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  1. Lettings agents in England will be banned from charging fees to tenants "as soon as possible" under plans announced in the Autumn Statement. Tenants can be charged fees for a range of administration, including reference, credit and immigration checks. Chancellor Philip Hammond said shifting the cost to landlords will save 4.3 million households hundreds of pounds. The move could spur competition as landlords, unlike tenants, can shop around for the cheapest agent. In Scotland, lettings agency fees to tenants have already been banned. In England and Wales since last year, lettings and managing agents have been legally obliged to clearly publicise their fees. Fees vary widely, with costs in some big cities much higher than elsewhere. Tenants face charges when agents draw up tenancy agreements along with the possibility of a non-refundable holding deposit paid before signing up to the deal. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38065249
  2. After spending some time trying to get housed through Choice Based Lettings on medical grounds, and getting an unfair sense of things within the lettings (after I learnt my top-level Choice Based Lettings bids were not being honoured), me and friends started digging around a little deeper. And the results appear to be disturbing. While it is impossible to share all of our findings on a single forum post, I’ll share some examples. Any advice, opinions, suggestions, etc. are most welcome! The Allocation Scheme states (s.2.7.8 and s.2.7.9): "It is likely that Property Mobility Category 3 properties will be unsuitable for Mobility Category 1 and 2 applicants and that section 2.2.14 will apply. Subject to that, those in Mobility Category 1 will have priority over those in Mobility Category 2 and they will have priority over those in Mobility Category 3 who will have priority over those in Mobility Category 4. When persons within the same Mobility Category bid for an advertised Mobility Category property, priority will depend upon who has the most points and, if equal, whose application is the earliest in time." These rules set out in the Allocation Scheme are not being followed and properties are allocated purely on decisions of the lettings mangers. This is why when I placed my bid for a Mobility 3 property, I was not invited for viewing or contacted about the property despite being in position 2, with mobility 3 priority and 200 points. The property was allocated to a bidder with 150 points instead. Lord Scott - Ahmad case (R Ahmad v LB Newham [2009] UKHL 14) – states: "To allow the choice to depend upon the judgment of a Council official, or a committee of officials, no matter how experienced and well trained he, she or they might be, would lack transparency and be likely to lead to a plethora of costly litigation based on allegations of favouritism or discrimination." We requested for bidding data under the Freedom of Information and we found that people with top priorities are waiting for many years while applicants with Mobility 4 priority and lower points can selectively get housed into Mobility 3 properties within as little as one month! See sample stats attached (go straight to page 2 of the attachment). [to be continued...]
  3. Hi all, My landlord agreed to break my tenancy early, at roughly the 6 month mark into a 12 month tenancy (which had no break clause to begin with). So it was completely in their power to decide on end dates for the tenancy. I also agreed to pay any re-letting fees. I have finally received the following communication from the lettings agent today. So it seems like the lettings agent is attempting to pull a quick one on me, and charge me an extra weeks worth of rent (roughly £200) when I am not even occupying the flat. In addition to this, they want to charge me £300 for the re-letting fees (which they said would be deducted from the deposit). Is this reasonable? I know I agreed to pay this, but if it is an absurd amount, perhaps asking them for a breakdown of the costs might help? What are my rights in this situation? Many thanks fellow CAGers. EDIT: Also forgot to ask - when am I allowed to cancel my standing order with the bank? My next payment is due on the 3rd of the next month, and I obviously won't be staying for the whole period...
  4. Hi everyone..... I have recently got into a dispute with a landlord regarding the return of fees paid for referencing checks. I am about to file a small claims submission, but first I'd appreciate any advice/comments. Basically what happened was put in an offer for a flat that he owns, and we believe he had accepted the offer (see email chain below). However when the tenancy agreement came through it was a higher amount than we agreed. I contacted him and he said he never accepted our offer, and the price is fixed. We therefore decided not to move ahead with going for the flat because what he was asking was too high for the standard of the flat, and we didn't think it was safe to work with someone who acts in this manner. I have tried talking to him about it but he refuses to accept that he should return the fee. I sent him a letter giving him 14 days notice before taking him to court, and he has again written back saying he will not return the fee. He says he never accepted our offer, and the price was on rightmove.co.uk. Here are the emails between my wife and this landlord (I've blanked out names) where we put an offer to him, his response. I can't see however any way in which this can't be seen as acceptance of our offer. We responded to this by negotiating an early release from our current landlord, so we could move in to meet the new landlords timescales. There were no subsequent discussions about the rental amount until I queried the amount showing on the tenancy agreement. EMAIL TRAIL STARTS HERE.... Hi Charles, Thank-you for arranging the viewing today, Graham was lovely and very helpful. We liked the flat and are interested in renting the property from you, the only issue we have is it's slightly over what we had originally planned to spend. Would you be willing to consider £1200 per month please? Thank you, Emily ============================================================================== Hi Emily, Really pleased that you liked the flat and had a good viewing with Graham. Graham said you are a really nice family and would be well suited in the flat and good tenants so I am keen to offer the flat to you. What will help me make my final decision will be when you could take the flat on, do you have an ideal date to move in? I would also ask if you can help give me some more info by filling in the attached document and send back to me. This will also assist with referencing if we go forward. Thanks again and speak soon. Charles
  5. I thought it would be useful to have a list of common abbreviations that are used on this forum. This way, newbies can look up what the main terms used are. I hope it will save the forum regulars a bit of typing. If anyone has further suggestions or notices something I may have missed, I'm happy to amend the stikky. Here's a link to the stikky. http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?460057-Lettings-forum-abbreviations HB
  6. Here is list of abbreviations you're likely to see used on threads here. With thanks to mariner51 for their input. ADR Alternative Dispute Resolution [Mediation] AST Assured Shorthold Tenancy CCJ County court judgement CT Council tax DPS Deposit Protection Service F/F Fully furnished HMO House in multiple occupatiom LA Lettings agent/agency or local authority LL Landlord MD MyDeposit NTQ Notice to quit pcm Per calendar month PR Private rented pw Per week rel Relevant SCC small claims Court temp Temperature T Tenant TA Tenancy Agreement TDP Tenancy Deposit Scheme, the generic name for government-backed tenancy depositshemes https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview TDS Tenancy Deposit Scheme UNF Unfurnished
  7. Hello, I have received a Section 21 notice. My landlady has said via email that she has no intention of asking me to leave and making me homeless before I can move into the property I am buying, but that she has had to serve the notice in order for the agent to market the rental. The notice asks me to leave on a date in August 2013. The covering letter, signed by same person as the notice, says I'm required to vacate on a date in August 2014. Is this notice therefore valid? Is this perhaps her way of saying I don't actually have to leave until I'm ready? The agent has written and signed both the covering letter and notice. Or is it just another of the many mistakes the agent has made?
