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Recovering admin fee for dubious rental application?


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Hi

 

I've had a quick search and can't find a situation like this one so.....

 

Friend of mine just applied to rent a flat. Had to pay a £150 admin fee to the letting agent and was told that this was non-refundable in the event of being turned down for the rental...

 

A week later, she rang them to find out what was happening and they told her that the flat was no longer available as the landlord had found their own tenant for the flat. They have also, naturally, said that the admin fee is non-returnable..

 

Now I'd have thought that, in this case, they've taken a fee for an application that could never have resulted in a successful application (regardless of whether or not they knew the landlord had found his own tenant - in fact I'm surprised cos I'd have thought that they would be kicking off about it) and as such have not provided the application service that was paid for...

 

Am I right or am I just whistling in the wind?

 

I'm a bit cynical about everything now from my own experiences of this and that and I half wonder if the flat is actually just sitting there attracting applications, all of which are told the same thing... cos an application a week would exceed the rent and there is no obvious proof they even did a credit check or anything that would actually have involved spending ANY of the application fee!

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You are correct - this should be refunded immediately - you have paid for a service that could never be carried out.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Funnily enough, I've just checked their website and the property is still listed...

 

So I contacted them and was told it is still available but I'll need to pay £150 fee to apply.... sounds familiar!

 

I'm wondering if I'm not too cynical afterall! Co all it takes is for 50% of the people to accept that the money is non-returnable and they are on to a nice little earner!

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it gets better.... Told my mate and he phoned up and they were like "yes, it's available, just need to pay £150" until they realised who he was... then within 30 secsonds it was "well actually the property is no longer available" and hung up on him....

 

So I contacted them again and was told it was still available... £150 please...

 

Half tempted to call the police! or trading standards... thing is they are actually a fairly respectable estate agents!

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Definitely Trading Standards. It's an offence for an agent to charge a fee where no property is supplied.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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Definitely Trading Standards. It's an offence for an agent to charge a fee where no property is supplied.

 

Something of a broad statement, and not quite accurate(especially as there is no specific offence for agents). It is an offence to charge a fee for a service not supplied is probably a better way of saying it.

 

I say that specifically because it is quite legal and right for an agent to charge for a credit check, and then not supply the property on the basis of that check.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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I was thinking of the

The Accommodation Agencies Act 1953, though you're right it doesn't seem as clear cut as I thought.

 

Your example of a credit check creates all sorts of complex legal questions, particularly in light of CPUT and the above Act, since the credit check is not optional but part of the general application process.

 

I have it on quite good authority that the role of letting agents is due for reform soon, due to concern over unfair practices.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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Explain the legal questions arising from the credit check Z? Not saying there arent any, just not seeing the complexities myself!

 

And I sincerely hope such reform occurs, especially as there is not even a legal definition for a letting agent yet!

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Because the check is not a complete service in itself, it's a compulsory part of the entire application process. In other words, the service the applicant actually wants is the provision of a home, not a credit check.

 

If the agent pulls out of the deal without providing the service the applicant actually wants, they shouldn't be allowed to charge. It's a bit like a car retailer charging a wheels fee, engine fee etc, and then trying to claim that each part is a separate product or service and has to be paid for even if the car as a whole is never supplied.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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Hmmm - I disagree. I think as long as it is made clear that this is the case prior, then it is absolutely chargeable. It is a component of the service, but a required one. If the agent pulls out because the tenant fails a credit check, this is not the agents fault - it is in effect the tenant "pulling out" because they have not met the requirements(requirements which they know prior to allowing the agent to go ahead with the checks). In this case, the agent should be compensated for their financial loss in establishing that the tenant meets the requirements.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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