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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Fees Ban: the real impact hasn't hit yet, warns senior agent

Monday marks the one month anniversary of the Tenant Fees ban coming into force, but a senior London agent warns the real effect is yet to be felt.

Chestertons’ head of tenancy services, Donna Ingram-Fletcher, believes that many landlords are still unaware that the ban will also apply to historic tenancy agreements that will be ending over the course of the next few years. 

“As the legislation is enforceable on all Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements, landlords don’t just need to adjust, they need to get to grips with the complexities involved with unravelling existing tenancies. A large number of landlords are likely to still be in the dark that sections referring to extra costs on agreements drawn up before June 1 2019 may not be binding when it comes to a tenant moving out of a property, or once the tenancy renews” she says. 

“Many landlords are unaware that if a tenant moves out after May 31 2020 costs cannot be charged to the tenant, even if these were written in to a tenancy agreement” adds Ingram-Fletcher.  

She says landlords could be in for a shock next June when services – such as an end of tenancy professional clean – cannot be charged to the tenant despite a clause in the contract. And she believes the wording of tenancy agreements is therefore more important than ever to ensure peace of mind and prevent landlords from being caught out.

“The government’s ‘one size fits all’ policy also means landlords and tenants of certain building types are adversely affected by the changes. For example, the dominant building type in prime central London areas, the mansion block, is proving to be tricky.  These blocks rely on whole-building, centralised facilities – such as heating systems – which historically were charged to tenants based on average use” she explains.  

“Tenants can now only be charged for specific usage of such utilities and in many cases such additional tenancy costs will now be added onto the rent, and agreements updated to reflect this at the point of renewal. Should the average costs to the landlord at the end of the year exceed the amount recouped via the rent, the landlord will have to accept this as a loss.”

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    Donna Ingram-Fletcher shows she doesnt have a grip on the nuances of the Tenant Fees Act or how her agency should best approach it, if she did she wouldn't be blurting out such a load nonsense.

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    Pay no more than £200 for Tenant Find Only or dont deal.
    To many flash 4 x 4 and smart socks knowit all LAs out there. This Cap will sort those ones out.

    Paul Smithson

    Must be one of those northern Landlords, many Agents are landlords themselves and for £200 you reckon they are going to photograph/pay for portals/high street advertising/drive many times to show your unit/draw up a legally binding document/reference/deal with finances, well good luck-we used to charge two weeks rent but now 4 and in truth not really interested, I can imagine agencies filling you up with their dodgy tenants.

     
  • Barry X

    There is SO MUCH WRONG with the Tenant Fees Act 2019.... its truly horrible and grossly unfair - an unwarranted attack on the PRS and an absolute disgrace. I predict it will both put landlords and of course many agents out of business and also drive many landlords out of the sector as some of the many problems start to emerge and get noticed....

    For example -

    (1) this new law is so far as I know more or less a first in British legal history for reversing the ancient principle that laws ban things and make certain actions "offences". THIS law makes EVERYTHING an offence except for the tiny number of things actually allowed! Suppose (as is certain) that the world continues to change and new things crop up... bad luck, you won't be able to provide any new services or cover any newly emerging risks because incompetent fools like James Brokenshire (one of the principle morons - as I see them - behind this legislation) didn't know before 1st June this year everything that will happen in the world from now on. I imagine he and his chums didn't have a crystal ball to gaze into, only lead filled brains (perhaps on chains) obsessed with smashing up the PRS and rewarding bad tenants in the hope it will somehow gain a few votes (which it probably won't).

    (2) this new piece of crap FORCES landlords to act as low cost lenders with no right to refuse to give out loans any time their tenants need one.... consider so many scenarios, e.g a tenant can't clear their credit card debts and are being charged, say, 20% APR plus unlike us (for no obvious reason) the banks actually are allowed to ad on the costs of debt collection etc (just as we were in the normal way for defaulting tenants until three weeks ago for the first time in history).... or they want an expensive holiday, or a new car or ANYTHING.... so what would any sensible tenant do - and they will, especially as so many now are members of militant/activist blogs and forums and things all sharing new ideas.... they'll simply stop paying rent when they feel like it and use the money to clear their overdrafts and credit card balances... why not, its only 3% above the piffling bank base rate of ½% so 3½% in total and NO threat of additional late payment charges or possibly even no payment ever - and no "interest on interest" or any otehr penalties or risks if they decide not to pay anything and just live there until one day somehow actually evicted and then they just disappear with your money!

    and many other things too that I thought of, for example it REWARDS tenants for dishonest behavior, has no penalties or risks for THEM, assumes that Tenants are always good and honest but perhaps just temporarily short of money that they sincerely intend to pay as soon as they can, that all landlords and agents are crooks, it provides numerous new opportunities for people (tenants, councils etc) to scam, blackmail and cheat landlords while nobbling their/our ability to defend themselves/ourselves and further undermining their/out already heavily beleaguered rights.

