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  • FIRST POST
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 18th Oct 16, 12:43 PM
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    tadgh_99
    Letting Agent Check Out Inventory Fees
    • #1
    • 18th Oct 16, 12:43 PM
    Letting Agent Check Out Inventory Fees 18th Oct 16 at 12:43 PM
    I've recently posted about a nightmare letting agent we're dealing with. Thankfully our time with them is coming to an end (tenants have handed in their notice).

    However, the LA in question is demanding that they carry out the check out inventory (they use a subcontractor on their behalf).

    Recent events led us to believe that the LA could be in trouble financially (a civil enforcement company had entered their office to take repossession on behalf of their landlord!!).

    As we'd not heard back from them concerning the check out process, we tracked down the original inventory clerk who informed us that he would no longer deal with said LA due to non-payment or late payment of bills.

    We've agreed to deal with him directly and he has agreed to do the check out.

    However, the LA have informed us that they have booked a different inventory clerk to do the check out. Should they cancel it, the tenants would still be liable for the check out inventory costs (£150 +VAT) as this is in the contract. I have told them in no uncertain terms to cancel their check out and under no circumstances attempt to charge the tenants.

    Now, from my understanding, the LA is acting on our behalf (as we are the landlords). We can deal with this matter directly if we feel this necessary (considering their unreliability, I believe this is the case). If they don't deliver the check out inventory, can they still charge for it? I have a feeling they can't (as you can't charge for a service if you haven't delivered it).

    I've scoured the consumer rights act 2015, but can't seem to find a definitive answer.

    Or am I being naive yet again?
Page 1
    • G_M
    • By G_M 18th Oct 16, 1:17 PM
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    G_M
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 16, 1:17 PM
    • #2
    • 18th Oct 16, 1:17 PM
    Yes, the agent works for you, so yes you can instruct them not to do it.

    Having said that, I assume you have already instructed them to arrange the check-out inspection (via your contract with them), and if they have already done this, or have commited to a sub-contract with an inventory clerk, then clearly you'd have to pay them for the service you instructed them to do (and which they did).

    So the question is: how far have they gone in arranging the inspection?
    • sheff6107
    • By sheff6107 18th Oct 16, 1:18 PM
    • 186 Posts
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    sheff6107
    • #3
    • 18th Oct 16, 1:18 PM
    • #3
    • 18th Oct 16, 1:18 PM
    I suspect the inventory check is in both of your contracts.

    Not sure what you can do if it's between the tenant and the agents. If their tenant check isn't up to scratch you could argue they are liable for your costs to get another one in. But if they're about to go bust you wouldn't want that.

    I'd cancel your own check and just let the tenants deal with your lettings agent personally.
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 18th Oct 16, 2:31 PM
    • 60 Posts
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    tadgh_99
    • #4
    • 18th Oct 16, 2:31 PM
    • #4
    • 18th Oct 16, 2:31 PM
    About two weeks ago, I was sent a copy of a notice that a Civil enforcement Agent had posted on the window of the LA. stating that they had repossessed the offices on behalf of their landlord (not a good sign).

    As such, I contacted the LA asking how that would impact the check out process & inventory. Didn't hear back.

    Located a copy of the original inventory (sent 18 months after the tenants had moved in) and contacted the clerk. Explained the situation and after he had finished relishing some nightmare stories of the LA (including that they charge for a check out inventory but go around doing it themselves rather than engage in an accredited clerk) he agreed to do it as long as he had nothing to do with the LA.

    I want to get shot of them, and don't want them doing the inventory as I just do not trust them (understatement). The tenant has not had any communication other than giving their notice. and is not aware of any inventory being booked other than the one we've arranged and the LA has only today confirmed that they have booked one.

    They haven't carried out the check out, which is due in two weeks.

    They have paid all outstanding rent, so the only thing outstanding is the deposit (which changed providers as they were banned from using DPS).

    Can they withhold the check out fee from the deposit? I would think not?
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 18th Oct 16, 2:38 PM
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    Guest101
    • #5
    • 18th Oct 16, 2:38 PM
    • #5
    • 18th Oct 16, 2:38 PM
    I've recently posted about a nightmare letting agent we're dealing with. Thankfully our time with them is coming to an end (tenants have handed in their notice).

