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To dig my heels in over rent?

(29 Posts)
Toofondofcake Thu 23-Jun-16 19:37:54

So I'm not really sure if this is the best place for this post but also want advice on whether I'm being U.

We have lived in our house for almost a year and it's time to talk about whether we're staying. Me and DH do want to stay but the letting agent charges £90 as an "admin fee" for resigning a 12 month contract. We have asked for a rolling month on month contract to avoid fees but also so we aren't tied in if we want to move on at any point.
The agent did not notify us of the fee until last week which I feel is a bit sly as it wasn't discussed when we moved in.

They put our suggestion to the landlords who said they want a 12 month contract but also want to put up the rent by £10 a month.

Now I know £10 doesn't seem a lot but when you add it all up that's £210 in unforeseen rent costs for the year and we've had tonnes of maintainance issues with the property that both landlord and agent have really dragged their feet on getting done and I feel like calling their bluff and saying no that's not acceptable.

Am I being just stroppy/should I just accept it or do I have a leg to stand on here? Any people with experience of this to offer me some advice?

TeaBelle Thu 23-Jun-16 19:41:56

Surely your landlord tells you what the rent is. You then say yes, I'll pay that or no I won't. Then either landlord accepts the lower amount or you move out.n

Shantotto Thu 23-Jun-16 19:42:34

You do not have to resign a contract - we went through this with our letting agent putting loads of pressure on, but we insisted we were happy moving to a rolling contract. They eventually gave up asking. I did have to speak to the manager of the agents though!

Thing is, if the landlord wants to increase the rent he could give you notice. He has to give two months and you give one (I think?).

Surely though for the sake of £10 a month he'd want good tennants and not risk having an empty house for a few weeks. Which would surely eat up that £10 a month increase!

LifeInJeneral Thu 23-Jun-16 19:47:23

It's 100% up to the landlord I'm afraid. Whatever they decide to do (contract length and rent) they can state these are the terms and you either stay and accept or you can leave. However a third option could be to ask the landlord if they would like to have a direct contract with yourselves instead of using the letting agent. You can download a standard contract online that way you don't have to pay the fee and neither does the landlord (they also pay a fee) plus the landlord usually pays a contribution of the rent to the letting agents (e.g. they might pay £50 to letting agent). If you had a direct contract with you they would be saving that £50 every month so you could suggest doing that instead of them upping the rent.

Toofondofcake Thu 23-Jun-16 19:47:24

Yeah I think the house was empty a few months before we moved in so surely they don't want the cost of remarketting it?

I really don't want to move out and have asked letting agents to reassure landlord our plan is to stay here a few years until we can buy but if the rent keeps slipping up it won't be affordable for us as we have two little ones so the budget doesn't have much wiggle.

If I say no that's not acceptable they can give us notice to leave though right?

LifeInJeneral Thu 23-Jun-16 19:50:48

If you say no you would need to leave at the end of your current contract I'm afraid

MrsKoala Thu 23-Jun-16 19:52:36

6When we rented in various properties, every 12 months we had to have a new 12 month contract and pay about 100 for it and every year they put up the rent. The cheapest was 10 per month. Once they wanted 30 per month and we said we'd pay 10 and they agreed.

We rent out a property now and were horrified that the agents weren't reporting any maintenance issues, automatically put the rent up by 10 per year and were charging so much for contract renewals. So we got rid of them and managed it ourselves and don't charge anything. We even pay all the beginning credit reference charges and all the other random shite the agents charge.

Shantotto Thu 23-Jun-16 19:52:52

If you don't accept they will probably give you notice.

I suppose different from our situation as the landlord wasn't increasing the rent, we were just getting pressured by the agents to get £100 out of us!

Seems a very small amount for the landlord to even bother with having to find a new tenant for.

HermioneJeanGranger Thu 23-Jun-16 19:54:37

You can refuse, but you might not be able to stay. Some landlords will just move you to a monthly tenancy but others will ask you to give notice.

So either pay the extra, which is nothing compared to the costs of renting somewhere new, or take the risk of being given notice to leave.

GrimmauldPlace Thu 23-Jun-16 19:55:59

No offence, and it is shit I know but that's the way it goes in rental places. Landlord is well within their right to increase your rent. I appreciate that £10 a month adds up but count yourself lucky. Our last increase was an extra £170 a month shock

CurbsideProphet Thu 23-Jun-16 19:56:03

We are also coming up to a year and are worried. Our letting agents are the usual "couldn't trust them as far as I could throw them". YANBU to think that they are being unfair but, unfortunately, landlords and letting agents can charge whatever they like.

Toofondofcake Thu 23-Jun-16 19:56:24

Yeah the agents have been very lax and we don't have any direct contact with the agents just whatever the agents pass on.

Think I'm going to push back a bit and see if they decide to lay off a bit and if not I'll probably give in. I have 2 under 2 and can't bare the thought of moving right now.

ABCAlwaysBeCunting Thu 23-Jun-16 19:56:39

If there have been issues with maintenance then you can use that to negotiate over the re-signing fee and rent rise, but be prepared for them to say no. £10 a month is a very small increase to demand, it seems odd that they would risk losing a good tenant over it.

