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  • FIRST POST
    • anniewoo82
    • By anniewoo82 8th Aug 18, 11:04 PM
    • 9Posts
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    anniewoo82
    Being charged a holding deposit for a tenancy renewal
    • #1
    • 8th Aug 18, 11:04 PM
    Being charged a holding deposit for a tenancy renewal 8th Aug 18 at 11:04 PM
    Hi all

    Just wondering if someone can offer some advice.

    We are due to renew our tenancy on the 19th August and the letting agent (who has so far proved themselves to be absolutely terrible) is insisting we pay a holding deposit.

    I know these are commonplace when taking on a new property, but we have already been living in this place for 7 months.

    The letting agent says it is to ensure we are serious about taking the property (as I said, we have already been living in it for 7 months, surely that proves we are serious?) Also to "take it off the market" (it is not on the market as we told them 2 months ago we wanted to renew) and to "make sure the property is ready for us to move in to".

    This last point is actually laughable as before we moved in in January we pointed out that there was a leak in the toilet, leak in the shower, the thermostat was broken and that the back door didn't lock properly (try getting home insurance when you tell the insurers that your back door won't lock!) Despite promises, NONE of these issues have been fixed and the leaks are getting worse. We tried to contact the lettings agents 2 weeks ago to inform them that the leak in the toilet was so bad we are having to empty a bucket underneath it 2 - 3 times a day and it needed sorting urgently and they have flat out ignored us (we have worked out we are losing over 10 litres of water PER DAY due to these leaks and that is no exageration). You would never believe that this was a new build when we took on the tenancy! The letting agency keep saying that because of that the developers should be fixing the issues and the developers are refusing to do anything, so we are left with a whole host of problems :-/

    The renewal fees themselves are laughable - they say they have to re-reference us but they don't as we pay the full amount of the tenancy upfront (I am working full time, but as my Daughter lives with me I get a small amount of universal credit, which while far, far off what I would actually need to cover rent is apparently enough for them to refuse to rent to us without full payment upfront). This is partly why I think our emails and notifications of the faults with the property have been ignored, but that is another issue!

    So, after going off on a tangent there, is there anyone who is able to offer any advice on whether this holding fee request is acceptable? I am pretty sure (but not 100% certain) that it would be refunded off the rent but that isn't really the point as they want the money now and I won't have it available for another week to 10 days which is when I had arranged for the upfront rental payment to be in my account and available to transfer to the landlord.

    Any help much appreciated.

    Thank you
Page 1
    • Marvel1
    • By Marvel1 8th Aug 18, 11:19 PM
    • 3,694 Posts
    • 4,093 Thanks
    Marvel1
    • #2
    • 8th Aug 18, 11:19 PM
    • #2
    • 8th Aug 18, 11:19 PM
    This last point is actually laughable as before we moved in in January we pointed out that there was a leak in the toilet, leak in the shower, the thermostat was broken and that the back door didn't lock properly (try getting home insurance when you tell the insurers that your back door won't lock!) Despite promises, NONE of these issues have been fixed and the leaks are getting worse. We tried to contact the lettings agents 2 weeks ago to inform them that the leak in the toilet was so bad we are having to empty a bucket underneath it 2 - 3 times a day and it needed sorting urgently and they have flat out ignored us (we have worked out we are losing over 10 litres of water PER DAY due to these leaks and that is no exageration). You would never believe that this was a new build when we took on the tenancy! The letting agency keep saying that because of that the developers should be fixing the issues and the developers are refusing to do anything, so we are left with a whole host of problems :-/
    Originally posted by anniewoo82
    Pen, paper, photos (send to the letting agent), video, keep a copy with date, receipt from the post office - cover yourself from deposit deduction request.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 9th Aug 18, 3:08 AM
    • 5,721 Posts
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    deannatrois
    • #3
    • 9th Aug 18, 3:08 AM
    • #3
    • 9th Aug 18, 3:08 AM
    If u are being asked for a large amount of money upfront, and have serious repair issues.., I am wondering why u dont just look for a different property
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 9th Aug 18, 7:49 AM
    • 13,346 Posts
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    Pixie5740
    • #4
    • 9th Aug 18, 7:49 AM
    • #4
    • 9th Aug 18, 7:49 AM
    Why "renew" the tenancy at all? Why not let the tenancy become periodic therefore saving on all those letting agency fees?



