Letting-trackworld – Disputing large 'check out' fee

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  • Letting-trackworld – Disputing large 'check out' fee
  • plyphon
    Member

    Hello,

    We have reached the end of our current tenancy and have decided to move, so will not renew the contract.

    The Estate Agent wishes to charge us £156 for a ‘check out’ fee.

    It’s my understanding a check out fee should be a reasonable charge, however you define that. £156 is not reasonable in my books.

    Has anyone fought this or other charges before? Have you succeeded? What steps should I take?

    Cheers.

    Gary_M
    Member

    What’s a check out fee? Do you mean money subtracted from your deposit to cover ‘damage’?

    I’m a landlord and never heard of a checkout fee, although I use an agent.

    dlr
    Member

    Lived in about 5 different rentals and never been charged any fee at the end of the tenancy! Did get charged £50 out of my deposit at the last place due to the state of the cooker but that was fair enough….

    Jakester
    Member

    Is it an inventory inspection charge? As ever, check the terms and the lease, but it does sound like a bit of a try-on…

    Marin
    Member

    Is it written into the contract you signed?

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    What does your tenancy contract say?

    I have never charged a fee as a landlord for folk to leave.

    mattsccm
    Member

    Check your contract surely?

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    In addition: They would HAVE to charge you it, they CANNOT deduct from deposit as any deduction has to be for wear/tear/damage, not fees.

    Gary_M
    Member

    Check your contract surely?

    His name’s Cheers, not Shirley.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Did you pay a ‘check-in’ inventory fee? If so, I wouldn’t expect to get stung at both ends of the tenancy and I would be dispute it if they tried to take it from the deposit.

    If not, unless it is not in your contract then I’d expect to pay something, and sadly, 150 quid probably would be deemed reasonable unless it is an unfurnished studio flat.

    natrix
    Member

    If it is a house and the inventory clerk has to check and photograph each room, compare with the check-in inventory then compile a report for the landlord, maybe it’s not too unreasonable…………..

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Just checked with the agents we let out our house with. They will charge the tenants a fee of £126 inc VAT as a checkout fee. I know they send a bod in to do a condition report and inventory. I guess it is paying for that.

    When you stack up the fees they charge us as landlords and what they charge the tenants they make a shit load of money for remarkably little.

    tjagain
    Member

    Out of order to me. Its the sort of try on that makes folk stop paying rent two months before they leave ” just use the deposit for the last months rent” which is exactly what I would do in that situation. Play fair with me and I’ll play fair with you. Try to rip me off and you will lose.

    tjagain
    Member

    I suspect its because agencies are no longer allowed to charge tenants fees at the beginning of a tenancy so this is their way of getting another income stream

    As for the costs of doing inventory etc – thats the landlords issue not the tenants and £156 is way over the top for that. an hours work for a minion in the office does not equal £156

    Gary_M
    Member

    I’ll ignore your first response.

    As for the costs of doing inventory etc – thats the landlords issue not the tenants and £156 is way over the top for that. an hours work for a minion in the office does not equal £156

    Landlords pay the cost of the inventory at the start of the tenancy, if a tenant has then lived in the property it’s reasonable to expect them to pay it when they leave.

    I thought you owned a property, or two, anyway, not rented?

    unovolo
    Member

    If it is a house and the inventory clerk has to check and photograph each room, compare with the check-in inventory then compile a report for the landlord, maybe it’s not too unreasonable…………..

    Thats what I do for a living, Its the landlords/Letting Agents responsibility to arrange a Inventory/Check out inspection at THERE cost!

    Certainly none of the letting agents I work for try to charge a tenant for this.

    Withholding some of the initial deposit/bond to cover costs for damage is acceptable, however the landlord/Agents can only charge a reasonable amount for repairs and it has to be agreed with the tenant and can be disputed hence the use of a Ingoing Inventory to set a benchmark that can be used against a outgoing Inventory/Checkout in regard to this.