LordEmsworth Thu 23-Jun-16 19:56:59

They can give you notice - doesn't mean they will. Depends where you're willing to draw the line, and what the local rental market is like, as to whether you think it's a reasonable request or just chancing their arm.

Personally I'd be tempted to say I'll agree to the £10 monthly increase if I move on to a monthly rolling contract (or, agree to pay the admin fee & sign for 12 months but not the rent increase). And any outstanding maintenance issues rectified.

I'd probably also try to speak to the landlord direct, rather than let the agents mistranslate on my behalf.

sirfredfredgeorge Thu 23-Jun-16 19:59:31

So, if you're close to the 12 months, unless the landlord has already served you with a section 21, you're in a very strong position. The landlord cannot know if you're going to leave on the 12 months or stay under the same conditions - ie if you do nothing and choose to stay, you just stay until he serves you notice, which if he's not done yet will be quite awhile. However you could also just leave on the date and that would be the end of it, the uncertainty that places on the landlord will mean they're quite motivated to negotiate.

The landlord would be mad to make you pay a fee to an agent, there's nothing in it for them...

AyeAmarok Thu 23-Jun-16 19:59:47

If you say no, he may let you stay anyway. Ours did as he'd rather not have the hassle of finding new people and we had been good tenants.

It's a risk though. If you play hard ball you have to be prepared to walk.

Magstermay Thu 23-Jun-16 20:02:54

We had to pay a fee for a new contract every year but could still give notice as and when I think. It's a standard fee for the agents time to sort it out. I don't think you can argue you shouldn't pay that just because you didn't realise.

The rent increase you can choose to accept or refuse given maintenance issues. You do risk them saying no and either giving you notice or forcing you to accept the increase.

ThomasHardyPerennial Thu 23-Jun-16 20:05:31

Why not meet them in the middle and pay £5 extra? I have always negotiated with agents/landlords. I think it's bloody cheeky to increase the rent if they are shit at sorting out maintenance issues though!

sepa Thu 23-Jun-16 20:09:20

I work in tenancy agreements. Everything rises which is why your rent will rise by £10 a month. It is possible that the landlord is paying for things which you are unaware of (including but not limited to the letting agent fees going up)
Obviously I don't know your specific circumstances but this is what I would guess at

sepa Thu 23-Jun-16 20:11:04

Adding to my above though, we do negotiate where I am especially when there are maintenance issues

BeckyMcDonald Thu 23-Jun-16 20:11:19

Any contract is open to negotiation and if you don't want to pay, you can try to negotiate. Personally I'd tell them you'll suck up the £10 if they let you go on to a no-fee rolling contract. Everyone's a winner.

Toofondofcake Thu 23-Jun-16 20:15:44

Thanks for the advice guys I think maybe going back and proposing an either/or kind of deal might work.

I'm not a mega cheapskate however they have just had a wobbly bannister fixed which I first raised as an issue when we moved in almost a year ago. That's one of about a dozen maintainance issues that have persisted for months before being resolved.

Just also really don't want to let them set a precedent of repeated putting the rent up as it really isn't the done thing around here to start with especially not towards long term tenants as far as I know among my friends and family at least.

BluePitchFork Thu 23-Jun-16 20:16:00

If you say no you would need to leave at the end of your current contract I'm afraid

no. the landlord would still need to give the correct notice (at least 2 months) if nothing happens it will automatically move to a periodic tennancy.

NadiaWadia Thu 23-Jun-16 20:25:41

When we started renting this house, over 4 years ago we originally had a 6 month fixed term and the agents initially told us verbally that we could go onto a rolling contract after that. Then when it got near the end of the term they phoned up and left several messages asking if were going to sign again for 6 months or 12. On advice from another online forum I just ignored the messages and they gave up, and here we are four years later still on a rolling contract. Still paying the same rent too which is a bit of a bargain now!

But then our letting agents are a bit slack anyway (never gave us an inventory for instance), yours may not be, so I'm not promising ignoring them will work. But once you get past the end of the fixed term, you are already on a rolling contract by default. If they did want to get you out because they insist on fixed term they would have to give you 2 months notice, and ultimately take it to court if you don't leave. As you say the property was empty for a while before you moved in, so if they are sensible they won't risk another void.

Having said that, the agents are probably all out for themselves. All they want are the renewal fees (which they will also be charging to the landlord ). If they get in new tenants they will make lots of lovely fees from them, so maybe they won't be bothered about a void, even though it's against the landlord's interests. Quite possibly the landlord knows nothing about all this.

FloweryTwat Thu 23-Jun-16 20:27:55

Have a look at your original contract - it may state that you automatically go onto a rolling contract after the 12 months anyway. In which case unless your landlord approaches you to change it you can just carry on until they serve notice.

If they want to renegotiate a rent rise I would pay that, but only if on a rolling contract. Use it as a negotiation. The Landlord will also have to pay an admin fee ( I know this from experience) and is likely to prefer the rolling contract anyway.

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