This Is How I Helped My Friend Avoid Paying A Tenancy Renewal Fee

It was only a few weeks ago that I was having a mental ejaculation about how I thought it was unfair that tenants are charged admin fees and renewal fees, so it’s pretty good timing that this whole incident occurred.

Quick reminder of why I believe Tenancy Renewal Fees are unfair

Yes, i’m a broken record, I’ve already said this crap so many times…

The agents already make money for managing the property, and they already charged the landlord a premium to find the tenants! The agent has already been paid a lot of money for their services! They’re not providing any additional services for allowing the same landlord keep the same tenant after the fixed term in the tenant agreement.

In a lot of cases, letting agents charge both landlord and tenant for renewing an agreement. Why? I don’t agree with the fee, but if they’re going to charge renewal fees, why charge both landlord and tenant? It’s like they’re double charging.

Let’s not forget, the labour behind a tenancy renewal…

Tenancy Renewal Fee

How A Tenant Avoided Renewal Fees

In this instance, I’m helping my friend, the tenant, avoid the renewal fee. In the past, as a landlord, I also avoided the fee, Avoiding Tenancy Renewal Fees.

My friend’s Tenancy Agreement is approaching the end of the fixed term, but fortunately both he and the landlord are happy for the tenancy to continue as is.

The landlord uses a letting agent to manage the property, so for the tenancy to continue, the agent wanted a new tenancy agreement signed up, which they charged a “tenancy renewal fee” for. I’ve seen some agents charge £90+ for that privilege. What a joke.

Anyways, my friend received this letter from the landlord’s agent…

Tenancy Renewal Fee Letter

My friend asked me if there was anyway he could avoid this fee because he also thought it was unjustified. I told him to send them the following email, and see what happens (I was probably more curious than he was):

Hey,

I don’t need any of the terms and conditions in the existing tenancy agreement to change, so I’m for the tenancy to become periodic, avoiding any additional labour.

I’m happy to discuss this directly with the landlord if there are any problems with this arrangement.

Kind regards

As the email clarified, if the tenancy becomes periodic, there’s no extra work required, consequently the agency can’t charge for any labour. It was also important to specify that my friend is happy to discuss this with the landlord, incase the agents try and pull a fast one e.g. completely refuse the idea without even discussing it with the landlord.

The agents responded with something like this:

Hey [insert tenant name],

We’ve discussed this with the Landlord and he is happy for the tenancy become periodic.

Kind regards,
Agent.

Fair play to the agents, they didn’t dismiss the idea, they were cool with it. A lot of agents probably wouldn’t have played ball so easily. Although, I’m not entirely sure if they still charged the landlord a renewal fee. It wouldn’t make much sense if they did.

Yeah, so that’s how it all went down.

A quick reminder of what a periodic tenancy is…

At the end of the term if the tenancy agreement is not renewed, it then becomes what is known as a Statutory Periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. The terms of the original tenancy agreement still apply, but the tenancy continues on an agreed period by period basis.

But, remember…

Some landlords won’t be happy with the idea of a tenancy becoming periodic, which is completely understandable. Many landlords would prefer securing long-term agreements (although I’m not one of them, because I believe short-term tenancies rule!), so this option may not always be approved by the landlord.

Tenants may also want a more long-term arrangement secured on paper, so they can’t be unexpectedly asked to vacate the property. But the advantages of a periodic tenancy is that it offers more flexibility to both landlord and tenant. And if both tenant and landlord are both happy with the agreement, there’s no reason why a periodic agreement couldn’t last for years. The odds are that if the landlord and tenant want the tenancy agreement to continue, they’re both happy with one another anyways.

Not all agents charge renewal fees

There are agents that don’t charge tenancy renewal fees, and that’s a clear sign of a good letting agent, so it maybe worth looking for those rare gems. Some agents are even willing to drop the renewal fee in order to get your custom, but you’ll probably need to haggle. But remember, if you manage to swing the deal, make sure you get it confirmed in writing. You don’t want anything nasty swinging around and punching you in the ass, which is often the outcome when dealing with agents :)

Most of the times the renewal fee clause is buried with in the small print, and often slips the agent’s mind, so you probably won’t hear about it until it’s time to renew. Funny that. So it’s best to always enquire about it if they don’t mention anything.

Like this post? Then maybe you should sign up to my FREE newsletter so you receive more like it!

93 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 43 - 93 comments (out of 93)
Guest Avatar
Rach 2nd February, 2015 @ 19:18

The statistics are so because many landlords are not aware of how the arbitration process work. If they kept receipts and invoices of everything and documentation that gives an idea how long things should last before they break, and last but not least, make sure they get a proper, detailed inventory done professionally, then they have a good case before the arbitrator should it come to that.