    However, the LA in question is demanding that they carry out the check out inventory (they use a subcontractor on their behalf). - Are you paying for this? It's all irrelevant really. Who cares who does it.

    Recent events led us to believe that the LA could be in trouble financially (a civil enforcement company had entered their office to take repossession on behalf of their landlord!!). - That doesn't necessarily mean they are in financial difficulty. No idea what a civil enforcement company is - I presume you mean bailiffs or HCEOs

    As we'd not heard back from them concerning the check out process, we tracked down the original inventory clerk who informed us that he would no longer deal with said LA due to non-payment or late payment of bills. - So?

    We've agreed to deal with him directly and he has agreed to do the check out. - Great.

    However, the LA have informed us that they have booked a different inventory clerk to do the check out. Should they cancel it, the tenants would still be liable for the check out inventory costs (£150 +VAT) as this is in the contract. - The contract with you. Not the agent. I have told them in no uncertain terms to cancel their check out and under no circumstances attempt to charge the tenants.

    Now, from my understanding, the LA is acting on our behalf (as we are the landlords). We can deal with this matter directly if we feel this necessary (considering their unreliability, I believe this is the case). If they don't deliver the check out inventory, can they still charge for it? I have a feeling they can't (as you can't charge for a service if you haven't delivered it). - depends on if they take you to court.

    I've scoured the consumer rights act 2015, but can't seem to find a definitive answer.

    Or am I being naive yet again?
    Originally posted by tadgh_99


    It's fine. Just carry on as you are. I cant see the agent taking you to court.
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 18th Oct 16, 2:39 PM
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    Guest101
    • #6
    • 18th Oct 16, 2:39 PM
    • #6
    • 18th Oct 16, 2:39 PM
    I suspect the inventory check is in both of your contracts.

    Not sure what you can do if it's between the tenant and the agents. If their tenant check isn't up to scratch you could argue they are liable for your costs to get another one in. But if they're about to go bust you wouldn't want that.

    I'd cancel your own check and just let the tenants deal with your lettings agent personally.
    Originally posted by sheff6107
    The tenants have no contract with the letting agent.....
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 18th Oct 16, 2:40 PM
    • 11,964 Posts
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    Guest101
    • #7
    • 18th Oct 16, 2:40 PM
    • #7
    • 18th Oct 16, 2:40 PM
    About two weeks ago, I was sent a copy of a notice that a Civil enforcement Agent had posted on the window of the LA. stating that they had repossessed the offices on behalf of their landlord (not a good sign).

    As such, I contacted the LA asking how that would impact the check out process & inventory. Didn't hear back.

    Located a copy of the original inventory (sent 18 months after the tenants had moved in) and contacted the clerk. Explained the situation and after he had finished relishing some nightmare stories of the LA (including that they charge for a check out inventory but go around doing it themselves rather than engage in an accredited clerk) he agreed to do it as long as he had nothing to do with the LA.

    I want to get shot of them, and don't want them doing the inventory as I just do not trust them (understatement). The tenant has not had any communication other than giving their notice. and is not aware of any inventory being booked other than the one we've arranged and the LA has only today confirmed that they have booked one.

    They haven't carried out the check out, which is due in two weeks.

    They have paid all outstanding rent, so the only thing outstanding is the deposit (which changed providers as they were banned from using DPS).

    Can they withhold the check out fee from the deposit? I would think not?
    Originally posted by tadgh_99
    YOU are in charge of the deposit, not them. YOU.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 18th Oct 16, 2:57 PM
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    G_M
    • #8
    • 18th Oct 16, 2:57 PM
    • #8
    • 18th Oct 16, 2:57 PM
    YOU are in charge of the deposit, not them. YOU.
    Originally posted by Guest101
    'in charge of'.

    But it is not yours. It belongs to the tenant.

