Harry Albert Lettings & Estates

Registered with Property118.com
Thursday 6th December 2018


Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 5

Harry Albert Lettings & Estates

11:17 AM, 8th December 2018
About A day ago

Agent bites back at Westminster for 5 week deposit cap

Reply to the comment left by Gillian Schifreen at 08/12/2018 - 10:12We use 6 weeks as it's affordable for the tenants and it usually just about covers the cost of replacing/repairing damaged carpets, doors and walls but it always belongs to the tenants until they go over fair wear and tear.
By reducing the deposit we can take, it means we will recover that reduction via rent but the tenant won't receive this back like they would if they just paid the deposit.

As agents, we're tasking with protecting our client's asset and if we take too small a deposit, the landlord is likely to incur charges if the deposit doesn't cover any damages caused by the tenant, whether that's paying excesses or higher insurance premiums or just outright covering costs of repair or replacement.... Read More

Harry Albert Lettings & Estates

9:28 AM, 7th December 2018
About 3 days ago

Agent bites back at Westminster for 5 week deposit cap

I entirely agree, we actually started our company when there was a lot of reports of rogue agents. We thought "surely it can't be that bad", only it really is 😂

The good news is, over time it will improve, I can't help but think that right now, the government is trying to make it so difficult that the rogues simply give up but I don't think they will, regulation or not, rogues will exist and will disregard the rules if there is money to be made.

Still, I'm glad I had the opportunity to clear things up and thanks for taking the time to read it :)... Read More

Harry Albert Lettings & Estates

19:31 PM, 6th December 2018
About 3 days ago

Agent bites back at Westminster for 5 week deposit cap

Further to my previous comment, Michael, if our landlords are unhappy with our service, they can leave with 1 month's notice (or immediately in the case of severe failings).

The 1 month notice period gives us time to get the files together ready to handover to the new agent or to the landlord. We don't charge exit fees or transfer fees. Nor do we penalise the tenant if the landlord were to sack us.

Funnily enough, we've not had a single landlord leave us yet. :D... Read More

Harry Albert Lettings & Estates

19:22 PM, 6th December 2018
About 3 days ago

Agent bites back at Westminster for 5 week deposit cap

To reply to Bill O'Dell and Michael Barns;
We prefer fixed terms as it means tenants are more secure in their homes. Our process is to have all new tenants move into the property on a 6month AST, this will then be extended for a further 6 months or a year depending on the landlord's or their own preference. We don't really like periodic tenancies as it means the landlord's asset isn't as secure as it would be if we had a contract detailing an amount of time the tenant should be living in the property; I'd rather know if a tenant will be in the property for 6 months than knowing they MIGHT give notice at any point to move out the following month at any point.
We disagree with the idea of a mandatory fixed term of anything more than 6 months, but you'll be pleased to know we never charge tenants or landlords renewal fees, we do charge a £99 tenant find fee whenever our landlord clients need new tenants (provided we're managing their property, it's quite a lot more for a standard Let Only service). Then again,we can afford to charge this low fee because we actively go out and do what landlords pay us for and that's to find tenants - we don't just list the property on Rightmove and Zoopla and wait for tenants to find their property, like most agents appear to these days.
We charge this low tenant find fee because our profit comes solely from management charges and commissions from our suppliers if we're lucky, depending on the number of viewings we have for a property, we're lucky if there's any profit in tenant turnover for us.
We disagree with fleecing landlords and tenants for every penny we can which is why we are so vocal when we're lumped in with other agents who do rip landlords and tenants off for every penny they can.
We are a for profit business but we recognise our landlords invest in property, these investments won't be so appealing if their agent is taking every penny they can from them, would they?
Likewise, tenants have it hard enough without being booted out every 6 months, forced to find somewhere else to live, come up with the deposit, month's rent in advance, tenant fees, etc. So, we don't charge them any renewal fees either. We don't make any profit on tenant turnovers, tenancy renewals, etc. Unless a tenant falsifies their application or changes their mind after the application process is complete (in which case, they forfeit all fees and we retain anything leftover at the point we realise the tenant has lied or at the point the tenant informs us they don't want to go ahead with the tenancy - this is always clearly explained and we have zero hidden costs payable by any of our clients, whether they're landlords or tenants).
In fact, you can view all of our fees on our website, where we also publish our Fair Fee Guarantee.
We want our tenants to feel secure in their home; our tenants are as much our client as our landlords are. They benefit from a very in-depth, hands-on service provided free of charge (well, inclusive in their rent, I suppose, but we don't get paid anything for it other than the management fee the landlord pays us - 7% of the rent due each month, incidentally) as a tenant living in our properties; this includes signposting where required to charities, foodbanks and other organisations who may be able to help them where required, including the local authority, etc. We also help tenants to complete forms, find better energy deals and insurance products (even if we aren't earning a commission) and if they tell us they're looking for new employment opportunities, we will actively keep our eyes open for suitable roles and let them know. We're not sure if we will still be providing this level of service to tenants after the fee ban, mind you, but I daresay we will be because happy tenants = long term tenants.
We like to keep our tenants happy because our aim is to achieve long-term tenants who are happy to remain in our properties for the long term without being held to ransom by ridiculously long tenancies that place too much risk on our landlord client should the tenants ever go rogue, stop paying their rent, damage the property, become anti-social, etc.
Perhaps your opinions are very telling of the industry as a whole, immediately, your first thoughts are "Ah, they must be rip off merchants like the rest of 'em", but as I say, we renew tenancies so tenants have the security that they won't be forced out of the door in two months time and likewise, so landlords know they won't have an empty property a month tomorrow. The only time we leave tenants on a periodic tenancy is if we feel they were unreliable during the fixed term or if their circumstances are expected to change dramatically, whereby they may be unable to pay the rent, in which case it would be unfair to force them onto a fixed term if we know, as well as they do, that there may be a chance they can't afford the rent and fall into rent arrears.
We do actively encourage our landlords to chase arrears taking legal action where necessary so it would be out of line with our policies if we forced a tenant onto a fixed term knowing they may not be able to afford the rent every month, we'd rather them hand us notice and find more affordable accommodation than fall into arrears taking away from our landlord client's ROI.
We used to use Utility Warehouse to sign tenants up if they didn't have a preference over their supplier but, given your opinions, you'll be surprised to hear we were very vocal about jacking that in when we received a letter informing us that they would be charging any customers of ours who are tenants a £100 deposit if they want to UW to supply their gas or electricity, regardless of financial standing, credit worthiness/history or whatever, the only criteria they need to have to pay the deposit is if they are a tenant. This is unfair treatment of tenants and incompatible with our ethics as an organisation.
At the same time, we're the first to criticise the likes of Shelter for their unfair treatment of landlords and agents in their communications.
It's unfortunate that there are people who feel the sector is overrun by agents whose lifeblood is the fees earned from landlords and tenants through high tenant turnover but, Michael, I can assure you, we are not contravening the law of agency and in fact, both sets of client's interests (landlords and tenants) are put before our own. All of our policies are developed with our landlord and tenant client's interests in mind.
All the best,
Andrew Hill
MD of Harry Albert Lettings & Estates... Read More