This blog post explains the situation with the statistic you quoted pretty succinctly.

http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2012/03/12/all-tenancy-deposit-adjudicators-are-biased-against-landlords-discuss/

Once most landlords learn this, the percentage of landlords winning arbitration will rise and you won't see landlords complaining the system is against them or whatever. It is not. They just have to educate themselves really. I mean I'm a tenant and I bother to research this stuff myself in my free time, so why can't landlords do the same?

There are a lot of casual landlords around who don't know these things and just want to make some money out of the lettings market.

43
Guest Avatar
Benji 3rd February, 2015 @ 09:34

@Rach,

Once most landlords learn this, the percentage of landlords winning arbitration will rise

No it won't.

This has been in for years now.
The latest figures (2014) show a decrease in landlords winning.
Pro landlords have learnt how to use the system or work round it.
Casual landlords (as you call them) are the ones getting caught out by this. New landlords enter the market every day.

44
Guest Avatar
Rach 3rd February, 2015 @ 12:25

If casual landlords are willing to spend some time educating themselves before renting out their properties, then the rates of them winning arbitration will increase.

I stand by that. It makes sense. The article I linked to clearly states that your statistic is because landlords are NOT educating themselves. Therefore if they did your statistic would change.

Are people seriously too dumb and lazy and greedy to take a bit of time to research the legalities of their chosen new occupation and then cry over spilt milk when they get rightfully punished for not doing their homework?

45
Guest Avatar
Benji 3rd February, 2015 @ 14:39

Therefore if they did your statistic would change.

If they did of course it would change.

But they haven't in the past and they won't in the future, therefore the statistic won't change- at least not in the way you claim. If anything the statistic will get worse as professional landlords shift away from using ADR.

I'm not convinced 'casual' landlords are rightfully punished by the ADR process when some lowlife has smashed up their property but hey ho, that's life.

46
Guest Avatar
Ray Comer 3rd February, 2015 @ 15:47

To be fair I think the laziness in researching obligations under a tenancy agreement relate to both tenant and landlord. I have a huge amount of my time taken up by explaining how an ast works to people who just couldn't be bothered to find out BEFORE they signed it; who never produced/signed/read/disputed the inventory; who expect the agent to repair the landlords property for free; who think the agent IS the landlord because they accept the rent. Its scary that so many people enter into a legally binding agreement with only the most scant regard to what it actually entails.

If both parties starting doing what they are supposed to do, and used the system that is in place, the number of disputes would go down.

47
Guest Avatar
Rach 3rd February, 2015 @ 15:49

I doubt those lowlifes know much about the law or the arbitration process. Just like the casual landlords too lazy to educate themselves. The law is about playing fair, so landlords can't make it up as they go along, which has happened too much in the past. The point is clear. Get a proper inventory done, keep your receipts, invoices, evidence. Paper trail. Cover your backs.
And the same goes for the tenants as well.

Too many tenants can tell you how they are used to landlords in the past getting their own way. I have my own stories to tell. People have even come to accept things the way they were and just aim to buy their own home so they can get out of the lettings market. I know people who went on interest only mortgages knowing fair well they'll never be able to pay it off when time comes but they tell me they're doing it because at least they can escape the renting malarkey and dealing with problematic landlords and agents.

See, renting in England just sucks.

This law is actually a step in the right direction. Not perfect, but a move in the right direction. I hope it gets better than that. We would not have a nation of primarily home owners if the rental market wasn't so shit.

48
Guest Avatar
Dani 25th April, 2015 @ 07:58

I have received new 12 month fixed term AST. Rent the same. Agents fee £105

Do I have to sign?

Current fixed term ends 1 June and tenancy contract states it becomes periodic after that date.

I have in writing letter saying no rent increase for one year.

49
Guest Avatar
ray comer 27th April, 2015 @ 10:43

No you don't. If your current agreement says it will go onto a periodic tenancy then that's what will happen, no need to sign new agreement, no need to pay a fee.

50
Guest Avatar
Dani 27th April, 2015 @ 10:47

Thank you Ray

51
Guest Avatar
London Landlord 9th May, 2015 @ 09:07

Help! I'm a landlord who came across this awesome post and convinced my tenants to move onto a PT. The lettings agent responded to my email informing them of the situation as follows:

"Thank you for your email. I am pleased you have reached an agreement, as long as you are aware of the potential pitfalls of a Statutory Periodic Tenancy.

We tend to advise clients not to opt for this option as you could potentially be left with a vacant property during winter. Please bear in mind they would only need to give 1 months’ notice should they wish to leave.

In terms of billing for the extension, it is perhaps impractical to invoice you for each month at a time that they stay on for. Would you suggest one single bill at the end of their stay? Of course this would be at the reduced rate of 5% plus vat as pre-agreed."

