Agents insisting on their own AST?

Agents insisting on their own AST?

8:34 AM, 13th April 2022, About 2 months ago 12

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Do you have to use an Agents own AST for a tenant find service?

For a tenant find service it is normal to reference the applicant you select and prepare the tenancy, arrange signing, collect deposit and lodge with the DPS as well as serving all compliance documentation.

I have used a very good agent that insists on using her AST as it has been checked and verified by the body she is accredited to. While in the main the AST is fine there are a few things I want to change – she references a statutory periodic tenancy after the min 6 months, whereas I want it stated as a contractual periodic for example.

Having has a look at the government’s own draft AST template (bloody useless would not use at all) there are sections in this that are more descriptive than the AST the Agent uses, so all I want is to have the flexibility to add what I think are pertinent things in.

Do others have this issue or do you all just use the Agents AST when using them for tenant find only?

DSR



Comments

by David Price

9:41 AM, 13th April 2022, About 2 months ago

The lady is your agent and as such has to do what you demand. Either she abides by your requests or you shoud find another agent. The particular problem you highlight (Statutory tenancy) is so vitally important that in itself is grounds for you to change agents - unless of course she capitulates. No sane landlord would allow a tenancy to continue as a Statutory Periodic.

by DSR

10:16 AM, 13th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 13/04/2022 - 09:41
The issue I have is that *most* agents I have approached want to use their own AST. My own AST's are based on my existing ones, with updates as and when required (eg I have added into the no smoking clause no vaping too). I have been through the government and NRLA draft ones and picked out pertinent things in here to that I may have overlooked and added in.
My issue is if the Agent is only finding the tenant, and after the AST is 'live' then from here on in its between me and the tenant (after all myself and the tenant signed it) so all agents should allow LL's to use their own AST surely?

Is there a code of conduct that states that Agents must use their own 'certified' AST and not a LL's own?

by Accommod8

10:24 AM, 13th April 2022, About 2 months ago

The whole typical landlord-agent relationship needs re-aligning such that they will do whatever is in their power to deliver the best professional service to their client. In most cases it's not like that. Of course they need their systems, but sometimes it seems like they hold all the control, with you as their servant, and yet they levy what charges they wish.
I regard myself as sane, but do use statutory periodic when ASTs end as, unless I misunderstand at all, while I can suddenly find I am seeking a new tenant by them serving only a month's notice, I have no fears around lengthy court cases for eviction. That is a much bigger potential concern than finding a new tenant via OpenRent. My tenants trust me to let them get on with their lives, knowing I would not give them their two months notice unless they had significant arrears or abused their tenancy.
For ASTs at commencement of tenure I add special comments/ instructions like " The tenant agrees to cover the cost of the hard wired passive input ventilation unit".
I would delete and amend other parts of the AST you don't like (within the regulations), and get the agent to initial deletions etc.

(p.s. Just published as DSR comment appeared above, so I have not taken account of his thoughts here)

by Simon M

10:31 AM, 13th April 2022, About 2 months ago

I had the same problem. One agent agreed but after the first time always made a mistake and gave the tenant their standard. Since then at least 2 agents I know have started using a system called Goodlord. It saves the agent's time but it's a straitjacket for the whole letting service. If the agent uses Goodlord, it sends the (standard) tenancy agreement for electronic signature, so a different contract will be extra work for the agent.

I now do it myself and the agent's tenant find service is moving towards becoming a find-only service.

by Accommod8

10:35 AM, 13th April 2022, About 2 months ago

My comments above also relate to a tenants find only service

by DSR

10:44 AM, 13th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Accommod8 at 13/04/2022 - 10:24
interesting point but what are the 'regulations'?

As I understand it a private LL can essentially draw up an AST that says anything and if the tenant signs it freely then as far as it goes its valid.

Ok I get the fact that the clauses could be challenged in court etc and that you will fall foul of anything written in like additional fees etc, but it does remain the fact does it not that a LL can draw up a contract and the tenant decides to sign or not.

For Agents that are 'regulated' by a body they seek to be member of - is there a definitive list of what can and cannot be included in a contract and what cannot? I get the impression from the agent I have been talking to that she has put her draft AST forward to her body and they have confirmed this is ready to use. As a result she is suggesting that her AST is what she wants to use and I am unable to make any significant changes to it.

In particular is the bit about rent increases. In most of my AST's I state a rent review is conducted annually and IF an increase is proposed it is based on the local average comparable rents at the time given the location and type of the property. I do not stipulate X% or any weird calculation as to not be held by this.

I am also thinking about going forward - EPC upgrades/selective licencing etc may well cost me and it has to be passed on. Has anyone decided how to address this in an AST - are you all sticking with a rent rise as a result when these costs come in? Should LL's be putting in things in the annual rent review clause 'also take into consideration the cost of any proposed/ongoing/increased local council requirements e.g selective licencing and associated costs, for works that may have to be made to ensure the property can be let'

I'm thinking if S21 is being done away with and replaced with a system whereby a LL has to give reason for a possession, if the tenant for example does not pay the rent as a result of the increase to it as a direct consequence of SL and any works) (for example) then the LL can justify possession on the fact he/she would not be legally compliant to let the property otherwise

????

by Graham Bowcock

9:56 AM, 14th April 2022, About a month ago

There are no "standard" ASTs, but most agents will have devised one over time that works for them and is (hopefully) legally compliant. We get ours vetted from time to time by lawyers to make sure we comply.

If an agent provides a decent robust agreement I am never sure why a landlord would want to use their own. The basics should be the same and the fallback is statutory (s11 L&T Act).

I can't remember the last time a landlord asked us to use their agreement; frankly they are paying us for a service, in the same way I pay my lawyer to write shareholder agreements and the like.

Having said that we are happy to include clauses that a landlord wants which may be property specific (such as not blocking shared access, etc.).

Sometimes landlords make requests that are not enforceable or not practical so we would advise against them.

If a landlord uses their own agreement then they cannot, of course, rely on the agent's PI if thigns go wrong.

by Graham Bowcock

9:59 AM, 14th April 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by DSR at 13/04/2022 - 10:44
A quick point on your comment about passing on costs.

Your only entitlement is to the market rent.

If you need to do works to make the property compliant and safe then you, as landlord, have to bear those costs.

The market generally will be factoring in costs (at the moment through shortage of supply and increasing rents), but you cannot link the rent to costs.

by Richard Baker

8:42 AM, 16th April 2022, About a month ago

I am an agent. When the landlord wants to use their own tenancy agreement it is almost always inferior, and sometimes not even legally compliant. I never quite understand what benefit they think they are getting from doing this.
But to answer the initial question the landlord is the consumer in this scenario. So if he doesn’t like the agent’s terms the simplest thing to do would be to take his business elsewhere.

by Graham Bowcock

17:03 PM, 16th April 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Baker at 16/04/2022 - 08:42
As another agent I totally agree with Richard.

I also do valuations of portfolios and BTLs and the rubbish we get that manifests itself as a tenancy is amazing. This usually leads to me recommending that the borrower (if it's lending report) gets documentation in proper order before the borrowing is allowed.

A few weeks ago one guy gave me an AST for a shop unit. Way off the mark!

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