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tyler123
07-02-2010, 15:52 PM
We're in the process of moving property because our current landlord is selling up. Whilst we have not been asked to leave (we're on a periodic tenancy) we decided that when we saw something suitable we would. Mainly because we didn't really want to have to live with having viewings for however many months and also we are looking to buy in the next 6-9 months, so the sooner we get started on a 6 month tenancy the better. The property is not a typical buy to let property so very unlikely to be sold with sitting tenants.

We filled in the tenancy agreement with the new letting agent, and that stated once that is done "we will apply for your references. This process, for which a fee of 55 pounds is payable is carried out by an authorised and completely independent company"

Last week, whilst on holiday abroad we get two voicemail messages from the 'completely independent company' stating we needed to pay our current letting agents a fee for providing references.

Surely the above quote states that the reference fee of 55 pounds covers this cost. If it is unusual for a letting agent to charge for providing them then why is this a cost we should cover? (this cost is not detailed in our original contract with our current letting agent).

I'm a little annoyed to be honest, that our current letting agents would actually charge for this. It feels a little like blackmail, as without references we may not be able to get a new tenancy agreement. We have been more than reasonable I feel, it's not really our choice to move, we've waited in for the estate agent to do the initial measurements, waited in for the energy performance guy, said we are happy for the estate agent to be given a key and our alarm code to conduct viewings etc.

Anyway, my question is should I try and ask current letting agent to waive the fee, or argue that new letting agent should cover the fee in their reference fee?

Thanks

tom999
07-02-2010, 17:04 PM
Agents sometimes have a habit of adding on fees when you least expect it.

Have you tried contacting the landlord directly for a reference?

tyler123
07-02-2010, 17:18 PM
We've only just returned from a week's holiday so not queried anything yet or been in touch with the landlord.

But seeing if we can provide landlord's details to avoid the agency fee is another option to consider.

I don't know how favourably they think of us right now though, I know they were hoping we would stay until the house was sold and they sent us a letter emphasising that fact. And currently there is an issue with them wanting us to remove the backdoor that leads from the kitchen to the conservatory. It was in the garage when we moved in but the letting agent advised it could be reinstated when we first looked round which we did ourselves when winter time approached (required only screws to rehang). The landlady states that we didn't have permission to do this and the door makes the room look small (they are describing the conservatory as a kitchen extension on the sales info!) and have asked us via the agent to remove it, I have told them I will remove it when we leave the property but that unless they want to contribute to our heating bills it will remain

jrsteeve
07-02-2010, 19:24 PM
Your issue is with your current letting agent/landlord, not the new agents. Unless it's within your tenancy agreement etc I can't see their fee for providing a reference being enforceable. Just provide your landlord's details, it's in their interest to give a decent reference or you won't be able to move, and they won't be able to sell!

What?Estate
07-02-2010, 19:47 PM
Agents sometimes have a habit of adding on fees when you least expect it.

Have you tried contacting the landlord directly for a reference?

tom999 - is being a bit unfair tarring all with the same brush. Many agents will let you know if there are any fees at the start of negotiations, will issue an itemised invoice at the time you pay your holding fee, clearly showing the breakdown of rent, deposit and any reference fees and the balance to pay on completion.

If they are an ARLA accredited agent there can be no hidden profits, so no nasty surprises should be in store for you.

Again, if your current agent is trying to charge for supplying references to the new agent, check your tenancy agreement. I've known it to happen, usually they are trying it on. It's a five minute job to complete a reference request and in my opinion doesn't warrant any charge at all.

tyler123
07-02-2010, 19:50 PM
There's nothing mentioned about fees for references mentioned in our tenancy agreement

Snorkerz
07-02-2010, 19:52 PM
check your tenancy agreement.

Agents fees should not be in the tenancy agreement - this is an agreement between landlord and tenant.

tom999
07-02-2010, 19:53 PM
tom999 - is being a bit unfair tarring all with the same brush...Read the word "sometimes" in post #2.

tyler123: Your contract is with the landlord, not the agent. If the tenancy agreement does not mention any fees for references, then they are not payable by you.

tyler123
07-02-2010, 19:55 PM
Just provide your landlord's details, it's in their interest to give a decent reference or you won't be able to move, and they won't be able to sell!

