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Being charged to renew rental agreement

(16 Posts)
AbsDuCroissant Wed 13-Jul-11 17:21:32

Hi, just thought I'd ask about this, as it's never happened to me before.

Basically, we are renting a flat and the repairs etc. is the responsibility of the landlord, but for dealing with deposit, paying rent and renewing the contract, this is being done through a letting agency (landlord's decision, not ours).

Our old contract expired recently - we were on a 12 month contract, and I got contacted by the lettings agency, asking whether or not we would like to stay in the flat, or move out. So, we agreed to stay for another 12 months, with a slight raise in rent. They then sent us a memorandum with the revised terms and rent, and then with it (they hadn't told me about this previously) an invoice charging us for renewing the contract.

Now, I've never heard of this before but then I've either just dealt directly with the landlord on a month to month contract, or else only lived in a place for a year.

Can they do this? Are we responsible for paying for it?

TIA

Thistledew Wed 13-Jul-11 17:28:34

You need to have a careful read of your tenancy agreement and anything else you have been given by the agents and/or landlord.

They can only charge you for this service if you have entered into a contract that says you will pay.

Thistledew Wed 13-Jul-11 17:29:55

It may be a simple mistake that you have been invoiced and not your landlord.

stinkyfluffycat Wed 13-Jul-11 17:34:34

Is it a £60 invoice from an agency called Homeminders by any chance? We just got one of those "due to increased administration costs" when there has never previously been any change to renew..
I'm considering kicking up a stink but then maybe it's worth paying £60 to keep the agency sweet? Pissed off though as I fail to see how sending out a letter saying "do you want to renew or not, ok yes well here's a lease to sign" costs £60 hmm

AbsDuCroissant Wed 13-Jul-11 17:47:02

Thanks for the advice.

Nah, it's for £90 and not from Homeminders, which is a bit excessive I'd think.

Will look through the rental agreement - I don't remember anything like that at the time, but it's been a year since I read it.

sb6699 Wed 13-Jul-11 18:38:01

My LA tried to charge us £90 for renewing after the initial 6 month contract expired last year.

I had never encountered this before and told them if they wanted us to stay then they needed to cancel the charge - they did but dont know if they passed it onto the LL.

LaWeasleyAintWeaselyAnymore Wed 13-Jul-11 18:53:37

We've just had this. It was in our original contract so there you go. (£42) the rent stayed the same though, so that was okay.

To be honest although I haven't had this before I just assumed it was okay for them to do that... is it not?

plupervert Thu 14-Jul-11 11:29:59

Look in the terms and conditions as well as your tenancy contract; payment for renewal was in there with our last one. The agency explained it the first time around as a "licence fee" to the solicitor who drew it up. shock Warned up front, we never intended to let it get to that!

If you haven't accepted the LA's conditions yet, you could reply changing your mind about the renewal, given that you didn't have all the details when you accepted; therefore you give notice, and contact the landlord to let you know you are doing this. They may have a change of heart about letting these grasping LA manage the money side for them. Beats me why the LL wants responsibility for repairs but not for rent!

NB - I'm not a solicitor, but know from union involvement and subscribing to Which? that there is power in not accepting unilateral changes to cotracts.

Collaborate Thu 14-Jul-11 11:58:00

If you don't sign anything anyway it goes on to a periodic tenancy with the same terms as before. You can give a months notice at any time you want, and they can give 2 months notice. They can increase your rent anually, and I think there's a mechanism for challenging it, but the best way to challenge it is to serve notice to quit and find somewhere better.

McTemp Thu 14-Jul-11 12:04:03

I remember reading the same thing a few months back here

When it happened to me, I rang the estate agents to say I didn't have a cheque book (I don't) and that I would drop the cash into them next time I was passing. That was 6months ago - and I haven't dropped the cash in, and I haven't been chased. I reckon they will waive the fee for you - £90 is excessive!!

MoreBeta Thu 14-Jul-11 12:09:29

Collaborate is correct. If you don't want the security of a new 12 month contract then you can let it go to a periodic tenancy with 2 months notice on each side and no renty increase. Both sides can give 2 months notice at any time.

You do not pay a fee for a periodic tenancy as no one actually does any admin - the existing tenancy just rolls on until someone gives notice.

nocake Thu 14-Jul-11 12:19:47

Definately go with Collaborate's advice. Don't sign anything and you'll go onto a statutory periodic tenancy. It's what we've done with our tenants and it works well. No extra paperwork, no costs to either side and everyone is happy.

AbsDuCroissant Thu 14-Jul-11 12:26:59

Thanks for all the advice.

I also don't understand why the LL has it set up this way - absolutely barking. i think part of it is that they are a bit clueless about letting, what the renting market is like (just after we moved in he came around to visit and said "oh yeah, I had no idea. The LA just said I should as £x for rent, and I thought that sounded good". I wish we'd known this before! we already negotiated the rent down, we could have negotiated even further!).

Will look at the contract, but may also contact the LL and get their views. I know the LL is keen to have tenants that stay long term (which is why they're insisting on a 12 month lease), so maybe if I can convince them to just continue month by month and that we're not planning on moving any time soon, that will help.

We defo want to stay in the flat - it's lovely, great area and an incredibly good price given its size, condition and location (another similar sized flat when for 1/3 more in our building).

superdollyfragilistic Thu 14-Jul-11 12:30:40

Of course in a periodic tenancy you only have 2 months security. as LL can give you 2 months notice at any time. I would prefer the security myself, rather than having to move at Christmas for example.
If you move you will have to pay for another tenancy agreement in any case.

nocake Thu 14-Jul-11 12:31:40

You don't have to convince them. It is your legal right to not sign a new contract and go onto a statutory periodic tenancy. If you are a good tenant and continue to pay the rent there is very little the LL can do to force you to sign a new contract.

LRDTheFeministNutcase Thu 14-Jul-11 12:37:45

Mine charged us £110 and said if we did not sign a new contract they would evict us. We were furious as they'd previously said we didn't have to pay to renew. We ended up paying because we can't afford to move right now, but fortunately our landlord thinks they are scammers and has decided they will deal with us directly and will get rid of the lettings agent. It might be worth asking your landlord directly what they think - ours were shocked to find we'd been forced to sign a new tenancy; they would have been quite happy with it going over to periodic.

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