I'm stumped - what should I do??

Thank you!

52
Guest Avatar
Debra Dickson 16th July, 2015 @ 21:31

I have been a tenant for nearly 18years now my landlord wants to start charging me £149.50 administration charges. By the way I don't deal with a letting agent I pay my landlord direct in cash.
I have always had a good relationship with my landlord and now feel like I don't want to
make waves and cause any bad feeling, but feel like it's totally unjustified.

Please can you help

Thank you

53
Guest Avatar
Vickkie 27th August, 2015 @ 14:00

I am quite happy to pay an admin fee for renewing my tenancy for 12 months - however my letting agents just told me it would be £150!!! I told them to shove it and I will go into a periodic tenancy - which the landlord isn't happy about. I have offered them an amount I think is reasonable to copy and past a document and change the date. I pay my rent on time, bills on time and have actually improved the property. Absolutely disgusted with how letting agents are allowed to rip people off!!

54
Guest Avatar
Ray Comer 27th August, 2015 @ 14:16

You can always vote with your feet Vickkie and find another property, if the landlord isn't happy about a periodic tenancy then you may have to do that anyway.

Debra, if your landlord wants to start charging you a fee then he needs to have made that clear before you signed the current agreement

London landlord, if they are not arranging the extension then ask them what are they charging for? They can't charge you unless they have made you aware of it previously and certainly not if they haven't had to do anything to make the extension happen.

55
Guest Avatar
Allan 15th December, 2015 @ 00:47

Just went to my "agent" to get a proof of rent form filled in for the local council to pay my rent.I had an accident at work and can't work until I've had an operatation.On the form it asks for landlord or agent to complete. The agent said its against company policy to complete forms for the Tennant.The reason I needed the form filled in is because when I renew my 12 month lease £75+vat I never actually get a new lease just a new TDS agreement. I had to arrange to go to the landlord and get the form filled in he asked why the agent wouldn't fill it in as its their job,why didn't I have a new tennancy agreement? (This is my first time renting I lost my own house due to legal fees to gain access to my son) I'm also 55 so too old for a new mortgage

56
Guest Avatar
James 26th April, 2016 @ 09:02

From someone who runs their own business I would never dream of charging a customer to renew their contract with me. In fact if I even attempted this I'd soon lose customers and my reputation. Issuing renewals is a "cost of business" that I need to build in to my margins.

Agents continue to get away with this antiquated pricing model quite simply because they can. And until landlords, as well as tenants, start clamping down on this approach of course nothing will change.

57
Guest Avatar
YVONNE 2nd May, 2016 @ 20:50

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF I AM OBLIGED BY LAW TO PAY THE LETTING AGENT THE SO CALLED RENEWAL FEES. THEY HAVE DONE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING EXCEPT SEND ME A NEW CONTRACT FOR THE NEW YEAR. THE AMOUNT IS £145+VAT.

I HAVE SO FAR REFUSED TO PAY, AND HAVE BEEN TOLD THEY WOULD BE TAKING THE MATTER TO A SMALL CLAIMS COURT.

ANY ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

58
Guest Avatar
SKM 2nd May, 2016 @ 21:05

Essentially the agents are a business of sorts. They set the terms and conditions of providing you with services. If you don't like their terms of service (i.e pay a renewal fee to continue staying there), you can take your custom elsewhere (i.e move out or find another agent) but the law does not give you the right to stay there in the agent's property if you don't agree to their terms and conditions.

You could go above the agent and contact your landlord about this issue. The landlord is bound by contact to the agent, so cannot do a lot more for you (for e.g. let you not pay them the fees) without breaking the terms of the contract. If the landlord gets rid of the agent and manages the property him/herself however, then you may not have this problem again, but it really depends whether your landlord is willing to do that ot not.

59
Guest Avatar
YVONNE 2nd May, 2016 @ 21:20

Thanks very much for your reply.

I read somewhere that it is illegal for agents to charge you for what they are already charging the landlord for, is this correct?
The landlord is already paying for the new tenancy agreement.

Also the agent has said the money is for administration costs( credit checks, guarantor checks e.t.c.) and they have done none of these.

60
Guest Avatar
SKM 2nd May, 2016 @ 21:38

It's not illegal for agents to charge a fee for renewal. It is illegal however for them not to make sure all prospective and current tenants are aware of the fees and the amounts... So the law says now all agents should display their list of fees openly on their website, on their office documents to tenants, etc...

So basically agents can still charge fees (and charge whatever fees they like even), but what they cannot do is they cannot spring the fees on tenants out of the blue without previously making it clear how much fees were and for what.

