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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
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Experience:  Experienced solicitor
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We are renting through an agent (who is now just taking the

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We are renting through an agent (who is now just taking the money and passing it on for a fee and are not managing the property). The owners are really nice, the agent is not. We had an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement that expired in October and now have a statutory periodic tenancy. We gave notice to the owners, and they accepted it (one month) and we withheld last months rent because we need to pay for the removal. We have bought a place. This is what we did when we moved here, and the last agent said that it was common place and fine as long as we would make good anything that was not (there was nothing and all was fine, but we would have if there had been anything). We have looked after the property well (they have been trying to sell it so an agent has been around so they know how well we have looked after the property) and we have been very patient and helpful when things have gone wrong. Some things are still not working, such as the ice machine in the fridge and there is periodic flooding in the garage. However, we really do like the owners and want to help them. We told them that we were withholding the rent and they seemed ok, but the agent is causing problems, and obviously it makes the owners upset, as they think it is now wrong. We have given them in writing that they can use the deposit for the rent, that we will have it professionally cleaned (with guaranty) and that we will pay for any agreed damaged, should there be anything. We pay 1300 a month, and have always been punctual (even had standing order go out a few days early so that we knew they had it in their account on time). The agent now says that they will send out letters that we are late and charge us 10, then 25 then 35 pounds for this (as per the old contract) and they have also said that "late payment will be recorded against us". I assume that the only place this will be recorded is in their own register, and I do not believe that they will be able to charge us "fees for sending out letters" as that was in the old contract, which is no longer valid. At the end of the day, I assume they would have to take it to court, but I do not want the hassle. I am mainly concerned that the agent is just looking for a means to get paid from the owners and it makes me upset that they are potentially damaging our relationship with the owners, when they did not have a problem and never have had problems with us. So I would like to know where we stand judicially and especially if the fees are valid from the management company now that the assured contract is no longer valid. It is particularly upsetting that the agent never wanted to help us in anyway (we needed a reference for the mortgage - which in the end was never needed as they could see that we had paid on time through bank statements) and would never return our calls or emails when it was needed. I am happy to "pay interest" to the owners, but I do not want to pay fees to the agent as they are not honest and fleeces the owners.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

What exactly do you want to know about this?

Regards
Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

1. Is the agent allowed charge for us withholding the rent and having the owners take it out of the deposit, ie charging us £10 for sending a letter saying we are "in arrears"?

2. Is the old contract valid (which had the fees stipulated) now that it is no longer an assured shorthold?

3. Is the agent allowed to "record us" for late payments and hold it against us (as per their email to us: "Please note that late payments are recorded and can be held against you")

4.What are the consequences of us withholding the rent? (the house will be left in a good position and there are definitely no damages).

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I was told that I would get a reply in 14 minutes, and it has been quite a few hours. Did you get my reply (shows up on the site)

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
1. Your periodic tenancy will be on the same terms as the old tenancy so it there was a term covering this in the original tenancy agreement then yes they are able to charge for this. However, if the owners gave you permission (you are a bit vague on this) then they have no right to claim the money.
2 Yes it is and it remains an AST albeit a statutory periodic tenancy.
3. I have no idea what that means but they can keep whatever records they want.
4. Technically you are in breach of your tenancy agreement but if this is remedied by the deposit going to the landlord then it is hard to see what loss there is to them. Unless eg. they rely on your rent to make payments which they cannot do following your default and incur costs as a reault.
Presumably the deposit is in a guarantee scheme.
I will continue to answer questions from you but like most lawyers on this site I fit this in around other commitments so there may be a delay in my replying.
LondonlawyerJ, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
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Experience: Experienced solicitor
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