  8. Hi, My boyfriend and I had decided to move in together and had found an ideal property for us and our 3 children that we have between us. Upon finding the property, we were very upfront with the lettings agent and disclosed to them that my boyfriend had been discharged from bankruptcy in July 2012. They relayed this to the landlord who said he was happy to still proceed with all the referencing checks necessary. When my boyfriends credit check came back, the letting agent informed us that there were some problems with it. We signed up and downloaded the credit report that they used and noticed things on there that due to his previous bankruptcy should not have been on the report. (They do not appear on more reputable credit checking agency reports). We informed the letting agent and proved to them that they should not have appeared. The letting agent knowingly passed on this false information to the landlord who has subsequently refused us the property (even though he knew about the bankruptcy prior to referencing) We have "failed" their credit checks and so our money goes to the landlord. Forgetting about the legalities off knowingly passing on false information that has been used discriminatorily, this whole situation has left us severely out of pocket hence hindering us from finding another property and quite frankly has upset me to no end. Does anyone have any advice on where we stand legally regarding getting our money back. The agents say we need to seek it from the credit check agency, but at the end of the day they employed that service.....if I find a hole in a jumper I take it back to the shop, not the factory it came from! Many thanks
  9. Hi, could really do with some advice on how to handle this. I made deposit with the agency and they claim they tried to contact me and because I did not reply even though I had no calls come through! they won't refund me, and have let the property to someone else, worse of all my stuff is all packed and ready to move The company in question are ARLA members and their terms on refund state the following:- "What About Your Deposit? As Concentric Lettings are an ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) licensed member we are qualified and indemnified to operate with a full money bonded client account to protect all your funds, your deposit is safeguarded by a government authorized Tenancy Deposit Scheme. At the end of your tenancy it is impartially assessed, by one of our inventory professionals, with your deposit being refunded according to a fair and strict code of practice." They tried to say that the terms are specific to a landlord pulling out but as we can see above the terms are not specific and clearly state a refund! I did speak to the manager who said she could give half of the money, but why should I settle for half...I was totally calm and polite and all got in return was a frustrated obnoxious response, because they want to steal my money. Advice is appreciated, thank you.
  10. Hi, We are having a really bad experience with a lettings agent at the moment. We are relocating to a new county and have found the perfect place to rent. We travelled to view the property 2 weeks ago, but an hour before the viewing (when we had arrived in the county), we were called by the agent to inform us they had to cancel the appointment as they didn't have the set of keys in the office and the MD had disappeared with them. We were naturally furious - my other half had taken the afternoon off work to view the property and we are in a hurry to move. There are no other properties in the area we want to live that are suitable/available. Finally, a week later we were shown around the property and we filled in the Homelet applications and provided the £120 cheque for the fee. We then made an offer in writing to the agent. There are some sticking issues with the overgrown garden, rubbish to remove, and a bathroom that really needs updating, we are happy to sort the garden etc. and put up with the bathroom but asked for a discount on the rent. It has taken a week (after several calls and emails to the agent) to get any response from the landlord. The property has been on the market for 6 months so we can't understand why they are so slow in getting back to us! Today, I upped the offer to nearer to the asking price and chased up the agent again. I was informed over the phone by the agent that she had discussed our credit application with the landlord and they were unhappy that there were some very old defaults that we honestly placed on the application. 1) Is the agent allowed to discuss our application with the landlord before it is processed? I know that the landlord lives very local to the property and as it is a small village, I don't want my personal finances being known, especially when the offer hasn't been accepted or not and the application hasn't taken place. 2) Is this poor service common? I cannot believe how we are being treated. I have offered to pay 6 months rent upfront to cover any credit worries and now having to wait yet again for a response. I know that we should walk away from the property and find something else but I am concerned that from a data protection point of view, our financial records have been shared with a complete stranger, who I believe currently has no right to that information? Am I right? Many thanks
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