Is an inspection charge normal practice for student lets?

by Readers Question

10:55 AM, 15th August 2016
About 2 years ago

Is an inspection charge normal practice for student lets?

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Is an inspection charge normal practice for student lets?

As a small scale landlord myself I was surprised when my student Son complained to me that he and the other three students he rents a house (3 bed semi converted to 4 bed) had been charged £180 for the end of let property inspection. inspections

Is this usual practice with students lets?

When he asked the managing agent they referred him to the contract where on page 10 and the fifth page of tenant’s obligations it did state in very small type “an independent inventory clerk will be instructed to carry out an inspection of the property. The cost for this will be up to £180 depending on the size of property. This will be deducted from the security deposit at the end of the tenancy”.

So it’s in the agreement. I certainly missed this when I signed as guarantor. It just seems like profiteering to me or am I not living in the real world?

I look forward to your comments.

Thanks.

Lester



Comments

David Lawrenson

12:13 PM, 15th August 2016
About 2 years ago

Sorry, but I think the key message here is "Read the Contract"

Your son (and you!) might like to consider getting my book, "Tenants Guide to Successful Renting".
Read it and be informed.

Good luck next time

David Lawrenson

12:19 PM, 15th August 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Lawrenson" at "15/08/2016 - 12:13":

Some landlords charge for the inventory at start of tenancy but most charge at the end (Check out)

We pay £72 for our 2 bedroom unfurnished properties to get inventory done, here in London, but we don't use an agent. We arrange direct with inventory company for this work, which normally runs to 40 pages with the pics.
As usual with letting agents, probably some element of uplift of cost for their "work" to pass on the inventory to your son.
As I say, in future, read the contract and get our book for tenants too.

Dr Rosalind Beck

12:33 PM, 15th August 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Lester
I think it is profiteering. Like you, we never charge for these things. But if it's in the contract, they just have to pay it. At least they can split it 3 ways.

Claire Smith

13:52 PM, 15th August 2016
About 2 years ago

We wouldn't dream of charging, but unfortunately your son has just learnt the important lesson to always read the small print.

David Lawrenson

14:52 PM, 15th August 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Claire Smith" at "15/08/2016 - 13:52":

Learning from experience (especially bad ones) is always the best way!
What doesn't kill you, makes you better in the long run... etc.

Whiteskifreak Surrey

22:50 PM, 15th August 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dr Rosalind Beck ." at "15/08/2016 - 12:33":

We rent to students and we never charge them. It is to do between us and a Management Company who prepares an inventory with pics.
Recently we were helping a student, who - due to lack of experience - got himself into a bad contract, without asking beforehand.
We were just speechless (not a common occurrence for me at least!) when we read a list for what the poor souls are being charged! Unbelievable!
Alternatively - we are doing something wrong!

lester edmeades

7:18 AM, 16th August 2016
About 2 years ago

Thank you all for your replies. Having spoken to the agent and received a breakdown of the charges it seems £120 was charged for the inspection. I agree with your thoughts, read the contract fully.
As the inspection fees will be deducted from every deposit, the agent should explain this to the students at the start of the rental period and not give them an unpleasant surprise at the end. Of course the first thing the agent said was “it’s in the contract”.
It’s certainly a good way of making a more out of every change of letting. Lessons learned,
Thanks again.

Romain Garcin

9:24 AM, 16th August 2016
About 2 years ago

For consumer contracts it is not enough that the fee is in the contract.

For example, it may be challenged if the term is buried within the small prints of the contract and wasn't brought to the tenants' attention, or if the tenant had not enough time to consider the terms of the contract.

David Mensah

10:20 AM, 20th August 2016
About 2 years ago

There is a reason letting agents have such a bad name. Many are fine, but lots of bad eggs.

New consumer laws (since 2015) mean that all fees need to be clearly displayed and explained, see e.g.
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/buytolet/article-3102364/New-rules-mean-lettings-agents-display-fees.html

You could ask the agency to prove that they properly displayed the fees to your son and his fellow tenants. Hiding it in small print is not enough anymore.

You could ask the agency to confirm that they

David Lawrenson

11:15 AM, 20th August 2016
About 2 years ago

The stupidity regarding letting fees and the law is that the law was constructed wrongly in that it allowed the big portals such as Rightmove to get away with not displaying fees - and who the heck looks at the actual letting agency website.

I explain more in this article.

http://www.lettingfocus.com/blogs/2016/04/tenant-fees-are-not-being-displayed-on-adverts-for-let-property/

David Lawrenson
http://www.LettingFocus.com
Private Rent Advice

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