Agent will not supply tradesmens invoices requested by insurance company

by Readers Question

8:50 AM, 12th October 2015
About 3 years ago

Agent will not supply tradesmens invoices requested by insurance company

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Agent will not supply tradesmens invoices requested by insurance company

I have made an insurance claim for a damaged door, which had been kicked in and the insurance company say it is a valid claim, but they will not pay out the VAT on the invoice, which is from the agent, because it is not the agent doing the repair.refuse

They want an invoice from the tradesman showing his VAT number. The agents refuse to supply this saying that all repairs are handled by themselves and their tradesmen only want to deal with them, the agent. Therefore the agent gives a VAT invoice to the landlord in the agents name. The agent says they have never been requested to supply a tradesman’s invoice by an insurance company before and cannot understand why the company won’t accept their invoice.

As a landlord with various letting agents, this is the only agent that refuses to supply tradesmens invoices, all the others do it as part of their normal procedure.

Many thanks

David



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:09 AM, 12th October 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi David,

The above makes no sense as the contractor must issue an invoice for tax purposes.

This makes me wonder if the agent belongs to a redress scheme, have client money protection or PI.

Joe Bloggs

10:51 AM, 12th October 2015
About 3 years ago

sounds like the agent is adding his cut to make a secret profit, just like the foxtons onging case. i suspect this is widespread.

Mark Lynham

11:02 AM, 12th October 2015
About 3 years ago

yep, as just mentioned, typical practise of an agent who is 'bumping up' tradesman invoices....

Jason McClean

11:21 AM, 12th October 2015
About 3 years ago

Sounds like the agent is adding margin to the costs. If you know the tradesmen, contact them directly and see if you can go that route.

Mike W

11:33 AM, 12th October 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi David,
As others have already commented there are probably reasons. I think it would be beneficial to look from the various parties perspectives.

The insurance company presumably has a contract with you and not the agent so I presume that you will be able to check their 'small print'. The insurance company's position presumably is whilst it is a legitimate claim they want the actual invoice to ensure that no 'fraud' is taking place. Moreover if there is an agent 'mark up' why should they pay that? Does your policy say that in addition to the invoice they will pay handling charges? I suspect not. Now I am not suggesting anything. Just as airport security checks have 'random inspections', so do insurance companies.

From an agents perspective why should they not provide the whole details? Do they have something to hide? Did they use a small time trader not registered for VAT? Did they then process this bill, adding on their mark up and VAT? What does their contract with you state? Do they use their own staff?

I would suggest that you tell the agent that you hold them responsible for not co-operating with the legitimate investigative inquiries of your insurance company against fraud, thereby voiding your legitimate insurance claim. If they do do not cooperate you will hold them responsible for the entire claim and if they do not pay up you will take them to the small claims court.

A lot of hassle? Yes. But you will get a result.

Oh and then change your agent at the earliest opportunity.

money manager

11:45 AM, 12th October 2015
About 3 years ago

Agent. If the agent is truly acting in that capacity there is no need (or ability) for them to add VAT for the "service" of passing it through their accounts, as the name suggests they are acting as your agent and are paid through their rental percentage etc. However, their lettings contract might say that you contract with them, and not the underlying contractor (which would definitely be the case for workmen employed by them), for the supply of maintenance work. In that case VAT must be added by a VAT registered businesss even if the contractor was not themselves VAT registered. Unless you can qualify as partially exempt you can't claim it back either. Personally, I insist on receiving all invoices and have demanded both breakdowns and ammendments as a result.

Steve From Leicester

12:18 PM, 12th October 2015
About 3 years ago

Who would be responsible (in strict legal terms) for making good any poor quality workmanship. And who would ultimately be out of pocket if you didn't pay.
.
If the answer to both of those is "The agent" then you should have a bill and a VAT number from the agent. If the answer is "The contractor" then the agent might give you a "statement" showing charges deducted from rental income, but if you require a proper VAT invoice it must come from the contractor.

Luke P

12:49 PM, 12th October 2015
About 3 years ago

When in my capacity as an agent, I charge more than what the contractor charges me.

This is something that requires a sensible discussion. Over 30 years I have negotiated the price of all but the rarest of jobs to the lowest possible amount, much of this negotiation took place in the earlier years as I was in a period of rapid growth (whilst purchasing my own first 100 houses and before I took on other properties to manage) and so should have margin to add my fee for the organisation of that repair.

I am more than happy to pick up the Yellow Pages and have the first plumber/electrician take on a job at full rate should the landlord wish but they will moan about the cost of the job.

Nowhere in my agreement with my landlords do I agree to achieve them the lowest possible price, but it is apparently expected...and for free!

As an example, I pay £20 for a GSC (due to volume and negotiation). I charge this out at £35...still about 50% saving on the standard 'Yellow Pages' cost. My time and hard work have managed to get such deals.

Landlords are expecting more and more for their 10%. I am in the process of re-writing my terms and all extras will have to be paid for -right to rent checks, smoke alarm testing, legionella reports. We're also expected to monitor the giving out of How to Rent in England guides now. Someone's got to pay as the job is no longer that of a convenient 'money-collecting middle man'.

Robert Rivers

13:51 PM, 12th October 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "12/10/2015 - 12:49":

I agree Luke and could probably come up with numerous examples, from all aspects of life, that would put what you are saying, into perspective. On a general point, looking at posts on many subjects, i get the impression that there is a gigantic difference in the effort required and rewards received in this industry, when comparing London and the south east, with the rest of the country, particularly the north, where i feel costs and charges are far easier to defend.

Si G

16:11 PM, 12th October 2015
About 3 years ago

Maybe the tradesman is not registered for vat, if the agent is vatable ask them to allocate the bill to vat and non vat parts. If they dont provide a reply sack them. I had a similar scenario with a claim for kitchen damage the bottom line was the insurer did everything possible to avoid paying out complete idiots but after much perseverance i managed to provide every single invoice some with vat and some without.

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