The law says that tenants *can* have ASTs (Assured Shorthold Tenancies - short term tenancies lasting for 6 mths usually) converted into monthly rolling contracts after the AST period is over... However the law also allows for agents to charge renewal fees if they want, as long as all tenants were made aware of the fees and the amounts beforehand. And usually agents who charge renewal fees will not allow tenants to exercise their legal right to have theit ASTs converted into monthly rolling contracts. If a tenant insists on exercising that right regardless of the agent's disapproval, then what can happen is that the agent can work with the landlord to evict such tenants legally through serving a section 21 notice at the end of said tenants' AST period, which will enable the landlord/agent to regain possession of the property within 2 mths of serving the notice.

So basically you've got the law saying this or that, but in effect it is all down to the individuals involved how it all pans out.

61
Guest Avatar
SKM 2nd May, 2016 @ 21:49

It is also very common for agents to make money on both ends by the way - i.e. charging both landlord and tenants renewal fees etc.

If you think you can conclusively prove the agent did not perform a service for which you have paid them to do (for e.g. the credit checks) you could take them to small claims court for "services not rendered" perhaps?

62
Guest Avatar
Kirsty 8th August, 2016 @ 08:44

ive been on a rolling contract for the past 2 years after my initial fixed term of 12 months finished. My estate agent has recently suggested to my landlord to increase rent in line with local properties and then informed us by telephone of the increase. We reluctantly agreed as the new price is still fair. We got the new contracts posted with a covering letter stating there was £60 fee to pay. They hadn't told us we would have to pay any fees when we were informed of the increase. We contacted the estate agent and asked why we had to pay fees when we didn't ask for the contract to be changed and they stated that the landlord also has fees himself to pay for. Surely the landlord should be responsible for all fees if he's the one who has decided to change the contract?

63
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th August, 2016 @ 11:32

@Kirsty

Seems a bit unfair that you have to pay for the privilege of paying more rent- I agree, the landlord should be responsible. Also, the agent should have at least warned you of the fee before agreeing to the increase (but maybe you should have asked at the same time?).

I'm not even sure *why* the agent needs to charge anything for a rent increase, because presumably they'll make more money regardless, because landlords usually pay the agent a % of the rental income.

In my opinion, I'd be reluctant to pay for those reasons. Plus, it would cost the landlord more money to replace you (needless to say, the agent's would stand to make more money in that situation).

In conclusion, yes, I agree, the landlord should pay. But also, the agents are just being... agents, so I'm not entirely surprised.

64
Guest Avatar
Ray Comer 8th August, 2016 @ 11:56

What are the terms of the new agreement in regards to length of tenancy? They may have tried to get you back onto a fixed term tenancy in which case your periodic tenancy ends and you may become liable for renewal fees again in the future.

65
Guest Avatar
Kirsty 8th August, 2016 @ 12:05

It's the same as my last one, 12 months fixed and then it will go onto rolling contract. I think they've had to do a new contract simply because of the increase. Could I ask for the contract to remain the same and just agree the increase? I'm sure the landlord wouldn't object

66
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th August, 2016 @ 12:14

@Kirsty
In theory, they could just increase the rent with a Section 13 notice- that's not a new tenancy, just a rent increase note.

67
Guest Avatar
Rach 9th August, 2016 @ 12:05

Hi Kirusty, in my experience, both landlords and tenants get charged the same when there are amendments made to rental contracts. So renewal of tenancies, increase in rent, etc. All these require a change in the contract terms, even if it is as simple as just opening up the Microsoft Word document on the agent's computer, deleting and typing in a few letters and numbers in the existing contract Word file, and then clicking "print" and collecting the printout of the new amended contract. This the agent charges £60 fees for, and they will charge both their clients (landlord and tenant) for.

I don't like it but when an agent is involved, both landlord and tenant have to play by their terms. After all, when the landlord decided to use an agent to manage their affairs, they signed a contract with the agent agreeing to play by the agent's terms in exchange for the agent to manage their homes for them. When we tenants decide to utilise agents to get a home to rent, we also signed a contract with the agent at the time agreeing to play by the agent's terms if we accept a property the agent sourced for us.

Read your contract terms with the agent and landlord very carefully to see if they have inserted any clause in the contract stipulating that you will agree to pay these fees in exchange for acceptance of the tenancy. Chances are the agent has already slipped in a clause like that but you might be lucky ... you might spot something in contractual terms that might help your case in refusing to pay that fee.

Failing that, another way to get out of this situation is for your landlord to ditch the agent and DIY this process themselves.

68
Guest Avatar
Rach 9th August, 2016 @ 12:07

*apologies for typos in my previous post... using a new phone and I need to figure out how to disable the autocorrect!

