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Mmmm! Is this Fair?


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My 21 year old niece and her 23 year old Fiancee approached an LA re- a property for rent.

Both are in work and both have good references from previous rental agent.

Both have a combined salary in excess of £35K a year.

Niece signs up for property in as much she said she would take it.

LA has charged her £290 in fees.

Phone call to Niece today from LA who has stated that because the pair of them earn less than £30000 individually they would need a guarantor (?!) for the rental payments.

They have nobody who is earning £30K who can act as a guarantor in the immediate family.

They have lost the property and are out of pocket by £290 in just 10 days.

Is this right? or indeed fair? As I see it you can dismiss an applicant for a rental property with an upfront immediate question across the table in 2 minutes flat.

How much do you or your partner earn? Oh! less than £30K? sorry we can't help you!

Any thoughts or comments?


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Was that info (about the guarantor & income) on any of the paperwork before they handed over their fee? If not, or not clear i would demand it back and if they don't pay write a letter before action and go through the small claims website it wont cost much and they may just pay up due to the time it will eat up to defend and do the paperwork.

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Hi Melboy,

I have heard of this sharp practice a lot ..... and I don't think it is fair.

The administration fee (which includes tenant referencing) is charged to cover the letting agents costs (sic) and also to get the tenant to make a financial commitment ahead of taking the property (so that they don't change their minds and the letting agent does all the referencing and tenancy agreements and inventories etc only to be let down at the last minute by the tenant changing their mind).

However ... having said all that ... I agree with Speedtwin. Was the £30K salary restriction explained at the time of paying the administration fee? I doubt it. Is this documented in anything that your niece signed? I doubt it again.

Either way ... and this is the important thing I think ... the fee is an ADMINISTRATION fee ....... to cover the administration costs of the letting agent. OK - the agent might have incurred referencing costs (of possibly £25 in total) ..... but then, when the tenants failed the referencing, the administration process ceased ... so your niece has been charged for a service she did not receive. Definitely unfair!

It is possibly fair for the LA to withhold upto £50 to cover their costs ...... but given they have been "very very greedy" ... I would demand a meeting with them ... go in with your niece ....... "and kick their butt" .... demand all the money back .. or you will sue them via MCOL.

If you want my help as well ... I will willing attend with you .....

Good luck,


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Mark.... I have replied to your PM.........

Also lets not forget the important bit......they had a reference from their LA of a month ago to say they were good tenants and always paid their rent on time for the flat they had rented.....the reason they moved was to get into a bigger property nearer their places of work.

They were due to move in this Saturday.

I'll keep you posted on events.


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Latest update.........

My Brother spoke to the Landlord's ( Company in Bath) outlined the problem and the Company Manager agreed it was a total rip-off by the LA and contacted the LA.

The outcome of this terse conversation between Landlord & LA is that a refund of £175 is coming back to my Niece.

The stupid thing about this whole sorry saga is that the place is still not rented out and the Landlord's have lost a good tenant.


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