Kate Mellor

Registered with Property118.com
Friday 27th November 2015


Trading Status

Insures properties through a broker recommended by Property118

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 318

Kate Mellor

20:54 PM, 12th July 2019
About 2 weeks ago

What to do now we have moved away?

Hi Emily,
When you say your “deal runs out in December” are you referring to your entire mortgage term? As in it needs to be redeemed, or that your fixed term rate is ending and it will revert to the standard variable rate?

In either case you may be eligible to roll over into another product with your existing lender at very little expense, which is definitely something to look into.

If it is the latter, I personally would renew the tenancy at an increased rent and agree to allow them to carry on month to month. Heading into spring is a better time to market if you decide you do want to sell and you’ve gained some more rent and breathing space in the meantime.

I use one of Howard Rueben’s mortgage advisors, Jenny Reeves. She is excellent and works to help us achieve our personal goals and needs. She also has come up with some clever work around for us. I can’t speak highly enough of her and would definitely recommend you to take some advice from Howard’s team. I’m a very satisfied customer.

All the best with your decision and your future. It’s so hard when you’re not sure what to do for the best.... Read More

Kate Mellor

22:16 PM, 3rd July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Pests in hot weather?

The only reason a landlord would be liable to pay for pest treatment when you have a clause such as yours is when the infestation was already present when the tenant moved in, (eg the carpet was full of fleas which all hatched out when the new hosts arrived), or if a defect in the property caused the infestation to occur, (such as a drainage problem, or cavities allowing rats to gain access).

As others have said £300 is ludicrous for flying ant treatment. Did they ask you to agree to them getting the pest treatment done before hand? Did you approve it? Did you or they get a quote first?

Even for work that is something you would normally pay for most tenancy agreements warn tenant's not to have work done themselves without first getting approval to do so or they are not guaranteed you will meet the cost. If you did agree to the job being done and didn't ask the price first you may be in something of a moral conundrum. In that case I would get a couple of quotes for a comparable service and offer to pay that amount only and either you or they should challenge the price and try and get a significant reduction from the pest controller.

If they've simply engaged the pest controller without any approval from you, then I would just direct them to the relevant clause in their tenancy agreement. They'll certainly think twice the next time they try dipping into your pockets as though money's no object.... Read More

Kate Mellor

16:11 PM, 1st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Don’t Panic ARLA

Ian, that makes no sense at all to me!
Both rent and a refundable tenancy deposit are allowable charges under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, nowhere is it required that these must not be paid prior to signing the tenancy agreement. In fact my AST stipulates that rent is payable 'on, or before xth of the month', thus specifically allowing for early payment.
"Holding deposit
3(2) In this Act “holding deposit” means money which is paid by or on behalf of a tenant to a landlord or letting agent before the grant of a tenancy with the intention that it should be dealt with by the landlord or letting agent in accordance with Schedule 2 (treatment of holding deposit)."
It doesn't say ALL MONEY PAID BEFORE THE GRANT OF A TENANCY, just money which the tenant paid before the grant of a tenancy with the INTENTION that is should be dealt with as a holding deposit.

In your very own words it is purely the belief of the tenant which would create the problem, therefore by following the argument to its logical conclusion we simply need to ensure that we have in writing what the tenant is paying and what it is for to show that they understood they were making an allowed payment of a different sort? It doesn't follow that if ARLA is right in suggesting this is the case that ANY AND ALL payments made prior to a tenancy ARE a holding deposit, just that you may be at risk of it being deemed one! So no, it's not unlawful if it's clearly a permitted payment just because it was made prior to the tenancy signing.... Read More

Kate Mellor

12:42 PM, 1st July 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Don’t Panic ARLA

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 01/07/2019 - 10:31
I think the point made by ARLA was that in cases where a tenancy WAS signed a tenant could thwart any attempt to evict them using s21, by claiming that you had breached holding deposit legislation, by taking rent & deposit in advance of signing the tenancy. That is what I’m trying to avoid.