69
Guest Avatar
ray comer 9th August, 2016 @ 14:54

Rach - I'm not sure where you have rented before Rach but certainly in the UK it would be very unusual/unlikely that a tenant would have any sort of contract with the agent. The agent has(or should have)a management service contract with the landlord as it is the landlord they are working for; to have one with the tenant would be a direct conflict of interest as they cannot advice the landlord and tenant best interests at the same time.I think you may be confusing a tenancy agreement, which contains the terms and conditions of the tenancy, with a service contract which would contain the duties the agent is carrying out on your behalf?

Kirsty - there are three ways to increase the rent; 1) contractually - where an rent increase, perhaps annually, has been agreed at the start of the tenancy 2) as The Landlord correctly says by serving a S13 notice; with this the tenant must either challenge it within the 14 days or they are deemed to have accepted it, or 3) by mutual agreement.

You have opted for 3

None of them require a new tenancy agreement, only 2 & 3 require some sort of acceptance from the tenant so yes, you could tell them and the landlord that you agree to the increase but want to stay on a periodic tenancy rather than paying for another fixed term which you don't need or want.

70
Guest Avatar
Rach 9th August, 2016 @ 15:36

Ray I think I might have used the wrong wording earlier. I was referring to the tenancy agreement, yes. I stand by the sentiment I was trying to express. When the landlord uses an agent to manage the property then the agent is in fact acting more or less in the capacity of the landlord, on behalf of the landlord. The tenancy agreement may be between the tenant and the landlord in name, but the agent is the go between and often, agents are the only point of contact for a tenant wishing to discuss matters with the landlord. I have even had agents try to block contact between me and the landlord when I was dissatisfied with the agent's conduct and wished to let the landlord know. There would likely be a clause in the tenancy agreement, which the agent drew up for the landlord, and it would probably say something along the lines of "tenant agrees to pay all necessary fees... Fees will be recouped in the event of non payment through the deposit or some such... ...etc" ... It doesn't matter how crooked the whole thing is set up to benefit the agent in all of this, but they can and do wield some power over the tenant, as long as the landlord continues to use them and goes along with what they propose.

Kirsty, you may wish to proceed to dispute the fees, but it might be a case of the landlord being bound by contract to the agent and even if the landlord disagrees with the fees, they cannot not go along with it because they would have signed the contract agreeing to how the agent chooses to manage things and fees etc. They might also actually prefer to go with whatever the agent says... Its hard to tell from here, what your landlord really wants or thinks about this. So at the end of the day, you would just feel pushed to pay it for the threat of losing the property you rent looms... It's not right. I hope these agent fees are outlawed, but until they do, there might be little to do against them other than to pay up. The only way to avoid all this is if the landlord ditches this agent really... And either find another who doesn't behave this way, or deal with you directly rather than go through an agent...

If you have a good relationship with the landlord and can have a chat with the landlord directly about this issue, you will get a clearer idea as to what options are really viable for you. Then you can go from there with more certainty as to how to deal with the agent in this matter.

I hope it all gets resolved in the end for you. Good luck 👍

71
Guest Avatar
Kirsty 11th August, 2016 @ 07:50

We explained to the estate agents that we can't afford fees as well as a rent increase and that we thought it was unfair that we should pay when the landlord was the one who requested a change. They said the landlord has his own fees to pay for. They also said that their fees are clearly listed online which is why they didn't tell us on the phone when the rent increase was discussed. They asked us to send an email so we did. They replied that they wouldn't waiver the fees but suggested we pay £20 monthly for 3 months instead of a lump sum. How kind of them. They said that they don't charge fees for things like mid term inspection, contracts at the beginning of tenancy and check in/check out fees so basically we should count ourselves lucky.
Thankyou for advice though

72
Guest Avatar
Luke 14th October, 2016 @ 03:10

I had a phone call off my agent who asked if I'd like to extend my contract as it's coming up for initial renewal, I said yes and they said it's £75 for 6 months or £120 for 12 months, I couldn't believe it, we weren't made aware of any fees like this until now and we haven't signed anything regarding renewal fees, what should we do?

Can I request landlords contact information as we only have a name and an address which is the agents address

73
Guest Avatar
Ray 14th October, 2016 @ 07:31

When did your tenancy start? Since May 2015 agents must have advertised all of their fees. If you have never been advised of the fees by them, either in paperwork or via their adverts, website etc then you could probably argue your way out of having to pay this time.

You can ask for the landlords name and address, the agent is obligated by law to provide it within 21 days but they do not have to give you any other contact details, phone or email etc.

74
Guest Avatar
Imt 2nd December, 2016 @ 19:11

Hi, I'm in a sticky situation.

Me and my partner moved in to a place in Nov 2016, and now a month later the agent wants us to pay renewal fees for a renewal of contract for next year Nov 2017. They, without our permission, booked a viewing in our home for another person. They did this viewing without informing us that viewings will be taking place and that the house will be going back on the market for rent for next year Nov 2017.