    Its an absolute unmitigated DISGRACE.

    Worse still IF (as is quite possible) we get a Labour-Green coalition government dumped on us in the next few months to a year or two, they will use this as a spring-board for much-much worse to come. They have already been in talks together (and with the mayor of Berlin in Germany, incidentally) to consider rushing through an even more stupid law to ban rent increases for either 3 or possibly even 5, years from the start of any tenancy including existing ones at the time of it getting its Royal Consent.... imagine that?! :-(

    Suzy OShea

    Barry X,

    Io think you are misinformed about banning rent rises for three to five years. Rents can rise by the official cost of libing/inflation figures but not more, even if the tenant vacates within the three-year rental period and you find a new tenant, you can't raise rents by more than the annual rates of inflation.

     
  • Paul Smithson

    Totally agree, certain parts have been drafted wrong, but one things for certain there will be much more referencing and homelessness on the way...well done shelter.

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    Paul Smithson been in this game for over 35 years. Last tenant i served notice was for drug taking and is the daughter of current .Mum and Dad tenant introduced to me some 12 years ago by LA on Tenant Find Only charge under £200. I vet as well on top of agent, being a Professional LL. Now when i do have to seek a tenant out via a LA on a Tenant Find Only basis charge is £200 or i dont do business . Simple. Owned over 100 properties had to evict 3 in over 35 years. Rent ranges from £575 to £1750. In South East of England.
    A lot of Flash LAs been ripping off tenants for years, their days are numbered, are you a Flash LA?

  • Paul Smithson

    Must be then, manage just over 500 units and haven’t been to court for over 3 years, so now after 1st of June I accidentally draw up a tenancy incorrectly and in turn you sue me for £1,000,s do you really think a agent in their right mind is going to do that for £200 ? I suppose your agent is not vat registered either or VAT inclusive...good luck your living in the past.

  • Paul Smithson

    Oh sorry I’m in Surrey, drive an middle of the range car...I assume yours is black and has gold spinners.

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    Paul Smithson come on laddy. Surrey nice area. I used to run large Commercial Bank for many profitable years in Guildford.
    I live for the future and the future is adapt or lose out. You will be one of the lossers. No i would not sue if you cocked up a TA as i would have checked it out before the agent signed it up. And yes agents VAT registered. But no gold spinners but yes car is black. Sorry forgot to mention i manage for several business persons totalling over 100 units in addition to my own.
    TA agreement pennies to print and prepare say £20 . Search £10, Inventory say £80. Photos already have, unless new additional property. Poss another £10. Agents time say £50 to £80.
    Already provide Gas Cert EPC Elec Report.
    Think i might start up TF only businesses from my office and show you dinosaurs how to do it.

  • Paul Smithson

    Oh include inventory and vat as well 😀 ?

  • Paul Smithson

    I can imagine when you walk in all the staff line up and bow Japanese style. 😅

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    Dont be a twit PS direct your frustration at councils and government.
    Why is it when we touch a nerve with some people they throw their toys out of their pram. Remember Trust Not Tricks?

  • Paul Smithson

    Because your sums don’t add up especially since the 1st of June.
    So Agent charges £200 minus vat £160 minus inventory £80 so the agent is going to run a shop/staff/biz rates/cars/insurance and cover his backside for and be “flashy” for the remaining £80 ? But there again you know it all and I’m just a laddie !

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    And he’ll be taxed on whatever’s left in that £80 too.

     
  • S l
    • S l
    • 29 June 2019 12:26 PM

    dont forget the cost for check in and check out. When check in legal requirement to have gas cert elec cert, epc , inventory as everyone knows, pat, legal paperwork such as how to rent etc etc. Its easy to cry wolf when they happily omit all the legal requirement for LL and LA to comply with. suppose they expect everything to be a freebie as usual just like the council and ministers

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    Yes a laddy laddie.
    But please move on. You clearly have been one of those flash LA who have ripped off tenant and now you cant . Please stop acting like a twit, if they charge VAT on top which they do so what. I dont pay more than £200.
    Please now talk about sometning that is important to you and us Professional LLs.

  • Paul Smithson

    No as you believe quite wrongly that agents are idiots that you can talk down to, so maybe the truth is hurting you so let’s break down the costs, because you’ve dug a hole and can’t get out....so what agent do you use ?

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    I use any agent who can find me tenants before i do.
    Tell me your fees please for TF only.

    As some one has just said No Rip off Check Out and In Fees. No resign a tenancy Rip off fees. No charging the tenant for the Inventory.
    I state again you prove to us why you cannot carry out a TF only for £200 ??or less, not concerned about VAT.

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    SI as you know a Professional LL will provide all the legsl requirements and much more than your standard rip off fees flash 4 x 4 LS.