    Either the OP’s got mixed up over what the charge is for or they have a bent letting Agent.

    tjagain
    Member

    One is rented. I charge a below market rent and no fees at all for anything. I do the inventory myself ( well actually at the beginning I give them an inventory sheet and tell them to let me know if anything is missing)

    I believe very strongly a good deal is one where everyone is happy and I also believe that if you look after your tenants they will look after your property. Seems to work. NO issues in years of letting it out. No damage, no one ripped me off for rent, no problem tenants.

    Stuff like – there was a boiler failure. I bought electric heaters for them and gave then £50 for the extra electricity cost ( as well as paying over the odds for a quick new boiler installation.

    sbob
    Member

    natrix – Member

    If it is a house and the inventory clerk has to check and photograph each room, compare with the check-in inventory then compile a report for the landlord, maybe it’s not too unreasonable

    It’ll be walking round with a clipboard, 15mins max.

    Letting agencies are a scourge. I will only rent privately.

    mattyfez
    Member

    I kinda knew my old landlady before I moved into a previous property, she was moving to a neighbouring city so wanted to lease to me via an agent, I understandably wasn’t keen so I asked her to check exactly what she was getting for the cut they would take.. The answer was unsurprisingly very little.

    So we printed off a generic tenancy agreement and sorted it out between ourselves.

    unovolo
    Member

    In regard to the OP what we charge the letting agent to carry out a Initial Inventory is around half the cost of what they are quoting you for a Check out(We Charge around £45 for a checkout BTW)

    Plus in my experience some of the Inventories done in house by letting agents(We are independant Inventory Clerks)are so vague as to be meaning less, basically just a typed list of features with no condition or damage noted and no accompanying pictures.

    It’ll be walking round with a clipboard, 15mins max.

    Maybe for some , I use a inhouse app on my iphone and takes around 45mins for a 2bed Terrace, however the one this morning took 75mins as there were a lot of marks,damage, repainted walls, items missing etc to note.

    tjagain
    Member

    How do the agents get the fee? I’t can’t be taken from the damage deposit by my understanding.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    It’ll be walking round with a clipboard, 15mins max.

    Letting agencies are a scourge. I will only rent privately.

    I am no fan of them but I think that’s ‘slightly’ disingenuous. They have to drive out and back from their place of work to the property. When back they have to prepare the report. Just looked at our last one – 17 photos and 325 added words across 7 pages. Yes, all to a template but more than 15mins work. Not always on the landlords side too – we queried the stains on the carpet when the last lot went and it was the guy that went around that said we were being unreasonable and it should count as wear and tear and could not support us.

    I can see TJs point about who should pay it. But effectively if it was added to the landlords side it would only be divided up 12 ways and added to the monthly fee.

    Surprised Unvolo has not heard of the tenant paying for it. The agents we use are Leaders who are huge (100 offices). I’ve looked on the site of the two local small ones here in town and they both list an exit fee for the tenant too so it can’t be too unusual.

    unovolo
    Member

    Just looked at our last one – 17 photos and 325 added words across 7 pages.

    As said previously some in house ones are poor, the ones I do run between 28 to 31 pages and have a average of around 100pics for a 2 Bed Terrace.

    A large house 4-5 Bed Mansion can easily be over 75 Pages and around 3-400pics.

    The emphasis on the pics is because its easy to see the condition of a room or any given article from them, remember pictures speak volumes.

    I’ve looked on the site of the two local small ones here in town and they both list an exit fee for the tenant too so it can’t be too unusual.

    Just checked on the websites of a couple of the agents I work for and not one states on there that the charge a exit fee to the tenant.

    Regards the big firms i.e. Leaders, Reeds Rains, Bridgfords etc, they seem to be the worst of the bunch, poor staff training and retention, varying levels of incompetence.
    We tend to work more with smaller Independants which may explain the difference.

    sbob
    Member

    Maybe for some , I use a inhouse app on my iphone and takes around 45mins

    You should use a clipboard, be much faster. 😆

    unovolo
    Member

    You should use a clipboard, be much faster.

    :mrgreen: 😀

    tjagain
    Member

    How are the agents going to get this fee? they cannot deduct it from your deposit.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Added to the last months rent and direct debited? Or just DDed as a standalone. Most letting agents make tenants pay by DD these days I think.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    If this isn’t in the agreement you signed up to at the start then tell them to take a hike.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Last inventory check out fee I paid was £144, that was for a central London flat. £156 for “suburbs/non-London” does seem a bit high. What dies your lease say ?