    See G_M's Ending/Renewing an AST: what happens when a fixed term ends? How can a LL or tenant end a tenancy? What is a periodic tenancy?
    • Tink_x
    • By Tink_x 9th Aug 18, 8:13 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 24 Thanks
    Tink_x
    • #5
    • 9th Aug 18, 8:13 AM
    • #5
    • 9th Aug 18, 8:13 AM
    I think you should look for a new place to rent. Which I know can be a hassle.
    About the lack of repairs - you can contact your local council and get in touch with envorinemtal health and they will inspect your property and can write to your landlord/letting agency about repairs. It some cases they can force repairs through.
    • wesleyad
    • By wesleyad 9th Aug 18, 9:59 AM
    • 356 Posts
    • 294 Thanks
    wesleyad
    • #6
    • 9th Aug 18, 9:59 AM
    • #6
    • 9th Aug 18, 9:59 AM
    Here's what you do:

    You contact the LL directly. His/her contact info should be on the tenancy agreement. If not ask they agent, they are legally obliged to provide you with this. You tell the LL, we are happy to carry on renting, as you can see we've been great with rent, and we will just carry on a periodic tenancy that will lawfully come into place at the end of the fixed term.

    The likeliest way this then goes:

    The LL will express his surprise that this is the case.
    He will say "but my agent says we need another fixed term and is charging me £xxx for it!"
    You will say, "yes they are charging us too!"
    LL will say "cheeky !!!!!!s, well if you are happy, then of course I'm happy too."

    end

    then bring up the repair situation
    • anniewoo82
    • By anniewoo82 9th Aug 18, 10:20 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    anniewoo82
    • #7
    • 9th Aug 18, 10:20 AM
    • #7
    • 9th Aug 18, 10:20 AM
    Pen, paper, photos (send to the letting agent), video, keep a copy with date, receipt from the post office - cover yourself from deposit deduction request.
    Originally posted by cjdavies
    Oh I have got a paper trail as long as my arm! Been keeping copies of all correspondence and luckily as these were all issues with the property from when we first moved in, they are all noted on the inventory too.
    • anniewoo82
    • By anniewoo82 9th Aug 18, 10:48 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    anniewoo82
    • #8
    • 9th Aug 18, 10:48 AM
    • #8
    • 9th Aug 18, 10:48 AM
    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far. With regards to finding another property, unfortunately it is not that simple. When we first took on this place it was after searching and viewing properties for nearly 3 months straight (we had 4 months notice from our previous landlord, who was fantastic and we only had to leave as he was returning from Spain and needed the house to live in himself).

    Although we had 6 months rent upfront available, an excellent reference from our previous landlord and could prove we had paid rent in full and on time every month as soon as I mentioned that I received universal credit we were turned away.

    I was given different reasons for this refusal. The two most common ones being that landlords were wary of the new universal credit system and were worrying that it might mean they didn't get their rent. I tried explaining that the amount I receive is very small (before my Daughter moved in with me last September I did not claim anything and the rent was covered entirely by my earnings, which have not changed since she moved in). The second most common reason was that many landlords were not allowed under their mortgage conditions to accept tenants on housing benefit. This point frustrated me, as I do not claim the housing benefit part of universal credit, the part I claim is what would have been "working tax credits". However, now it has all been rolled into one in our area and landlords/letting agents apparently cannot distinguish between what elements of universal credit I receive and so to comply with their mortgage terms they have to turn down all applications where universal credit is mentioned. One letting agent (who was clearly unsure of the new system) told me that if I receive working tax credit it would be a bonus as I could count it as part of my income and therefore have a higher affordability rating. He couldn't quite understand what I meant when I told him that that was exactly what I received, but that as our area had changed to universal credit, it was the same tax credits but with a different name. When I put it into simple terms and said to him "Until a few months ago, what I receive would have been called working tax credits, now it's called universal credit" he changed his tune completely and said "Oh no, in that case we wouldn't have anything we can rent to you".

    This has been my stumbling block during this whole process. In the area in which I live, we found just two properties out of the 26 we marked as suitable that were willing to rent to us on universal credit. One wanted a homeowner guarantor, which I don't have and the other was this property I am in now, which wanted the 6 months upfront. I know I am not the only person with this problem as I did sign up to a property forum online for my area and it is full of people worrying about being left with nowhere to rent in the same situation as me. For this reason, despite the repairs etc I feel lucky to at least have a place to call home!

