Can landlords charge for managing end of tenancy cleaning and repairs?

by Readers Question

16:11 PM, 24th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Can landlords charge for managing end of tenancy cleaning and repairs?

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Can landlords charge for managing end of tenancy cleaning and repairs?

My AST states that tenants agree to pay the landlord a management fee equivalent to a 10% of the cost of deductible cleaning and repairs required at the end of the tenancy. charge

I have never implemented it but wondered whether folk consider it a valid term?

Many thanks

Monty



Comments

Gary Nock

19:25 PM, 24th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Probably not Monty. Would probably be classed as an unfair term under consumer contract law. And it crosses over into Deposit Protection and Inventory issues.

Dr Monty Drawbridge

7:56 AM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Gary. I initially thought this too but now I'm not entirely convinced. On what basis do you think it would be determined to be unfair? The term basically says that if the tenant does not discharge their obligations at the end of the tenancy the landlord can be remunerated for taking on their obligations for them; and that charge is proportional to the amount of work.

Gary Nock

9:40 AM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

If the term is automatically applied at the end of a tenancy without any evidence to do so (i.e an inventory) then it would be deemed to be unfair as it was detrimental to the interests of the consumer. If however, as most ASTs do, contain a provision to return the property back in a same or similar condition to when it was first let, and that the costs would be born by the tenant if it wasn't , then this is not really different to the usual practice of deducting costs for dilapidations. The limiting factor of 10% may actually work to the landlords detriment if the cost of dilapidations is higher than that. If you try and deduct such costs from a deposit without an inventory via any of the deposit protection schemes then it would not be allowed. If you invoiced the tenant for the 10% and they refused to pay then again you would have a tough time proving that to a County Court Judge. In summary, the clause in the AST causes more problems than it solves and it is best relying on a standard dilapidations clause with an inventory and deposit protection paperwork.

Dr Monty Drawbridge

10:33 AM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Gary - Let's assume dilapidations have been properly recorded and that the contract separately makes the tenant liable for the cost of rectifying them (as it does in this AST).

This clause is basically saying that, if a landlord has to arrange a cleaner (for instance) to remedy a breach, they are entitled to charge a fee to in respect of their own administrative efforts in getting quotes, arranging access, checking work, etc... If the cleaner cost £100 then the landlord could, under the formula, add £10 for their own efforts.

Is there precedent to show that the landlord cannot charge for their time?

Gary Nock

11:01 AM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

No. But statute such as in deposit protection or consumer protection law over rides contract law as in ASTs. You can charge for your time and if the tenant does not dispute it then you will get away with it. But if you put it through a DPS adjudicator or a county court judge then be ready to justify it.

Dr Monty Drawbridge

11:13 AM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Are you saying that there is a statute in deposit protection / consumer protection law which would apply to this and override it?

If you can charge for your time, what is a reasonable hourly rate for a landlord? Is it the same as a cleaner? Or a handyman? Or a plumber?

Sean Graveney

12:02 PM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dr Monty Drawbridge " at "25/11/2016 - 10:33":

But 10% of £100 would be 10% of the actual cleaning costs, not the administrative efforts etc, wouldn't it? So really you'd be claiming two or three quid unless you value your time at a pretty excessive rate.

Dr Monty Drawbridge

12:14 PM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sean Graveney" at "25/11/2016 - 12:02":

£10 would seem a wholly reasonable (in fact cheap) fee for sourcing a cleaner, attending the property to let them in, showing them specifically what needs doing, attending again to check the work after, dealing with invoices etc.. You certainly would not be able to find someone reliable to do it for you for that - let alone £2-3.

What hourly rate is reasonable for a landlord? Same as a cleaner? Handyman? Plumber?

Gary Nock

12:52 PM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dr Monty Drawbridge " at "25/11/2016 - 11:13":

Yes.And as Romain, a far more knowlegeable man than I would say- statute overrides a contract - which is what an AST is. The statutes governing this area are:
Housing Act 2004.
Localism Act 2011.
Deregulation Act 2015.
Consumer Rights 2015 Section 61.

Dr Monty Drawbridge

12:58 PM, 25th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "25/11/2016 - 12:52":

Which bit of those statutes invalidates that specific clause?

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