    And if the tenant does not receive it back (without good cause) it is YOU the tenant will take to court....
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 18th Oct 16, 3:01 PM
    • 60 Posts
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    tadgh_99
    • #9
    • 18th Oct 16, 3:01 PM
    • #9
    • 18th Oct 16, 3:01 PM
    Thanks Guest101

    Just to be clear, they want to charge the tenants the £150 + VAT for check out.
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 18th Oct 16, 3:49 PM
    • 60 Posts
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    tadgh_99
    'in charge of'.

    But it is not yours. It belongs to the tenant.

    And if the tenant does not receive it back (without good cause) it is YOU the tenant will take to court....
    Originally posted by G_M

    i totally understand that and concerns me greatly. I have no faith in this LA whatsoever.
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 18th Oct 16, 4:50 PM
    • 995 Posts
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    DoaM
    I've scoured the consumer rights act 2015, but can't seem to find a definitive answer.
    Originally posted by tadgh_99
    I'll let others handle the specifics of the other questions you've asked, but I'll respond on this ...

    Neither you (landlord) or the letting agency are consumers - you don't have a business to consumer relationship - therefore consumer focused elements of the Consumer Rights Act will not apply. What matters is what the contract between you states.
    Diary of a madman
    Walk the line again today
    Entries of confusion
    Dear diary, I'm here to stay
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 19th Oct 16, 12:30 AM
    • 60 Posts
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    tadgh_99
    I'll let others handle the specifics of the other questions you've asked, but I'll respond on this ...

    Neither you (landlord) or the letting agency are consumers - you don't have a business to consumer relationship - therefore consumer focused elements of the Consumer Rights Act will not apply. What matters is what the contract between you states.
    Originally posted by DoaM
    Hi DoaM,

    Interesting point, but it contradicts what I found on the gov.uk website.

    They've published a guide "Guidance for lettings professionals on consumer protection law"

    In article 4.1 it states

    As set out in chapter 3, we think that, in general, letting agents should treat their landlord clients as consumers except where it is clear that all those they are dealing with, are acting in the course of business


    Also, the high court defines the term "consumer" as a person who enters into a contract covered by the UTCCR and "is acting for purposes which are outside his trade, business or profession"

    As the income received from the property (we are accidental landlords) is outside of our trade, business or profession then we are consumers.

    Or is that wrong?
    • Miss Samantha
    • By Miss Samantha 19th Oct 16, 7:39 AM
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    Miss Samantha
    Neither you (landlord) or the letting agency are consumers - you don't have a business to consumer relationship - therefore consumer focused elements of the Consumer Rights Act will not apply. What matters is what the contract between you states.
    Originally posted by DoaM
    As set out in chapter 3, we think that, in general, letting agents should treat their landlord clients as consumers except where it is clear that all those they are dealing with, are acting in the course of business
    I think that neither is correct.

    IMHO, a priori a landlord is not a consumer but an 'accidental landlord' may still be considered a consumer.

    Also, the high court defines the term "consumer" as a person who enters into a contract covered by the UTCCR and "is acting for purposes which are outside his trade, business or profession"
    Apart perhaps an accidental landlord, landlords run a business.
    Last edited by Miss Samantha; 19-10-2016 at 7:43 AM.
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 20th Oct 16, 10:10 AM
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    tadgh_99
    Hi Miss Samantha

    Appreciate your candour.

    As we've rented out our property as we are abroad we most assuredly accidental landlords and not professional ones and should, therefore, fall into the category of a consumer.

    However, I'm interested to hear on what basis you believe the excerpt
    As set out in chapter 3, we think that, in general, letting agents should treat their landlord clients as consumers except where it is clear that all those they are dealing with, are acting in the course of business
    is incorrect as this was lifted this directly from the 'Guidance for lettings professionals on consumer protection law' published by the Competition & Markets Authority available on the gov.uk website
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 20th Oct 16, 10:14 AM
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    Guest101
    Hi Miss Samantha

    Appreciate your candour.

    As we've rented out our property as we are abroad we most assuredly accidental landlords and not professional ones and should, therefore, fall into the category of a consumer.

    However, I'm interested to hear on what basis you believe the excerpt


    is incorrect as this was lifted this directly from the 'Guidance for lettings professionals on consumer protection law' published by the Competition & Markets Authority available on the gov.uk website
    Originally posted by tadgh_99


    Typically commercial agreements fall outside consumer regulations. Both parties are expected to have a reasonable level of knowledge and where appropriate, to seek legal advice.