    With regards to letting the tenancy become periodic, that would be my ideal choice. Unfortunately, when we made the initial payment upfront, it was into the letting agents account (not sure why it was done this way, but that is how they requested it and at the time I didn't give it much thought). The downside of this is that I have no payment details for the landlord and so cannot simply start making payments into his account for the rent. The last thing I want to do is miss or be late with any payments as I don't think that would be fair or acceptable and I know that that would not reflect well on me either.

    Wesleyad - thank you for your advice, I think writing to the landlord has to be the way forward - at least then we can find out if he had any idea of all of these issues and hopefully work out something directly with him. I must admit I didn't know that the tenancy would legally become periodic after the fixed term expires. Hopefully he will be better at communication than the letting agents! It is just a shame to not have his payment details so I can just roll forwards and start making direct payments to him when this tenancy expires.
    • anniewoo82
    • By anniewoo82 9th Aug 18, 10:57 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    anniewoo82
    • #9
    • 9th Aug 18, 10:57 AM
    • #9
    • 9th Aug 18, 10:57 AM
    Here's what you do:

    You contact the LL directly. His/her contact info should be on the tenancy agreement. If not ask they agent, they are legally obliged to provide you with this. You tell the LL, we are happy to carry on renting, as you can see we've been great with rent, and we will just carry on a periodic tenancy that will lawfully come into place at the end of the fixed term.

    The likeliest way this then goes:

    The LL will express his surprise that this is the case.
    He will say "but my agent says we need another fixed term and is charging me £xxx for it!"
    You will say, "yes they are charging us too!"
    LL will say "cheeky !!!!!!s, well if you are happy, then of course I'm happy too."

    end

    then bring up the repair situation
    Originally posted by wesleyad
    Hello again,

    Sorry to bring up one more point after my other long reply! I have just had a read up on periodic tenancies and it says that the tenancy will continue on the same basis as the initial agreement. As we paid 6 months rent upfront last time, am I correct to presume that the same will be required this time and we will simply continue to pay our rent in one big lump sum at the start of every 6 month period?
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 9th Aug 18, 11:21 AM
    • 13,346 Posts
    • 19,224 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    With regards to letting the tenancy become periodic, that would be my ideal choice. Unfortunately, when we made the initial payment upfront, it was into the letting agents account (not sure why it was done this way, but that is how they requested it and at the time I didn't give it much thought). The downside of this is that I have no payment details for the landlord and so cannot simply start making payments into his account for the rent. The last thing I want to do is miss or be late with any payments as I don't think that would be fair or acceptable and I know that that would not reflect well on me either.
    Originally posted by anniewoo82

    ???

    What does where you make the payment have to do with anything? Many tenants across the country make rent payments to the letting agent who then pass the money on to the landlord, minus their cut of course. If you were to renew who would you pay the money to, the landlord or the letting agent? My guess would be to the letting agent. What is the rent frequency set out in the tenancy agreement? Monthly, weekly, 6 monthly?

    In other words letting the tenancy become periodic is absolutely an option available to you and the route I would go down if I were in your position.

    Remember that the letting agent cannot evict you. Sure they could issue a Section 21 notice but it's the landlord who would have to take you to court to get the possession order, which you will have some protection against because you have reported repairs. Would any sane landlord go to the effort of court and eviction for a paying tenant over a periodic tenancy? No, they wouldn't.
    • takman
    • By takman 9th Aug 18, 11:35 AM
    • 3,786 Posts
    • 3,450 Thanks
    takman
    Although we had 6 months rent upfront available, an excellent reference from our previous landlord and could prove we had paid rent in full and on time every month as soon as I mentioned that I received universal credit we were turned away.
    Originally posted by anniewoo82
    Why did you tell them that you used Universal Credit? Have you told all the local letting agents this?. If not and you do look for another house to rent then you shouldn't volunteer this information considering your not using it to pay the rent or bills and it's just extra money for you.
    • anniewoo82
    • By anniewoo82 9th Aug 18, 11:36 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    anniewoo82
    ???

    What does where you make the payment have to do with anything? Many tenants across the country make rent payments to the letting agent who then pass the money on to the landlord, minus their cut of course. If you were to renew who would you pay the money to, the landlord or the letting agent? My guess would be to the letting agent. What is the rent frequency set out in the tenancy agreement? Monthly, weekly, 6 monthly?