Our landlords haven't given us notice to move, and naturally would prefer to have rent coming in whilst they are waiting for the property to sell (the property was on the market for a year without selling before we moved in over 18 months ago). We were sent a letter indicating they wouldn't serve notice until completion but for the reasons given in my opening post, when we saw somewhere nice came up for rent it was in our best interests to move sooner rather than later.

What?Estate
07-02-2010, 19:58 PM
Agents fees should not be in the tenancy agreement - this is an agreement between landlord and tenant.


There can be if the landlord is authorising the agent to charge fees for referencing, changing agreements, bounced payments, interest etc. Otherwise there should be a separate agreement between the agent and the tenant. In the absence of either they have no right to charge for them. I would recommend that you speak to the new agent and let them know what is going on and give them the landlord's details rather than the agent.

tyler123
07-02-2010, 20:06 PM
I'll be speaking to our new agent tomorrow, and hopefully can get it sorted then. It's not even a huge sum of money, it just annoys me when I feel we've been more than helpful regarding the house sale. Also annoyed that the credit reference people have called us directly, in my mind there is no reason for them to be given our mobile numbers, and any problems they should go back to the letting agent not to us.

We don't give our mobile numbers out widely, our current letting agents and our new letting agents knew we were on holiday, so we thought a voice message was something very important so incurred charges abroad to listen to the multiple messages left.

What?Estate
07-02-2010, 20:13 PM
Read the word "sometimes" in post #2.

tyler123: Your contract is with the landlord, not the agent. If the tenancy agreement does not mention any fees for references, then they are not payable by you.

tom999 - apologies, I take it back. :o)

tyler123
08-02-2010, 12:27 PM
The landlord wants to do everything via the agent unfortunately, so time to go argue with the letting agent I guess.

dominic
08-02-2010, 12:48 PM
But you don't yet have a tenancy agreement with the new LL, do you?

If you did, what would be the point of the references?

To the extent the agent acts as "principal" in selling reference services to T, T does have a contract with the agent.

tyler123
08-02-2010, 13:10 PM
Our current landlord is not willing to provide references directly, only via the agency.

Earlier posts led me to believe that it is our current landlord and current letting agent we should take up the issue with, nothing to do with future landlord/agent

We have paid a credit check reference fee to the new agent, as per their terms and conditions. The credit check reference company have been in touch with us directly and stated that our current agent wants us to pay a fee before giving a reference (and also stated this is unusal)

Subway
08-02-2010, 19:24 PM
It's your current agency that are causing the trouble.

Ask the LL for a reference direct as the agency are charging a fee.

If she refused you can then just pay the fee but then tell the LL/ agent you are reviewing the position regarding viewings and will now be charging a fee equal to the one they charged you. :D

tyler123
09-02-2010, 11:23 AM
If she refused you can then just pay the fee but then tell the LL/ agent you are reviewing the position regarding viewings and will now be charging a fee equal to the one they charged you. :D

It's very tempting!

I've had a conversation with them today and they seem to think they're being generous because they're only charging for one person despite it being a joint tenancy agreement!

Ha, how on earth could they give us seperate references anyway on a joint tenancy agreement?

I'm waiting on a call back to see if the big boss man is prepared to waive it.

There comes a time when the hassle outweighs the cost of the references, but then that's what they rely on I guess.

bedlington83
09-02-2010, 12:39 PM
To the extent the agent acts as "principal" in selling reference services to T, T does have a contract with the agent.
The agent isn't selling reference services to the tenant though, he's selling them to the landlord (albeit about and paid for by the prospective tenant).

jrsteeve
09-02-2010, 13:54 PM
A verbal reference takes literally 30 seconds, so the charge is laughable. If they're a member of ARLA etc i'd threaten them with a complaint as frankly I don't see how it's enforceable unless you've signed something allowing them to do this.

tyler123
09-02-2010, 16:15 PM
Woo hoo, I win!

After a little discussion with the letting agent earlier, they've agreed to waive the fees on this occasion. How noble of them :-)

Snorkerz
09-02-2010, 18:58 PM
Well done - another success for LLZ