As I stated, I’ve never taken a holding deposit yet & luckily never had the tenant pull out, so the only reason I take the rent & deposit in “advance “ is to ensure cleared funds prior to committing myself to the tenancy. That may be the day before signing. I’m not asking for it on application. If I was, then yes, that may look very like a holding deposit. If the tenant or indeed I were to decide not to enter into the tenancy after funds had been received, then it would not be legal for me to keep any part of the rent & deposit money because that was not it’s purpose as defined in my AST document.

As I said in my earlier comment, the law stipulates that it’s about what the tenant believed they were paying for and not what the landlord intended to do with the money, so I’m merely spelling out the fact that it isn’t a holding deposit, it’s for rent & deposit only (as defined in the AST) & will not be retained if the tenancy fails to commence. A holding deposit is designed to ensure the landlord HOLDS the property for the agreed applicant. If I haven’t agreed to do that, then WHY would a tenant in their right mind PAY a deposit for me to NOT do that?? It’s illogical, that’s why I believe that in spelling this out IN WRITING there can be no claim that they THOUGHT they were paying me to hold the property for them.

As I mentioned, I may very well decide going forward that a holding deposit is now essential. I will keep the Holding Deposit payment ENTIRELY separate,. I will not offset this against the first months rent & tenancy deposit; & I will refund the Holding Deposit in its entirety once the AST is signed just to maintain its separate nature. It’s not very logical, but removing all room for ambiguity is sometimes worth the extra effort.

I will still require cleared funds prior to signing a tenancy agreement for the first months rent and the deposit IN FULL (the day before, or the same day will do). I don’t care what ARLA say, the risk of doing otherwise far outweighs the possible risk that a court will decide my rent money and tenancy deposit money are in fact a secret second holding deposit!... Read More

Kate Mellor

18:57 PM, 30th June 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Don’t Panic ARLA

I think Tessa in her Landlord Law Blog has mistaken the emphasis on whose "intention" is relevant. When I read Tessa's article I followed her reasoning that the legislation referred to the LL/A's intention, but on reading your post it's clear that it is the intention the tenant (or prospective tenant) had when making the payment which is relevant.

Surely a judge would use the "reasonable person" argument to decide whether given the circumstances of the case a reasonable person would have believed the payment they were making was to be treated as a holding deposit or not? So all that is required is to be clear when asking a tenant for the funds what it is the amounts are for (and what they are NOT for).

I've never taken a holding deposit in the past, (although that may change in the very near future). Having read this information about ARLA's latest warning, I simply added an extra paragraph to the email I sent to my latest applicant as follows: "Any money paid to us in advance does not constitute a holding deposit, unless specifically agreed in writing. It is only for the purposes described and all deposit and rent money will be fully refundable should the tenancy not go ahead."

Obviously this wording may not suit everybody as you may wish to retain money in certain circumstances. I don't ever do that and I've yet to have a tenant back out at a late stage (touch wood), or I may feel differently. Basically though I didn't want to have to overthink the wording, I just wanted to protect myself from ANY possibility that a tenant could argue they reasonably believed that the money would be treated as a holding deposit of any kind. I will probably develop my processes much further in the coming months to incorporate the necessity of protecting oneself from the fallout of these new measures.

As many have said regarding the tenant fees bill the applicant has no skin in the game. They could potentially be putting in multiple applications for properties in order to ensure they have the choice should something better not come up during their house hunt. In fact an agent told me just this past week that they had a prospective tenant who wanted to call in and apply for a property. When the agent said she would need some time to prepare the paperwork, could they perhaps come in at X o'clock? The answer was, "Oh yes. That'll be fine. We're viewing another property right before that, so we can come to you after the viewing." (!)

So, as a landlord, if I'm paying for the referencing process and there's every chance the tenant isn't even serious, then it follows that I am going to have to familiarise myself fully with the intricacies of the holding deposit legislation...... Read More