    In other words letting the tenancy become periodic is absolutely an option available to you and the route I would go down if I were in your position.

    Remember that the letting agent cannot evict you. Sure they could issue a Section 21 notice but it's the landlord who would have to take you to court to get the possession order, which you will have some protection against because you have reported repairs. Would any sane landlord go to the effort of court and eviction for a paying tenant over a periodic tenancy? No, they wouldn't.
    Originally posted by Pixie5740
    Thank you Pixie

    I must admit, this is an area that is completely new to me, so I wasn't sure how it works! In our last property the landlord dealt directly with us for everything, so we never had to renew via letting agents or deal with them at all after taking on the tenancy. Prior to that, I owned my own home with my ex-husband, so again, we had no letting agents to deal with.

    In our initial tenancy it is set out at 6 months tenancy with full payment upfront, so I presume it would be on the same terms this time too.

    I suppose I was under the impression that if things were to become periodic that it would be the landlord I had to pay direct, thank you for advising that this may not be the case.

    The reason I am unsure about payment accounts is that when we made payment for this place, we were given bank details for the upfront payment to go into but there was a highlighted note that said "please note that this is not the bank account that you will make your regular rent payments into". Obviously paying upfront we had no regular rent payments but I would be worried about paying a large sum of money into this account again without first double checking (obviously this is something I will do, but communication with the letting agents is so poor it makes things really difficult).

    After we have sorted this renewal out we will be taking things further with regards to the repairs etc, but for now we just want to get this sorted out. I know it sounds silly but we are worried if we make a big thing out of the repairs that the landlord will see us as a pain and want to get rid of us - I know this is a stupid thing to worry about (and probably makes me sound very naive) but it does worry me as I haven't been in this situation before and I hate feeling insecure! Think I need to "man up" a little!
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 9th Aug 18, 11:39 AM
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    Pixie5740
    The landlord might think you're a PITA but you do have some protection from revenge evictions following a request for repairs.

    https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/repairs/revenge_eviction_if_you_ask_for_repairs

    In fact it might be worth escalating outstanding repairs to the council if your landlord is dragging his feet.
    • anniewoo82
    • By anniewoo82 9th Aug 18, 11:40 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    anniewoo82
    Why did you tell them that you used Universal Credit? Have you told all the local letting agents this?. If not and you do look for another house to rent then you shouldn't volunteer this information considering your not using it to pay the rent or bills and it's just extra money for you.
    Originally posted by takman
    Because I wanted to be honest with them and figured they would see it on my bank statements anyway - is this not the best thing to do? My bank statements do also prove that I earn enough to cover rent without those payments being taken into account.
    • anniewoo82
    • By anniewoo82 9th Aug 18, 11:43 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    anniewoo82
    The landlord might think you're a PITA but you do have some protection from revenge evictions following a request for repairs.



    In fact it might be worth escalating outstanding repairs to the council if your landlord is dragging his feet.
    Originally posted by Pixie5740
    Thank you Pixie, that page has gone straight into my bookmarks - never hurts to keep things safe, just in case!
    • Slithery
    • By Slithery 9th Aug 18, 3:39 PM
    • 1,032 Posts
    • 1,666 Thanks
    Slithery
    Because I wanted to be honest with them and figured they would see it on my bank statements anyway - is this not the best thing to do?
    Originally posted by anniewoo82
    How on earth did the agencies get copies of your bank statements?
    • anniewoo82
    • By anniewoo82 9th Aug 18, 6:24 PM
    • 9 Posts
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    anniewoo82
    How on earth did the agencies get copies of your bank statements?
    Originally posted by Slithery
    Because every agency (bar one) that we were interested in renting through said that referencing would include providing copies of our last 3 months worth of bank statements.

    I did try and argue this point, saying that there was no reason for them to ask for these (given that they had my business accounts, id, address verification etc) and that it was not a legal requirement for us to provide them but we were told we would fail referencing if automatically we didn't provide them.

    Mind you, the funniest letting agency request had to be the one that informed us if we were to take a 6 month tenancy and pay 6 months upfront we would still require a guarantor! When I asked them what exactly the guarantor would be guaranteeing they couldn't provide an answer and just said it was their policy for renting to people on universal credit. Needless to say, we didn't rent through them!
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