Being forced to fill half your living room with someone else's crap breaches that.

SauvignonPlonker Wed 08-Jul-15 20:44:47

* a rent reduction, not tent!!

JavaJeans Wed 08-Jul-15 20:51:47

Thank you for responses so far, very helpful.

One of the contractors who moved the furniture in was asking me whether we've had a rent reduction for this month, considering that we've now lost the use of this space (nope!). He was also saying that if it were up to him the whole lot would be going into a skip, not into a house!

specialsubject Wed 08-Jul-15 21:23:38

well, at least the deposit is protected. So there can't be any deductions except for damage.

My understanding is that when you go on to a rolling tenancy the terms and conditions remain the same, with the exception of the rent which is no longer fixed. (I can't find any statement on anything except the rent but it seems pretty obvious, and is certainly how I've always done it) So you rented 'x' rooms and it can't be changed to x-1 rooms by filling one with crap, as well as the 'quiet enjoyment' thing mentioned.

so you now have the agreed departure date everyone wants, which is one thing. Definitely time to contact the landlord re these outrageous goings on.

vaticancameos Wed 08-Jul-15 21:37:48

Contact your local tenancy relations department at the council. It's a department to help privately renting tenants with issues like this.

I've used the one at Bristol City Council extensively and they have been very helpful at dealing with my awful landlord.

They won't be able to take that money out of the deposit in any case.

londonrach Wed 08-Jul-15 21:44:37

Talk to cab to ask advice as not sure they can charge for both checking in and checking out. However not sure. They cant take the money from the desposit for this anyway!

MidniteScribbler Thu 09-Jul-15 00:12:16

Why the big rush to get it in to your apartment when you are moving out anyway? I may think the worst of people, but I would be very careful that they don't try and charge you for 'damage' to the furniture that has now suddenly been moved in to your apartment after being stored for so long and moved several times.

JavaJeans Thu 09-Jul-15 07:26:39

SauvignonPlonker That's a good suggestion, thank you, but unfortunately we've already paid the final month's rent, so we missed our chance to ask about a rent reduction. The tenancy agreement states that any overpayment requiring them to refund will be charged a fee.. no doubt they'd want to charge the same for a repayment if they agreed to a reduction and refund. Not that I think they'd agree anyway..

vaticancameos Thank you, I'll look into this with our council, I hadn't heard of a tenancy relations department before!

londonrach I'll also try and see if CAB can advise anything, although I think it might be tough to get to see anyone at our local branch.

MidniteScribbler I think the letting agents were fed up of storing this stuff for the landlady. It looked like it had been there a long time, with the amount of dust covering everything. But you might have a point actually - all of this stuff hasn't been added to the inventory, there's been no new paperwork and in fact they haven't bothered to change our tenancy from unfurnished to part-furnished (probably as we're leaving anyway, but it means that we have no paperwork listing any of this stuff as actually being in the house!)
I've taken pictures of the stuff just in case.

We really didn't have the space for it, so the contractors piled it all up on top of itself. The lady from the letting agents who usually emails us was also there when they delivered the first half of it, so she saw how little space there was and didn't object to the way the contractors stacked it all up. When we've finished packing and moving our own stuff, should we leave all this furniture exactly as they delivered it (dust and all)?

SauvignonPlonker Thu 09-Jul-15 08:04:41

Yes, I would absolutely leave the furniture the way it is. It is the letting agents problem to deal with it.

They have no comeback as it is not on the inventory therefore no deposit deductions can be made for it.

And you have photographic evidence of how it was left.

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