They said that they are obliged to ensure "the house is occupied all the time for the landlord". The landlord had no idea about this either and is happy for me and my partner to decide by the end of January 2016 - personally I still believe this is way too early to decide on renewing a fixed term 12 month contract but I know I'll be staying here for another year anyway. I mean surely these things are decided upon 3-6 months before the end of the contract? I'm even happy for this to go on a Shorthold tenancy.

They now insist that we pay £200 (each I believe - full admin fee!) for the renewal of contract for next year so they can take the house of the market again.... What pisses me off the most though is that even if I renew, it will not stop them from bringing strangers in to my home next November or December! They did not even ask us first if we want to stay on for next year, without our knowledge they booked a viewing and they just sent an email telling us on what day and time the viewing will take place.

I must note that in the contract there is no mention of fees from the agent, no mention of viewings and when they will be taking place. No mention of the "landlord's agent" doing anything. No mention of this at all - even rent can't be increased till the fixed term ends! I've read through the contract multiple times and there is nothing mentioning when renewals will be taking place - no strangely worded language or fine prints! When I asked the agent of renewal fees, they said there was no such thing with them (this was only done verbally - their website has nothing either). It never struck my mind that would put the house back on market once I moved in though ( which I find to be a dirty move) and schedule viewings without my consent. There is no language in the contract that allows the "agent" to supersede my decisions.

They said they have the "right to do viewings" however in the contract it only mentions the "Landlord and the Landlords contractors" to enter the home with 24 hours notice for repair work at reasonable time of day or for emergencies. The agency is only defined in the contract as the Landlords Agent not contractors. Does this not mean that I have the right to lock my door and not let them in?

Also I even have a print out of their website where again there is no mention of renewal fees for tenants, only the landlord has renewal fees! I don't know what to do, this stuff has popped out of no where and I find it scummy that they put the house back on market when I basically just moved in - I haven't even received my first bills for anything yet either!

I'm sorry for the wall of text, when I was looking to rent I thought all this housing nonsense was over - but to have it pop up again so close to the end of the year has me stressed once more. Thank you for taking the time to read through this.

75
Guest Avatar
K conran 4th January, 2017 @ 12:54

My daughter is at Uni and rents her house with 3 friends. They wish to renew for a further year. However one of the tenants is not renewing and so they have found a friend to take her place. (So 4 tenants to continue with tenancy but one name change). The agents have written to my daughter and her friends to say that they must move out for 2 weeks, have the place inspected, deposit paid back and then pay a new deposit and new fees to return and take back on the tenancy. Their justification is the one new tenant! This seems very irregular to me and also unnecessary. It would make the girls homeless with all their belongings (it's an unfurnished house) for 2 weeks. Your advice on how to proceed would be great, thanks.

76
Guest Avatar
Anna 4th January, 2017 @ 19:16

Hello,

I am currently renting a flat with a housemate since March 2015. We had a 6 months contract initially, which we had to pay the 6 months upfront (as I recently started a new job and would have failed my referencing as it was a new job .. which I am still in currently 1 year later). In September 2016, we were asked to pay £114 for a renewal of contract fee + a rent increase and 6 months upfront AGAIN (unless we pay another £300 for a new referencing check). We were ok with the rent increase, but not with the renewal of contract fee and upfront payment. I fought, wrote a letter to our landlord (as they did not want their phone number given) explaining that I wasn't against the increase in rent, but the renewal fee. They replied that they were in the middle of moving house themselves so did not have time to deal with tenancy issues, and that is why they where liaising with our estate agent to help keep us in the tenancy. Long story short, my housemate could not deal with the stress, and paid the renewal of contract fee. We borrowed and paid 6 months upfront again. Safe to say I have been mega broke ever since.
Today I receive an email about confirming if we want to stay or leave at the end of the 6 month contract on 20/03/17 - if we stay, another £114 renewal of contract fee, and have to pay 6 months upfront again (or pay £300 referencing fee to have the luxury to pay monthly like normal people). I cannot go through this again.
I am thinking of ignoring this email as I want to go onto a rolling contract. I am also thinking of writing to my landlords that it is nothing against them or the property, but to explain that we wish to go on rolling contract as we cannot afford 6 months upfront, that we refuse to pay renewal of contract fee again (and every 6 months if we continue like this), and that by law we are allowed to roll from AST to rolling contract.
Am I right!? Or will they just serve me with a section 21 if I do that
What can I do against the estate agency? I am under the impression that complaining will only make them work towards getting us evicted (even if we are right in complaining as they have bullied us, lied to us and told us various reasons as to why we needed to pay upfront, not completed repairs....)

