Agent demanding check out fees 8 months after tenancy end?

by Readers Question

8:30 AM, 9th November 2018
About A week ago

Agent demanding check out fees 8 months after tenancy end?

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Agent demanding check out fees 8 months after tenancy end?

I have a property which is let via an agent. The previous tenancy ended in March 2018 when the tenants decided to move out after the one year fixed term. Under the terms of the AST, I am liable to pay for the check out fee (the tenants paid the check in, I paid the inventory).

Before the end of the tenancy, the agents tenancy management team emailed me saying they would deduct the £144 check out fee from the final month’s rent. Everything went smoothly and following some redecoration new tenants were found via a different agent.

Last week I received a demand from the previous agent for £144 for the unpaid check out. I had to go back and find the old landlords statements and cross reference them against my bank account to discover they had in fact not taken this sum from the final rent as was originally agreed.

In fact during the whole tenancy, the tenancy management team were worse than useless. They collected the rent but failed to notice on two occasions that it hadn’t been paid until I contacted them to ask what was happening. Back in 2012 a similar thing also happened…

My question is, since the contract ended so long ago, am I still liable for the fee?

It’s taken several emails for them to finally apologise for their errors. I certainly won’t be using them again (despite the fact that their local branch is actually very good and finds good tenants – although they do charge handsomely for that… and the back office management of rent collection is part of that fee. I manage the maintenance of the property…)

I know to get a definitive answer I should consult a solicitor, but that would cost more than the £144 so part of me feels like I should just pay it and never use them again.

Thanks for your thoughts!

AP



Comments

Neil Patterson

8:34 AM, 9th November 2018
About A week ago

Hi AP,

Personally I would pay the invoice as technically you did owe the money even if they were a bit rubbish on admin. The flip side is you could have checked the statements yourself as well, especially knowing what they were like. Then just don't use them again.

MasterG

11:46 AM, 9th November 2018
About A week ago

Yes. Pay what you owe and move on. If you lent me £100 for a month, and then forgot about it for 9 months, you'd still expect to get it back. This is no different.

AP

16:11 PM, 9th November 2018
About A week ago

Fair enough! I’ll pay it and move on...
I guess I just expect if you are paying an agent over £4000 in fees for tenant finding and rent collection they shouldn’t be making simple mistakes...(I know that landlords outside of central London are going to balk at that figure, but it’s standard!)

Dylan Morris

18:06 PM, 9th November 2018
About A week ago

No point in seeing a solicitor, under the Limitations Act a debt is time barred after 6 years. So as it’s only been 8 months then you are liable and will need to pay up.

AA

22:05 PM, 9th November 2018
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by AP at 09/11/2018 - 16:11
Why not ? Have you never made a mistake at work and still been paid for it ?

AP

8:49 AM, 10th November 2018
About 7 days ago

Reply to the comment left by AA at 09/11/2018 - 22:05
Actually I’m self employed so if I make a mistake I don’t get paid for it...

AA

9:11 AM, 10th November 2018
About 7 days ago

Reply to the comment left by AP at 10/11/2018 - 08:49
Well it will hack you off no end that there is a substantial world out there that the norm is that payment is due irrespective of the quality of work delivered or whether any work is done at all. . Just don't let it get to you.


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