Admin fees charged by letting agent

Hi there,

I am moving out of my current flat and the letting agent is charging me £290 fee to remove my name of the contract (my flatmate is staying and taking over the whole flat). I thought this fees were capped at £50? The Tenant Fees Act 2019 also says '£50 or reasonable costs incurred if higher but what would be a reasonable cost? I don’t think they can charge that much to move out of the flat since they landlord is not incurring in any loss of rent? Any advice?

There was a case at the first tier tribunal which determined that there should be exceptional circumstances for the fee to be above £50. You can read about it here: Tribunal Judge: special reasons needed to justify tenant fees higher than £50 - Anthony Gold

The case doesn’t set a legal precedent but other courts would likely take account of the ruling. You might want to send the link to the Agents and ask them to adjust the fee. They may of course decline and come up with “special reasons”. If that were the case then I would suggest you pay it and make a formal complaint and later escalate this to their redress scheme. You could also report them to Trading Standards. If all else fails, you could bring a legal case against them yourself, but this would be at the risk of having to pay their legal costs if you lose.

When this previous case was decided it did cause a few raised eyebrows as many landlords, agents and even legal experts thought that the legislation should allow for a higher ‘reasonable cost’ if this was genuinely incurred, so there would be no guarantees that you would win. Good luck.

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