ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What To Avoid When Signing Your Tenancy

Updated on May 19, 2013

Private vs Letting Agent

I've recently moved house. It’s all settled and done now, even most of the unpacking, but it was such a pain while it lasted. I've been renting flats for over five years, ever since university days and up to now it’s been easy. Sign tenancy and sometimes an inventory, pay rent and deposit = get flat. This time I went through a letting agency.

More Forms

To start with they needed the deposit to take it off the market and £80 as a fee for checks, credit, references and the like. This I dutifully paid. Then they sent me no less than five forms, three of which I had to fill in, all of them lengthy. They passed the filled in ones to a third party to check up on me. The third party sent me another form and then proceeded to hound my former landlord and current employer to get the information they wanted. Apparently I passed.

Even More Forms

I then toddled along to the agency to fill out two more forms, sign and date four more, including the 30 odd page, double sided tenancy agreement to be initialled on every page, receive forty-three pages of information on flats, non-payment issues, maintenance… all generic with none pertaining specifically to my flat.

Then came the paying over yet more money for the rent and inventory fees. After an hour of form filling and signing by two people who had not the foggiest about the implications of the terms and clauses, I got my keys. With that tenancy agreement, it’s entirely possible I owe the landlord one quarter pound of blue moon cheese every third month and I would have no idea.

Very little of the paperwork, apart from a few clauses in the tenancy agreement protected me! The rest was legalese and clauses that seemed to make me liable for everything that could go wrong with the place, probably up to and including a friendly fire incident from an American F16.

Signing

To be honest though, if I wanted the flat there was very little I could do short of hiring a lawyer to go over it, so eventually I just stopped reading and started signing. Fairly excessive for a 6 month contract. In fairness to the agency they do give you an indication of what’s to come - a sheet of A4 notifying you of the costs and "some paperwork" to complete. The cost doesn't hit you until you've forked out over £150 in admin fees and some paperwork was a bit of an understatement.

The letting agent who dealt with my set of forms was cheeky enough to tell me that it must give me peace of mind knowing all these checks have been done - the checks don't benefit me in the slightest and are entirely to ensure I can pay! I did jokingly say that I might want to see legal proof of ownership of the property, but just got an icy stare for my troubles.

Not quite the average sign
Not quite the average sign

Final Analysis

I'm in the flat now and it is very nice, which I, of course, expect given the sum I’m paying but there are a few niggles. Perhaps the letting agency should spend a little more time making sure basics in the flat are in working order before spending my money to make sure I can afford the flat.

The cooker has a debatable front hob which doesn't really work, the dimmer switch on the bedroom lights is permanently set on low and on of the dials on the storage heaters is broken - the output dial - typical!

My final note is that unless I have no other choice, I won't be using a letting agency again, the fees are preposterous, the legalese excessive, the forms unending, the service - while mostly very friendly and professional - was pretty useless, they couldn't explain their own clauses in the paperwork and they didn't know vital information such as whether there was a phone line in the property (there isn't and now BT are going to charge me over £120 to reconnect it).

Recap:

Time spent: give or take 9 hours of form filling, not including the time it's taken me to track all the information they couldn't give me.

Money spent: £350 including fees, checks, increased insurance and reconnecting the phone line (which they'll benefit from when I move out!)

All in all? - although I have a very nice flat I've paid through the nose and more for what is basically a very short term occupancy and a lot of liability.

Legal?

As an aside note, and specifically referring to leasing and tenancy laws in Scotland, certain excessive charges maybe deemed illegal under sections 82, 83 and 86 to 90 of the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 whereby it is an offence to require premiums (possibly including excessive amounts for credit checks, inventories, key charges and the likes) before a tenancy can be signed. If you want to know more - and if you're a tenant in Scotland with a private landlord - you should, you can visit the links below for more information.

6 months on...

So its 6 months on and dispite the cost of moving, I've ditched my leasing agent as soon as I possibly could. On moving out I was advised that A) I would have to fill out another form (Suprise!) and that amongst other things, if it was deemed the flat needed cleaning, professional cleaning services would be engaged as a price starting at £120 + vat! If that isn't out and out robbery what is? (I got quote £45 max when I checked). They didn't need to hire a professional cleaner, but the did charge me close to £50 for a broken plastic handle on the bathroom cupboard. In case you think I merely got ripped off by a cowboy outfit, They're one of the bigger UK letting agencies operating in quite a few cities.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Lymond profile imageAUTHOR

      Lymond 

      3 years ago from UK

      Breaching the Rent Act, I have discovered (too late) that you are quite correct. The 1984 housing act got clarified and all fees were deemed illegal under this act. Fees charged are reclaimable up to 5 years after they were charged (This is in Scotland, I don't know about England).

    • Lymond profile imageAUTHOR

      Lymond 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi, while I'd love that to be true, I understand (when I looked into this a couple of years back) that it's a bit of a legal grey area. Excessive fees, yes but then the trouble is what is excessive from their point of view?

    • profile image

      Breaching the Rent Act 

      6 years ago

      In scotland they are NOT allowed to charge fees...you can ask for this back.

    • Lymond profile imageAUTHOR

      Lymond 

      8 years ago from UK

      yeah! I guess there are few people who've rented and haven't. Still...

    • kysnoopyq42 profile image

      kysnoopyq42 

      9 years ago from no where

      Been there, done that.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)