Shelter want default fees banned

by Property 118

4 days ago

Shelter want default fees banned

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Shelter want default fees banned

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.”



Comments

David Price

4 days ago

I have long adopted the principle of never leaving anything for an incoming tenant, no saucepans, no dustpan or brush, no cobwebs, no curtains. If you leave nothing then you cannot be blamed for anything going wrong. As to the charges, particularly for landlords time, I pay £25 an hour for a gardener so regard £20 an hour as cheap.

Thomas Cobb

4 days ago

The Bill says tenants can be required to pay default fees by paying their rent late or breaching a condition in their contract. I have some doubts though.. Won't this lead to exploitation from landlords' side as described in a review of WritemyPaper?

James Barnes

4 days ago

I'd actually agree with this one, these sorts of charges tarnishing the name of good landlords and managing agents. I don't see any justification in it all.

£20 per hour for landlords time isn't excessive especially considering all the areas a landlord has to have knowledge of and the level of responsibility - its a professional level job, not burger flipping. My old day job I was earning £35 plus per hour 20 years ago. Some of the other charges seem excessive but the devil is in the detail we are not given. Maybe a large 5 or 6 bed house with lots of cobwebs in every room might justify the charge, its obviously ridiculous for 1 or 2 cobwebs. I guess the shelter reporter has no experience of ironing curtains which depending on the material and size can actually take 15 - 20 mins per curtain if crease prone and then you have to add in the time to take down and put back up not to mention washing or cleaning but we don't know the circumtances as easy soundbites are preferred over detailed facts.

terry sullivan

3 days ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 17/05/2018 - 11:49
and chief exec of shelter--£100000+--thats a lot more than £20 per hour.

terry sullivan

3 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Darlington Landlord at 17/05/2018 - 16:55
why did tenants remove the cobwebs themselves?

Yvette Newbury

3 days ago

I believe in being open about any default charges and state them clearly in all tenancy agreements and refer to them throughout the tenancy. Having done all that it is very rarely that I ever have to charge the tenant!

Ian Narbeth

3 days ago

"Landlord’s time, at £20 per hour, that’s two and half times the minimum wage." Hoist by their own petard, as they say in the wine bars of Islington. Is Shelter really saying that workers involved in cleaning and property maintenance only deserve the minimum wage?
According to their annual report in 2016 and 2017 twelve Shelter employees earned over £60,000 pa.

Reply to the comment left by terry sullivan at 18/05/2018 - 08:04
The CEO earns £122k pa - yes more than £20ph.

Reply to the comment left by jeanette Kirkby at 18/05/2018 - 10:47
Lot of wages bearing in mind shelter is a "charity" wonder if the people that donate realise how much the CEO earns

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