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Regards the big firms i.e. Leaders, Reeds Rains, Bridgfords etc, they seem to be the worst of the bunch, poor staff training and retention, varying levels of incompetence.
    We tend to work more with smaller Independants which may explain the difference.

    Can’t say I like Leaders approach or value their service particularly. We’ve threatened to leave a couple of times. The snag is that somewhere in our contract is that if we leave but the existing tenants stay in the house we have to pay some horrible fee. And we quite like the tenants and they quite like the house so I don’t want to rock their boat as the fee was more than I could stomach so you’d have to ask them to leave. When they do of their own choosing it’ll probably be time to move on (or sell it).

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    How do the agents get the fee? I’t can’t be taken from the damage deposit by my understanding.

    I think you are mistaken. It does depend on the exact wording of the lease but the deposit can and is often worded to be used for any shortfalls inc inpaid rent and any fees

    plyphon
    Member

    Hello chaps.

    Seems to have blown up a bit – must of hit that peak Friday work boredom ratio.

    Anyway – the charge is for, as per the Agents email:

    Towards the end of your tenancy [Name of 3rd party inventory service] would be in touch with you in order to arrange the check-out (costing £156.00), this would be on the final day of your tenancy and would involve them attending the property with the original inventory and taking a conditional report and comparing the two.

    These reports are compared and take into account things that are missing, damaged or just general wear and tear.

    Once this has been received, we will read through it and our recommendations will be passed onto your landlord with what we believe would be classes as reasonable wear and tear and any recommendations for deductions from your deposit (if any are required).

    In some cases deposit deductions would not be required, it entirely depends on the condition of the property.

    I assume they would direct debit or otherwise charge us for it, as it can’t be taken direct from the deposit as others have pointed out.

    The property is a 2 bed flat in London.

    They’ve been alright Agents tbh, but equally I don’t want to pay anything I don’t have to.

    Edit: redacted the name of the 3rd party inventory service who carries out the inventory check.

    Edit 2: I expect it is in the contract, but I’m not sure if it specifies a figure. I need to dig it out to check.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    I think you are mistaken. It does depend on the exact wording of the lease but the deposit can and is often worded to be used for any shortfalls inc inpaid rent and any fees

    link – interesting. No mention of fees either way. My hunch is that a legitimate fee would be covered under unpaid rent but it’s not explicit.It does say ‘Your landlord can make deductions for items that aren’t spelt out if this includes wording such as ‘deductions from your deposit can be made for breaches of your tenancy agreement’.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    I fail to see how you can be in any way liable for that. The landlord is the one who wants it doing, not you. What if he decided he wanted a new carpet fitting and sent you the bill?

    Landlords pay the cost of the inventory at the start of the tenancy, if a tenant has then lived in the property it’s reasonable to expect them to pay it when they leave.

    You’re overlooking the fact that there’s probably going to be a new tenant and potentially has been a previous one. Do you do an inventory when someone leaves and then another inventory on the exact same identical flat when someone else arrives?

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Do you do an inventory when someone leaves and then another inventory on the exact same identical flat when someone else arrives?

    Um, yes.

    Often there is a huge clean to do or the time between tenants is used to decorate, put down new carpets etc.Often the property with change more in condition in that week/month than it will in the next couple of years.

    TheGingerOne
    Member

    I have never leased a property luckily, but I would assume that cost comes out of the agent fee that the landlord is paying out of his monthly payment.
    If the landlord is not paying a fee or is paying a very small fee, then fair enough, otherwise it sounds like a double charging con where both the landlord and tenant pay for the same thing

    I went to rent a place that I’d viewed in the dry but it had been raining for a week when we were to move in. The place was sopping wet and stank. We refused to move in and canceled the tenancy agreement.

    The agent refused to refund the £150 “moving in fee”, I said I should get it back as we hadn’t moved in. They said that actually it covered obtaining references, I pointed out that I’d brought them hard copies, and so on.. After kicking up stink with the big boss of the firm he agreed that as they couldn’t think of anything that the charge could be for I’d better have it back.

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