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Marisol
26-03-2009, 01:28 AM
We started renting our house May last year on a 6 month AST. When this ran out in November the LA tried to get us to sign another 6 month AST but we said we preferred to go onto periodic. The landlord agreed to this.

However the LA sent us an invoice for a £58 charge 'for going onto periodic tenancy' . They would have charged us the same fee for another AST.

On advice from Shelter we wrote refusing to pay this. Shelter had told me that the period tenancy is what automatically happens in law when the AST expires, no work is required to be done by the agent. I told them that and they replied that it was still due 'to cover their admin'.

I ignored their last letter and thought they had given up, but a few days ago they sent another letter saying if we didn't pay they woulld take it from our damage deposit when we leave. The deposit is registered (I think) with TDS ? is that right? But surely the deposit is for any damage caused?

They say the charge was detailed when we signed to Tenancy agreeement and that is actually true, but we only saw that the day we moved in so didn't really have an option not to sign. Anyway isn't this classed as an 'unfair contract term'?

I really don't want to pay this LA £58 for doing nothing. I am mad with them anyway as they have been inefficent and rude throughout the tenancy.

( One thing they did was to advertise the property as having a working fire which when we moved in we found was disconnected, the saga of this went on for months with plenty of lies from their staff (fire cannot be fixed, etc) and I had to threaten them with court before it was finally fixed in January, - took the gasfitter less than hour to do and he said was a simple job.)

I suppose we could not pay the last month's rent when we move out - so they don't get the chance to take the 'fee'.

Or I could try and get in touch with the landlord and complain to him? They are probably ripping him off as well!

Lawcruncher
26-03-2009, 09:33 AM
Outrageous!

Shelter are right.

The agent cannot take the fee from the deposit because the deposit covers breaches of the tenancy agreement. The parties to the agreement are you and the landlord - the agent is not a party. Apart from that it cannot be deducted because it is not payable.

Marisol
26-03-2009, 12:04 PM
Thanks for your reply.

So what is my best course of action here? Do I report them to Trading Standards, ARLA (says they're members on their letterheads) etc? Try to get in touch with the landlord? (They live abroad though - but we've had contact with their relatives). Complain to TDS?

Or just say nothing and when we leave don't pay the final month's rent so they have to use the deposit for that and can't get their fee?

Marisol
26-03-2009, 13:00 PM
Thanks for that.

Good letter! I will try that. The only thing though is that I will have to leave out the sentence beginning 'Furthermore I was not made aware of this charge ...." because on looking back through the paperwork before we started the tenancy and they sent out apllication forms etc, there was a 'Tenant information sheet' which actually does mention it...(Oops) ... It's still unenforceable though, right? Or not?

When we had heard no more about this charge for a couple of months I thought they had finally had the decency to realise they shouldn't have messed us around re the fire etc etc and were quietly dropping it without admitting they were wrong. And now this! I can't believe the cheek of them! I now feel that I want to stop them making this charge to other people (must be a nice little earner for them).

We always pay the rent on time (which we didn't haggele over, although it is rather expensive) have been amenable to visits, keep the house nice etc. In contrast they have been inefficient and unprofessional.

Also the gas safety cert ran out in February, although they have made noises about getting this done, nothing has happend yet. Are they in breach of something here?

Added to that, when we moved in we were told that although the LL supplied appliance, (washing machine, fridge/freezer, etc) he would not be responsible for their repair. This was detailed in an 'Addendum' to the Tenancy Agreement. At the time we just accepted this, but now I am thinking 'are they really allowed to do that?' So, experts on LandlordZone, are they?

If they want to play silly ...... so can we!

Paul_f
26-03-2009, 14:52 PM
Don't forget that if you write to the agent they must within 21 days send you the landlord's name & address, even if they live abroad otherwise they will be committing a criminal act (S.1 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985). You can then directly contact your landlord.