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  1. I've just had a lengthy but sucessful battle with Countrywide Estate Agents, whereby I have extracted around £500 back from the greedy useless (rude word). The process was enlightening, they don't understand the code of practice to which they are bound by and a breach of the code = a clear cut ability to claim. (Code of Practice - to which Countrywide and most big estate agents are bound through their membership with the Property Ombudsman). I am not familiar with this forum, but there doesn't seem to be anywhere useful to stick my story. I hate estate agents and think they are useless and overcharge for everything and want others to use the process to ensure they do not put up with it either...
  2. Hello everyone, I am new to this forum; thank you for all the information and input. I went to view a property to rent this past week and at the viewing, I expressed interest in renting it. The estate agent informed me to call the office to "stake my claim" to the property and that there would be an admin fee of £250 to draw up the tenancy agreement and to carry out credit checks. She also stated that they, as the estate agents, are actually only in charge of finding a tenant and that once the agreement was signed, our property would be managed by the prestigious estate that actually owns the property. She said that there would be a further admin fee of £150 charged by the estate, but that this amount would be deducted from the first months rent. I already thought that the initial £250 admin fee was a bit excessive as I had expected about £100 for 2 people's credit checks. However, I was so anxious to "stake my claim" as she said, as she put the pressure on and said that this property would be snatched up straight away and it was really ideal for us, so we paid the £250 over the phone and the agent said that this would take the property off the market. However, the property is still being advertised on their website. I thought the addition of another £150 admin fee from a different estate that they let for was especially insulting, but I guess I was mollified by the fact that this would be deducted from the first months rent, as I was told by the estate agent at the time of viewing. However, when I went to the estate agent's office to collect the application forms so that they can carry out their credit checks, the agent in the office handed me the "Advance Payment Form" which detailed the security deposit of £995, the first months rent due on the day of move in £795, the tenancy agreement fee of £250 ( this has already been debited from our bank account) and a further £150 admin fee for the other estate charge for a grand total of £2190 pounds due at the time of move in. However, they did remove the initial £250 from their grand total as this has already been debited, for a total of £1940 due at the time of move in. As I was told that the £150 other admin fee would be debited from the first months rent, I questioned this with the agent. She blithely replied that it would not be DEBITED from the first months rent, rather that it is ADDED to the first months rent. I said that I was given the wrong information and that this would have influenced my decision to rent this property, as the admin fees alone are equal to half a months rent, and we wouldn't be able to claim this money back like a deposit. I asked to see the rental agreement but she removed it from the packet stating that I would have to complete the credit check applications before I could see the rental agreement that I was applying for! I them calmly stated that I felt I was given the wrong information at the time that I paid the initial £250 "admin fee" as I was told that the additional £150 fee would be deducted from the first months rent. I then said I felt I had a right to read the rental agreement to a property I am applying to live at and have already paid the £250 admin fee for. She then pressured me to sign the advance payment form, advising me that I didnt need to consult my husband to pay this upfront and that I didnt need to see the rental agreement. I didnt sign it but asked to take it away with me to review with my husband. She hesitantly made a copy of our "advance payment form" and remarked that the £250 pound paid admin fee was non-refundable, even if they gave us the wrong information, and that I wouldnt be getting my money back whatever happened. She also made a snarky comment about how we still have to do credit checks yet to be deemed as acceptable tenants, as if we didnt earn enough money to live there, which I'm sure we make more than enough of. I know that in Scotland very recently, laws have been passed that have made it illegal to charge tenants fees to be able to rent a property, but sadly similar laws have not yet been passed in the UK yet. I think I would have understood if there was a reasonable charge to move in, such as £100. However, as if the £250 wasn't bad enough, they have now added a £150 further admin fee that they said would be refunded in the form of being deducted out of our first months rent, which they have now added to the first months rent instead. What rights do I have in terms of being given the wrong information at the time of viewing? Also, do I have the right to ask them to itemise just what exactly the £250 pound admin fee and further £150 estate fee is for? What could they possibly need £400 pounds for to check us out as tenants? I just feel that the cost is so extortionate to rent this place, and also that they have deliberately told me wrong information saying that I would be refunded the further £150 estate fee, while instead adding it on. I'm not trying to give them a hard time, and I certainly don't want to back down from renting the property because it is just so ideal for us, but I feel that what they've done borders on illegal, and I feel like I definitely have a right to see our rental/tenancy agreement papers if they are making me fill out our credit checks and have already debited £250 pounds from us. Is it worth sticking my foot down and telling them that they told me the wrong information at the viewing when I dont have any written proof that they said that? Also, I know it might be too late as they have already debited the £250 pound admin fee from us, but I have read on other forums that there is usually a fair amount of negotiating or haggling when it comes to these admin fees that I so naiively didnt know about - is there such thing as after-negotiation? Thank you all in advance for any advice; I really appreciate it.
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