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Surprise Fees Taken from deposit


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I recently moved out of a letting, and following the final inspection, was granted the full deposit to be refunded (it was well looked after over the near 4 years I was there).

 

However, when the cheque arrived, it came with a letter explaining that £50 was taken out as the "Final inspection fee".

 

This was a total surprise and when I called to contest this I was told that I would have signed to agree to this.

 

Having dug out the old tenancy agreement, (lo and behold... ) I can't see it anywhere.

 

So I have since written to politely ask for proof that I had agreed to this and am currently waiting on a reply.

 

So my question is, what are the implications of this so called fee, if it was not contractually agreed? And what should I do if the letting agency concerned cannot find proof of contract?

 

To be honest, it's means more to me about not being taken for granted than the 50 quid.

 

 

Cheers,

 

Barney

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I'm gathering from the sound of things that the deposit was not protected as all the rest of the deposit minus 50 quid has been returned so there'd be no recourse through lodging a complaint through any dispute resolution service.

 

However you may have a couple options as I understand things.

 

1) If the estate agent is registered with any association then there may be an ombudsman or something similar to an arbitrator that you could bring this up to. You need to go to their website or call their office to find out if they're registered with any estate agent association to find out if using an ombudsman is even an option.

 

2) If you are very sure there is nothing in your tenancy agreement concerning final inspection/check out fees then you could write them a letter of action asking again for proof that you agreed to these fees and telling them that if they do not provide this or a cheque for 50 pounds within 14 days you will take them to court.

 

I'd normally say that the 50 quid wasn't worth the time, effort, and cost of taking them to court, especially since if you loose you'll be loosing more than 50 quid, but if you have the gumption to do this for principle's sake alone then more power to you and best of luck.

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Good for you for caring about principle! So much money is lost to tenants in this way - because it's usually easier to just let it go. Stand up for us all! :)

 

 

My agreement, which I think is fairly standard, has a clause saying that the inventory costs must be shared between the landlord and tenant. However, in the pre-moving-out bumpf they just sent me, it states that these costs "may be higher than our original estimate" (no specific figure was ever given for check-out costs). It explicitly says on the ombudsman's website (of which my agents are a member) that they can't levy charges which the tenant has not agreed to in advance. So I'll certainly be disputing any made-up fees.

 

Do let us know what happens!

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I already paid £120 upfront as a "signing on admin fee" (which WAS in the contract btw). This was 4 years ago, so before the deposit protection scheme came into place.

 

I will definitely report back after I have heard something. And even if I never see that 50 quid again, I'll bog them down in letters such that their admin will cost them more...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Did a little celebration ... then I realised it was already my money in the first place :)

 

:D

 

Er, was the deposit repaid plus interest? What does your AST say about the deposit and interest? If it is silent on the matter then little you can do and case closed - and champagne open!

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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