77
Guest Avatar
Ray Comer 5th January, 2017 @ 19:47

Very simple answer to this one. The agent MUST advertise his fees on his website, in his office/s and in any online advertising. If he did then you must accept the charges; if he didn't then you don't have to pay them. The law doesn't allow you to automatically have a rolling contract UNLESS the landlord or his agent don't do anything to renew it. Unfortunately they have so that option isn't available. HOWEVER, if you don't pay the 6 months up front but offer them say, 2 months in advance every 2 months they would be mad not to accept it.

78
Guest Avatar
Anna 6th January, 2017 @ 15:23

Thank you for your reply. I am trying to get the landlord's address (as apparently they don't want to give their phone number). I know that by law they have 2 weeks to provide me with their postal address. I want to write to the landlord to ask if they would be ok about going onto a rolling contract (if no changes are to be done in the contract, which there are not). The agency are telling me they cannot give me the information, they will instead ask the landlord to contact us. They hung the phone quite abruptly as well.

The agency is also saying that we need to pay another referencing fee (£150 each) for us to be able to pay monthly, which again, I am no ready to dish out that kind of money. So I don't think they will reason and try and find a solution to this 6 months upfront payment ... Does this mean I am trap?

Thank you for your time,

Anna

79
Guest Avatar
Ray Comer 6th January, 2017 @ 20:17

Unfortunately there are too many agents like this although they are still in the minority regardless of what the media think. There is no justification in charging you £150 each to be referenced, you've paid 12 months rent already without any issues; the landlords options to get you out if you don't pay are no different now than they were when you finished your first 6 months.

Were these charges in the agents terms and conditions? have you checked their website to see if these fees are mentioned? was it in the advert? (you can usually find old zoopla or rightmove adverts with a google search for the road name or area) if not, take a screenshot and then tell them you won't pay the fee but want to stay. Make sure you pay the rent each month on or just before the day it is due. They can't evict you, only the landlord can do that and if he sees the rent coming in and you're looking after the property he probably won't want to.

They must provide you with the landlords full name and address, in writing, within 21 days of you giving them a written request. If they don't its a criminal offence and they could be fined. Once you have the address write to the landlord, explain that you have already paid the rent in full for the last 12 months, have looked after the house well (as long as you have of course) and would really like to stay but the agents i=s making it impossible. Explain that its difficult for you to find another 6 months rent in advance and ask if the landlord would consider letting you pay monthly or every two months.

You may have to accept that it might be the landlord who wants the 6 months in advance?

80
Guest Avatar
Anonymous 20th January, 2017 @ 19:12

Only read the first paragraph, but sorry I'm totally confused, why should it be free?

It isn't free to have your car washed?

81
Guest Avatar
Simon Pambin 21st January, 2017 @ 10:59

Why not read the whole article, and see if you understand it then? The gist of it is you don't have to pay a renewal fee if you don't renew the agreement. Your tenancy automatically becomes a statutory periodic tenancy, which works fine for many people, tenants and landlords alike.

Or, to use your analogy, it is free to have your car washed, if you just wait for the rain to do it!

82
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st January, 2017 @ 13:36

@Anonymous
Your analogy isn't comparative.

Would you pay for the same car twice?

@Simon
"Why not read the whole article, and see if you understand it then?"

Don't confuse the situation with common sense :)

83
Guest Avatar
Mark Blackwell 3rd February, 2017 @ 22:20

I require advice. I've just received an email from the Letting Agent advising me the landlord wants to increase the rent from £795 to £810. The Agent advises they will be charging me £125 to renew for a further 12 months (which is in their paperwork, but not that prominently displayed). I feel the rent increase is fair, but still object to the £125 in essence for some basic admin and photocopying - although I paid it last year. If the landlord has to agree to evict me do the experts think it likely they will support the Letting Agency is I refuse to pay £125, and instead offer to pay £50 as a 'reasonable' sum? Or am I bound by the paperwork to pay the £125 each year, come what may? Many thanks for any advice.

84
Guest Avatar
deborah ferrier 5th April, 2017 @ 07:29

Hi - We rented a property in Dec 2016 - we signed contract for 6 mths - due to un-forseen circumstances my and ad his wife had to go back to Scotland in January - I struggle keep up the rent but have managed to pay - I moved out and stay with my sister as the house was far too big and other payments i could not afford - We decorated ( with permission) when we moved in - we put lots of added things and also cleaned it to our standard which is very high - Dawsons phoned me to say they had got a new tennent and if we could move furniture etc out by 18th March - I packed all my sons things up as everything was his at the house - My son got a flight down on 17th March we hired a luting van to take all the belongings back o Scotland - We packed up on 18th and traveled from Swansea to Scotland , there we put all into storage as my son can't get back into his property until May 2017 - I got a call on the following Wednesday to say that the new tennents have pulled out and that I am still liable for full rent until and including May 2017 - I am distraught - I explained that we done what they asked us to do vacate by 18th March and that we now have extra costs with storage etc - wha can I do Thanks They also charged us for re advertising which was basically on for 1 day £275 plus vat