  • Paul Smithson

    Answer the questions....you dug your hole and can’t get out of it, so an agent can do viewings, advertise on portals, maintain a high street presence, run cars, staff, biz rates and charge after vat and inventory £80.00, you really are an 4rsehole.

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    Paul Smithson i was keeping this gentleman like clearly something your not, you jumped up little twit of a whitehead.
    The only hole being dug is one you need to be put in you flash LA ripping off mechant whose afraid to put his current rip off fees for All to see having ripped off tenants for past few years.
    Why do i have to prove anything you twit. Im the one paying the fees.
    So twit head what are you currently charging and better still tell us what you used to charge as well before you flash twit of a LA was capped.🤯🤪👍🤔 acutally ive got far better things to do than diatribe with a twit like you so dont bother. Twit.

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    I have over 100 units myself and manage over a 1,000 and if any landlord out there thinks that an agent who actually knows their job (which are few and far between) can do this for peanuts then they are wrong. Not only this a am 100% sure 99% of so called full time landlords have the knowledge to do the job within the letter of the law. Most are clueless as to the legislation and I proved this on the chats a couple of weeks ago with basic what is a N5 or N5B. I went to court for a client who used another agent on a possession and the agent didn’t even know to submit a witness statement never mind how to word it. I use all the major portals and pay over &40k per annum just for that & £200 to do say 10 viewings is ludicrous. I suspect like many a poor product and and as many landlords think tenants are happy with such should let straight away! Well wake up... have a go at Tesco they buy at one price and sell at another but that’s ok as they have overheads and staff... or banks that charge a reservation fee of a grand plus is ok so you can borrow money at a higher rate they get it for! You are not in the real world if you suggest LA can’t do a decent job or make a living if they do it correctly. Come with me for a day but make sure you have some experience in self defence also as in my area you are threatened with guns, knives, machetes and violence. Then tell the tenants they owe and pay up. Then do all the Court papers and argue with Shelter and their barrister and see how you go...

     
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    What would be a fair fee to pay in your mind JA?

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    £250 plus disbursements. Forget VAT as that’s the government . This is my average . You won’t get a conveyance for this & they do less work without leaving their office but then again you may say a trainee conveyancer is qualified!! Although I will disagree. The old story comes to mind. Pay peanuts & get monkeys.

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    Sorry forgot to mention I also do a 7 day week plus minimum 11 hours a day and no holiday for 5 years. That’s my commitment to landlord clients. I don’t drive a 4x4 nor live in a million pounds home. I expect to do a good job for decent pay as we all should. I do agree many agents are extremely poor at their job and passing a basic examination will not alter their intellect or knowledge or drive.

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    Thats fine your only talking £50 more than what i have been paying.
    Having said all that , everyone needs a break, you either just dont want one or need to make the time available. With the tech know we have now adays we can be most places and still provide 24 hour support to our tenants. Thank you.

    S l
    • S l
    • 30 June 2019 09:40 AM

    except opening doors for tenant if lost keys and give access to maintenance work to be done

     
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    Charge tenants for opening doors if late at night and on bank holidays, always charge for replacement keys. Never ever have problem with access.
    All about keeping a good business like approach with our tenants.

    S l
    • S l
    • 30 June 2019 10:41 AM

    Trust me. Treat it as a business and charge them and they look at you with disgust and complain that we are suppose to do it for free just because they pay a monthly rent

     
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    Sorry not so, build a trust and treat with respect and expect it back and if not on their bike they go and they do.

    S l
    • S l
    • 01 July 2019 12:38 PM

    you cant kick tenant out until their tenancy is up. so no go to kicking them out as and when we please

     
  • Paul Smithson

    Just a note for those Agents and Landlords barren of the current legislation, you cannot since the 1st of June charge fees for call outs but you can direct them to a 24hr locksmith at their cost. Regarding lost keys this has to be a reasonable amount and justifiable so charge a minimum wage time element and take a taxi there and back to locksmith for receipt or ask the tenant to go to locksmith...for the record I charge 4 weeks introduction fee which is the norm amongst High street agents and I do not deal or need to toil for anything less or the threadbare carpet brigade Landlord I’ll leave it to the 70+hrs week agent driving themselves into an early grave...😱😱🙄😳🤣

    S l
    • S l
    • 30 June 2019 13:00 PM

    Those 1 june fees ban are only applicable to new contracts signed. these are old tenants with contracts signed prior to 1st june 2019. Did direct them to 24hour locksmith at their costs which they objected. Reasonable amount for lost keys replacement £5 under min wage costs still get sarcasm. Tenants are mostly freebie goers. Not one to pay when they mess up. They dont trust you as landlord or respect. They object to any payment other than rent even when they are the ones causing the damage and still expect us to pay to make good the damage. its a no win situation.

     
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    Charge less than locksmith. Christ they lost the key. Give them a key and tell them no renewal. Get rid.

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