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To refuse to pay this fee?

(45 Posts)
PaperdollCartoon Sun 18-Dec-16 20:59:45

Our tenancy is up for renewal, we deal directly with our landlady on all issues (she is lovely) but the tenancy is officially through an estate agent.

Our landlady has decided to put the rent up 2% (£30) which is a pain but ultimately fine. We've had the new contracts come through by email, they want us to pay a £120 tenancy renewal fee. As far as I can see the only admin involved in us digitally signing a contract is them receiving and filing said contract. £120 seems hugely unfair, we could find it but it would mean possible problems elsewhere.

Can we get out of paying it? I was thinking of calling our landlady and asking if we could have a contract between us and her cutting out the estate agent instead but I don't know enough to know if that would disadvantage her or us in some way.

Can anyone advise me?

PaperdollCartoon Sun 18-Dec-16 21:01:30

I should clarify the contracts have come from the estate agents, not our landlady. I haven't spoken to her about it at all yet

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sun 18-Dec-16 21:02:08

You've nothing to lose by asking.

madcatwoman61 Sun 18-Dec-16 21:04:21

The government is about to ban letting agency fees - could you ask her to hang fire with the rent increase until this is implemented? Does she know you will be charged this?

ChuckGravestones Sun 18-Dec-16 21:05:01

Surely after the first 6 months you just let it go into a monthly agreement? And haven't they banned this practice recently?

Electrolens Sun 18-Dec-16 21:08:10

If you get on well with her you could call and ask. However she is presumably paying the letting agent for their involvement, which then means they can charge you.

I don't think yabu at all - and could also argue that you seem to be paying for a change that is putting your rent up. However, in your contract you probably have to pay it. Either way refusing is not the best option try and talk to them. If you've been a good tenant - which it sounds as if you have, you might get some leeway. I really sympathise, charges like this are horrific and unjustified.

Pinkponiesrock Sun 18-Dec-16 21:08:35

Are you in Scotland or the rest of the UK?
In Scotland all third party fees have to be borne by the LL but the same doesn't apply to the rest of the UK.
£120 sounds like the whole amount for the renewal, the LL should be paying half.
It can't go onto a rolling contract as the terms of the lease, in this case the rent increasing, have changed.

Electrolens Sun 18-Dec-16 21:09:04

Ignore me - sounds like pp have better advice that I'm taking on board!

BirdInTheRoom Sun 18-Dec-16 21:09:27

This happened to me in the past - my landlord agreed to a rolling 'Periodic Tenancy' agreement without us needing to sign new contracts. Basically the fact that you have been paying rent implies a contract anyway and protects you both without the need to sign a new tenant agreement. The estate agents didn't like it as they missed out on their fee but the landlord was fine with it.

Check out this link for more info:-
www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/5-tenancy-agreement-facts-that-are-bullshit/

PaperdollCartoon Sun 18-Dec-16 21:09:54

They are trying to ban these fees yes, but they haven't yet unfortunately.
We've had a one year contract, this is coming to an ended and we would be starting another one year contract. This is normal here, I don't know anyone who's contract goes rolling automatically after 6 months. We'd be happy to do a longer contract though.

PaperdollCartoon Sun 18-Dec-16 21:11:20

Thanks Bird that looks helpful. A periodic rolling contract would also be a good option.
We're in the South East.

JellyFishFingers Sun 18-Dec-16 21:18:51

Talk to your landlady. She will be paying a fee too. It may be about £200. I had no idea my tenants were charged these fees. I already had to pay a stupid unnecessary fee for them doing nothing and when I heard they charged the tenant as well I was very cross. I called the agency and confronted them about it. They were peeved I had been told and they did waive the fee.
I only use the agency for finding a tenant, not management or anything like that. However the fees they charge for that are enormous. I think they charge tenants too don't they? I was flabbergasted they had to pay as well.
With regard to just having a contract with her, our contract states if we take over s tenant, now or in the future, we have to pay a huge amount. I can't remember how much. They gave that locked down pretty tight.

PaperdollCartoon Sun 18-Dec-16 21:22:42

When we moved in almost a year ago we had to a pay deposit and rent up front plus a load of admin fees, I can't remember the exact amount but it was over £4000.

Our landlady has aske us repeatedly if we want to stay long term which we've said yes to. I know she wouldn't want to lose us. Perhaps she doesn't know about the fees I will cal her and ask.

PaperdollCartoon Sun 18-Dec-16 21:23:40

Jelly that's helpful to know, we don't want to cause her problems either

Mulberry72 Sun 18-Dec-16 21:33:38

Our LL has just changed letting agents, but the previous agents wanted to charge us £240 renewal fees (£120 each) so we argued the toss with them asking for a breakdown of what it was for and they fobbed us off for a week or so, so we asked for our LL's address so that we could talk to him about it. They gave us his details and we were able speak to him and it turned out that they were charging HIM £240 for our tenancy renewal too.

He told us not to pay it, he would cover it and then he served them notice that he was dispensing with their services and he set up with a much better agency who are much more efficient and helpful.

Argue the toss with them OP and question exactly what it's for and for a breakdown of costs! It worked for us!

Dizzywizz Sun 18-Dec-16 21:39:00

Can I just say - there is admin involved in the agency changing the end date though - as someone who deals with this, I wish I could just literally change the date but it is actually quite a lengthy process (or is this just my company?!). I just recently showed a member of my team how to do this, as she doesn't directly deal with the process and in overhearing a call between her and a landlord where she wasn't able to defend the process, i felt I had to show her how it is actually done! However the admin costs can be high (different between companies) although I felt they should have been capped rather than deleted all together.

Daisyfrumps Sun 18-Dec-16 21:42:37

Declining to have the agreement renewed by the agents means it'll legally automatically roll onto a periodic tenancy. You have no problem with the 2% increase so tell your landlord you've adjusted your direct debit accordingly.

If you renew, all parties will have to pay this ridiculous fee and you may be stuck with another minimum fixed term too.

RB68 Sun 18-Dec-16 21:44:05

There is no need for a contract to be in place as others have said it can go onto a mthly rolling contract even with increased rent. I have successfully put off two different agents about this in the past. The new contract is completely unecessary and a make work excercise.

Daisyfrumps Sun 18-Dec-16 21:44:27

It's a complete letting agency stitch-up.

PinkSwimGoggles Sun 18-Dec-16 21:45:47

we just said no to the agent fees when renting. never caused any problems.
in case you don't sign anything and no side gives notice, voila rolling contract.

PaperdollCartoon Sun 18-Dec-16 21:49:24

So an automatic rolling contract is the legal option? Or maybe I should be arguing the rent increase instead, that'll cost us more in the long term...

Why is life so expensive sad

TheProblemOfSusan Sun 18-Dec-16 22:01:37

Sounds like you might benefit from a long term contract here - there's nothing to say that you have to do a year at a time, why not ask for two or three if it suits? That would lock the cost in too.

PaperdollCartoon Sun 18-Dec-16 22:05:00

Yeh I thought about that, something like 5 years with break clauses would probably work well.

Shall I ring estate agents first tomorrow or landlady? Which is the best negotiation to start with?

CheeseCakeSunflowers Sun 18-Dec-16 22:06:12

Remember that the rolling contract option works both ways, you need to give a months notice to quit and your LL can give you a months notice to leave. If you want the security of knowing you can't be kicked out for 12 months then it is better to renew the contract.

PinkSwimGoggles Sun 18-Dec-16 22:08:13

it's 2 months notice for the ll, one for the tennant

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