85
Guest Avatar
Dolores 12th April, 2017 @ 07:33

My lease ends the first of July, I've benn in my flat for 6 years, I have just had a letter from the Agents, if I want yo stay I must pay for a renewal lease again now 3 months before my lease ends, 3 months ahead ? Can they do this ? My land lord wants to go independent, the Agent say they can, but then they can't let the flat the flat to me, can they do this ?

86
Guest Avatar
Ray Comer 12th April, 2017 @ 10:22

Mark Blackwell - if you didn't want to pay £125 for the renewal then you shouldn't have signed the agreement!!! or you should have argued it at the time. I doubt a landlord would want to evict you if you've been a good tenant but the £125 could be succesfully claimed from your deposit at the end of the tenancy if it is stated in the tenancy agreement. Reneging on a tenancy agreement is no different to reneging on any other contract.

87
Guest Avatar
Ray Comer 12th April, 2017 @ 10:32

Deborah Ferrier - this does seem cruel but what were the terms of the early surrender of the tenancy? did they put it in writing and did you confirm in writing? While legally you are still responsible for the rent as the new tenant didn't occupy, you will have a valid claim against Dawsons if they didn't make it clear to you that you would remain liable until a new tenant took up occupation.

Ask for a copy of their complaints process; find out which redress scheme they belong to. Follow their process to put your complaint to them; see the process through and if not happy take it to the redress scheme.

You won't be able to claim the rent you are having to pay as that is contractual, you may have to pay the advertising costs if thats what they advised you when you said you could leave early, but you may have a claim for the storage costs etc if you can prove that was only incurred due to vacating early. It costs you nothing to try.

The lesson here is ALWAYS get everything in writing an check that it covers everything you need it to. Hopefully you did.

88
Guest Avatar
Ray Comer 12th April, 2017 @ 10:36

Dolores - if the agreement says that you must pay a fee then you must pay a fee; if it says three months in advance then you should pay it 3 months in advance. If it doesn't then you can pay it when it suits you.

The landlord's relationship with the agent should not effect your tenancy; you are the landlord's tenant not the agents. If he chooses to go self managed than that is between him and the agent. They may have an agreement where he has to pay them something but they can't evict you, only the landlord could do that. Speak to your landlord, tell him you'd like to stay.

89
Guest Avatar
Simon Pambin 12th April, 2017 @ 11:05

I think in Dolores' case the agent is trying it on because they're about to lose their client: the old "you can't keep the tenant we found you" routine isn't really going to hold up after six years, so they're trying to cover the other end by getting the tenant signed up to a new agreement prematurely. Where's the requirement to pay a fee? In the new agreement, which hasn't been agreed yet, so no fee is due. As Ray says, talk to the organ-grinder, not the monkey!

90
Guest Avatar
Ray Comer 12th April, 2017 @ 15:45

The reference to paying a fee would need to be in the old agreement or the agents terms of business Simon, not the new agreement as that wouldn't take effect until the start date

91
Guest Avatar
Simon Pambin 12th April, 2017 @ 16:06

Exactly: as it stands, there's no way that such a charge could be enforceable on a tenant who doesn't wish to renew. If it's in the old agreement, it's not applicable (as it relates to an event outside the agreement). If it's in the terms of business, it's not relevant.

92
Guest Avatar
Mark Blackwell 12th April, 2017 @ 18:28

Ray Comer - comment 87. Thanks for the advice, and I will accept it at face value. I have no intention of reneging on a signed contract. My concern is that these Agency fees are not 'openly' displayed in the paperwork, and nor is it explicitly explained that this is a recurring agency charge, instead of a one-off fee. Even more interesting was the fact when I contacted my landlord they were unaware the Letting Agency was levying this fee on their tenant. I note the government have expressed concerns over letting fees, and I understand are reviewing this issue. I have no objection to paying for a service honestly conducted and reasonably costed. However I am not convinced a £125 annual fee to renew a simple rental contract falls within this description. And of course you will be aware any obviously unfair charge will be hard to enforce in any court of law, if challenged. But I think your advice makes sense, and was helpful, so my thanks.

93

Please leave a comment...

Nobody

Nobody

Landlord

Landlord

Tenant

Tenant

Agent

Agent

Legal

Legal

Buyer

Buyer

Developer

Developer

Enthusiast

Enthusiast


Popular Landlord Categories