Shelter want default fees bannedMake Text Bigger
In addition to the government lettings fee ban Shelter are calling for a ban or limit on what they term ‘backdoor’ or default fees.
Default fees are a charge written into the tenancy contract when an agreed term has been broken or a service has to be provided.
Shelter listed some extreme examples of default charges that would not fall within the lettings fee ban:
- Landlord’s time, at £20 per hour, that’s two and half times the minimum wage, £160 a day, £800 a week, £3,200 a month, or £38,400 a year. It’s the equivalent of what a biochemist earns!
- £45 procurement fee for dustpan and brush. The procurement cost was 15 times the actual cost of the dustpan and brush. The landlord really cleaned up here.
- £200 to remove a new set of saucepans. Charity begins at home, but not for this agent, who removed a brand new set of saucepans a kind renter left for the next tenants, and charged a staggering £200 to do it. What will they cook up next?
- £100 for cobweb removal. A hefty mark-up on a few sweeps of a feather duster. An arachnophobic letting agent, perhaps?
- £10 to iron curtains per curtain. The most bizarre, audacious fee on the list. It had us in creases!
These examples are at the far end of the standard deviation with no mention of what the vast majority of good reasonable landlords would charge.
Shelter said: “The government knows these are open to abuse making changes to the bill as a result, but we still think there’s a loophole and without more protections, letting agents and landlords will try to exploit default fees. It will be difficult for tenants to challenge them.”
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