    Although it's a rare occurrence, I'm inclined to agree with Miss S that LLs fall outside the scope of consumer regulations.


    Also - no such thing as accidental landlord - you didn't accidentally call the letting agent, accidentally sign the contract, accidentally get tenants and accidentally accept rent.


    HOWEVER letting agents are supposed to act in the best interests of the principal (you) and as such should not deliberately put you in a position which leads to you losing out.
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 20th Oct 16, 11:01 AM
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    tadgh_99
    Also - no such thing as accidental landlord - you didn't accidentally call the letting agent, accidentally sign the contract, accidentally get tenants and accidentally accept rent.
    Originally posted by Guest101
    That's quite a goading comment but sorry, I completely disagree with you.

    Example, a property is purchased with the intent of being lived in by the owners, but then being forced to rent it out as they are relocated due to their job, temporarily. Alternatively, a property with tenants in situ is is inherited from the passing of a relative.

    In both these cases, the landlord had no intention of being a landlord, but had to take on that role. Our situation forced us to become landlords.

    Perhaps you'd prefer the term unintentional landlords. Call them what you will, these types of landlords do exist

    Thanks for the feedback anyway
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 20th Oct 16, 11:19 AM
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    Guest101
    That's quite a goading comment but sorry, I completely disagree with you. - it's not meant to be goading, it's meant to point out that you didn't accidentally become a landlord.

    Example, a property is purchased with the intent of being lived in by the owners, but then being forced to rent it out as they are relocated due to their job, temporarily. - So? The property can be left empty or sold. Alternatively, a property with tenants in situ is is inherited from the passing of a relative. - possible, but the estate could evict them prior to this.

    In both these cases, the landlord had no intention of being a landlord, but had - chose* to take on that role. Our situation forced us to become landlords. - no it didn't. You chose to do this as it suited you.

    Perhaps you'd prefer the term unintentional landlords. Call them what you will, these types of landlords do exist

    Thanks for the feedback anyway
    Originally posted by tadgh_99

    You chose to go into business, and your business is providing a home for someone else.


    I'm not having a go, I'm saying that being a LL has a lot of responsibilities and it's poor form to say it was all an accident.
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 20th Oct 16, 12:51 PM
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    tadgh_99
    I agree with you. Being a landlord has a lot of responsibilities. Responsibilities that we have lived up to. The whole topic of this post is how to can deal with the Letting Agent that hasn't lived up to their responsibilities.

    I didn't say we became landlords accidentally, we became an accidental landlords

    The term "Accidental Landlord", whether it be residential or commercial, is a recognised term in the property market (a quick google search will demonstrate this). There are approximately 360,000 accidental landlords in the UK (according to the NLA). Your comment that it's poor form to say it was all an accident doesn't really have any foundation and it is completely acceptable form to call it accidental.

    And as for your suggestions to leave the house vacant or away or sell it while we are temporarily away are beyond comprehension.

    But thanks for posting your opinion anyway.
    • tadgh_99
    • By tadgh_99 20th Oct 16, 12:57 PM
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    tadgh_99
    To all those that offered useful advice, thank you.

    I have now found the answer. For those of you that are interested, even though the agreement is covered under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, it comes down to the AST. As the landlord we can instruct the agency not to carry out the inventory.as long as the tenants agree (in fact we can make any change as long as it is not deemed illegal and the tenants agree). The are bound to act on our behalf and must carry out the instruction.

    Thanks everyone.
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 20th Oct 16, 1:08 PM
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    Guest101
    To all those that offered useful advice, thank you.

    I have now found the answer. For those of you that are interested, even though the agreement is covered under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, it comes down to the AST. As the landlord we can instruct the agency not to carry out the inventory.as long as the tenants agree (in fact we can make any change as long as it is not deemed illegal and the tenants agree). The are bound to act on our behalf and must carry out the instruction.

    Thanks everyone.
    Originally posted by tadgh_99


    Yes and that is down to agency law, not the AST
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