My partner and I for numerous reasons have decided to leave our tenancy agreement early. We got permission from the landlord and estate agents. The estate agents told us verbally (I will always get things in writing from now on!) that the total cost would be us covering the rent until we leave, and paying £750 in estate agent fees.
The landlord contacted us yesterday saying someone has made an offer, and she would like us to pay the estate agents fees (£750), Landlord’s cost tenancy agreement (£180), check-in and check-out costs (£400), Management time (£500).
I just wanted to check to see if these are legitimate costs before I confirm?
Any help will be greatly appreciated!
Please do not agree to pay anything until you have taken advice from eg. Shelter. These fees are not reasonable.
A recent First Tier Tribunal case has ruled that fees of around half that amount are unreasonable under the Tenant Fees Act. The ruling doesn’t set a precedent, but it is interesting in this context and might be useful as a negotiating position. You can see details here: Tribunal Judge: special reasons needed to justify tenant fees higher than £50 - Anthony Gold
The problem is that unless you can show evidence that the landlord/agent has agreed to release you early, they could just decline to do so and make you pay until the end of the contract.
Do not pay all this RIP OFF
I would weigh up the costs such as how long you have left on the tenancy and would it be cheaper to just pay the rent for the remainder as you could still move out, however also the landlord can’t re let it either unless he refunds what is left from what you’ve paid.
So, what you should do is consider three things:
Is your contract with the landlord and you pay/liaise with the landlord or the agent? If you deal with the landlord directly and there is a provision that stipulates you need to give him notice then what the estate agent promised is irrelevant
How long do you still have on your contract? If you have six months left then the suggested amount is not unreasonable. If you don’t agree to it then you are, liable for the rent.
Please note that the judgement referred to by David above is interesting but is not the common interpretation of the law. The reason that this isn’t applicable to you, I believe, is that the fees charged were for a new tenant to step in instead of the old tenant (landlord did not lose money).
So although the fees are excessive you must offset this against the real risk the LL has of losing rent.
That’s true about this being a different scenario. I had assumed that the agent was asking the OP to pay rent until a new tenant was in place, but I see from the original post that its only until they leave. Nevertheless, the fees as quoted seem to be mainly for administration and not about compensating the landlord for lost rent. Perhaps this is another example of the agent feathering their own nest at the expense of the landlord they’re supposed to be serving.
Thanks for the responses, everyone! And sorry for not being clear in my first message, we do have to pay rent until the new tenant is in place. So we were originally told to pay rent until the new tenant is in place, and the £750 for estate agent fees. But then when they found a new tenant we were told we had other fees to pay.
I contacted Shelter as per Steve 11’s suggestion and they said the landlord has to prove these fees with invoices, so we have asked if they have previous invoices to prove it costs that much before we agree.
We have over six months left on our contract and we liaise with the landlord and agent. Basically, the landlord is meant to manage it but never responds to us so we have to message the estate agents even though they aren’t meant to manage it.
So that is an entirely different matter, if you pay rent on top of that.
None of the “normal” fees, in that scenario, should be payable by you as the LL would have to pay them in any event when sourcing a new tenant.
I had the same situation with a tenant wanting to leave early, I agreed to paying the rent until a tenant can be found and early exit fee, unfortunately the tenant got shelter involved and the agro they caused made me refuse to release the tenant early. The tenant decided to leave early anyway and it ended up in court and a £4.3k legal bill for them.
There are implications for tenants and I would tread carefully as it a legal contract and they offen down go tenants way.
Also never underestimate a letting agent!
If I were you I would challenge the fees as late as you can. Preferably after the new tenant has been given a contract.
I had a tenant do the same, I found a new tenant in a month and released him, he had been a good guy, he was grateful.
Agents are feeding themselves and will screw you for any penny, so is the contract with them or the LL., it cannot be both.You may find the LL more reasonable.
Landlords and agents are allowed to charge reasonable fees and in some cases their full costs to end a tenancy. These fees are exceptionally high and worth challenging, but only once the agent has signed up a new tenant.
I have the same experience and am taking the landlord/agent to court to recover the illegal fees
I have also jus had some detailed advice on this from my solicitor – which I would be happy to share
Thank you for the responses everyone! And sorry for the delay, was on holiday somewhere with very patchy signal.
Unfortunately, the person that agreed to rent the property dropped out, so we are back at the stage of looking for a new tenant and paying the rent until then. But I will take your advice and we will challenge the fees after the new tenant has signed the contract. @Matthew3 wow any advice you could share would be amazing! Thank you so much. My email is email@example.com Is everything going well for you in your legal battle?