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New Row Over Letting Agent's Evil Fees

New Row Over Letting Agent’s Evil Fees

Homeless Charity Wants All
Letting Agent Fees To Be Met By Landlords

The homelessness charity, Shelter have started to campaign to get all letting agent fees currently charged to tenants banned throughout England, and they want landlords to foot the bill for it, a point which has angered the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and caused consternation with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA).

Shelter have launched a new report, “Letting Agencies: the Price you Pay”, claiming that charging landlords is a fairer way of doing business and the charity also claim that tenants are having to go without food or heating to meet increasing housing costs because letting agents’ fees are out of control.

Shelter were instrumental in getting letting agent fees banned in Scotland and now want the practice outlawed by MPs in England and are calling for politicians to take action.

The homelessness charity seem to think that all letting agents are the devil in disguise and recently questioned 58 separate letting agents throughout England, anonymously, asking them about what fees each charged in order to set up a tenancy for a tenant and discovered the average administration fee charged by agents was £350 (GBP) plus upfront rent and tenancy deposits. Less than a third of letting agents questioned charged fees totalling more than £400 and seven charged in excess of £700.

The Shelter research claims that in the last three years,

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Cleaning up after a tenant can be costly

Landlords face Mounting Costs To Clean Up After Tenants

UK Landlords and letting agents are increasingly faced with dirty properties at the check-out stage, which has led to cleaning accounting for 40% of deposit disputes.

According to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), many tenants fail to leave their property in the same condition at check-out and are often very surprised when they are told that professional cleaning is required.

Tenants rarely treat their rented property in the same way as they would a property they owned themselves.

Accidents happen during a tenancy and tenants need to realise that they must take financial responsibility for things that are beyond normal wear and tear.

It is important for landlords and letting agents to do a thorough inventory on a tenant check-in and again when they check-out.

The inventory provides proof of condition at the start and end of a new tenancy agreement.

At the check-out stage, the tenant should be made aware of the areas requiring cleaning and the potential cost involved.

Tenants are often shocked to realise that professional cleaning can cost anything from £10 – £20 per hour depending on the area and type of work required.”

Some tenants often claim that cleaning issues are either just normal wear & tear or are not their problem.

The simple answer is that if an area or item was clean at check in it should be left clean at check out. If something can be cleaned then it should be. If any dust or crumbs are present then this is clearly not clean.

The most common cleaning problems at check-out are:

•Ovens – cause the most problems. If it was listed as completely clean at check in, it must be left in the same condition. Burn marks to any part of the appliance means it is not clean.
Tenants are amazed that professional oven cleaning costs between £50 – £80.

•Stained and marked carpets – this is a very common problem with some tenants trying to hide stains with rugs and furniture.  Tenants are also known to cut out the stain and fill the hole with carpet they have cut from a hidden part of the property eg under the bed.

•Heavy lime scale to kitchen and bathroom fittings – the response of tenants is often ‘it’s not my fault, this is a hard water area’.

•Grease deposits throughout the kitchen, surfaces and cupboards may look clean but will feel sticky to touch.

•Thick dust & cobwebs, particularly around furniture and on the ceilings.

Professional between tenancy cleans can cost landlords a few hundred pounds if they want the job done properly, Landlords with properties in Manchester and the North West can call MCS 07977 220380 for  professional landlord cleaning services.

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