Landlord charging me outgoing tenant fees

Hello,

I have been at this property since Aug 2023. The contract is a houseshare and a 24 months contract with a 14 month break clause with 2 month notice period which can be given at month 12 earliest.

My circumstances have changed and I have found a replacement tenant (mutual friend) who would like to move in at exactly 1 year mark. I have arranged this myself.

The landlord and housemates are all okay with this arrangement. However, only recently has the landlord told me I will be charged fees. I have further asked for clarification, as our agreement states:
“9.46. To co-operate in the checking of any inventory and/or schedule of condition. The Landlord will bear the costs of preparing the inventory and/or schedule of condition and associated check-in or check-out report. The Tenant agrees to take all reasonable steps to ensure that such a report can be completed, and that they will be liable for any additional costs arising as a result of the Tenant’s actions. Those are including but not limited to call-out fees from missed appointments, or any other losses or costs.”

I had sent this to him, along with asking for clarification, and he responded that these costs will be incurred as he is trying to accommodate my request for a substitution, and I will have to pay for:

  • Inventory clerk
  • OpenRent contract amendment and referencing
    This would total £150-200+

My questions are:

  • Can inventory costs be charged if a singular tenant of a joint tenancy is being swapped for a new one in the middle of a contract before the break clause is active?
  • Can I be charged this OpenRent fee?
  • I thought the Tenancy act could cap my fee at £50, and that being charged an inventory fee / clerk is a banned fee. Am I mistaken?
  • May I have guidance with how to proceed, with next steps.

Thank you.

2 Likes

There will be costs associated with your early departure that would not otherwise have arisen. These are mainly inspections and preparation of paperwork, but if the landlord outsources any of that, then the costs will go beyond his own time. I don’t think its reasonable to assume that the landlord should bear these unplanned costs when its you that wants to break the contract.

The Tenant Fees Act allows the landlord to charge either £50 or their reasonable costs for the assignment of a tenancy. I would expect a court to consider a professional inventory fee to be reasonable costs, but you may be aware that there has been a non-binding County court case which in that event limited the amount to £50. You could sue the landlord to attempt recovery of what you may consider a prohibited payment, but you would be risking having to pay their costs if you lose. You should also bear in mind that the landlord could at any point change their mind and decline to release you from the contract.

3 Likes

Thank you for your response. I’ve asked for an itemised list of costs from the landlord, as for now ‘inventory clerk’ fees is indeed a banned fee. This is because the landlord should provide check in-check out himself as per my contract, and he will be ending the contract with me (my check out) and starting a new contract with the substitute tenant (therefore their check in fee) and it is not reasonable for me to pay for this.

Please see the below as I am referring to this https://www.london.gov.uk/programmes-strategies/housing-and-land/improving-private-rented-sector/tenant-fees-ban

Therefore, although the landlord is now having to pay for an inventory fee due to my early leave / substitution, this is still not on the tenant to shoulder, as again, he should provide a check in fee for the new tenant and that should be expensed by him (as per the contract). Apologies if this is repetitive.

My understanding of your response means that the costs can be above the £50 cap if the landlord can provide receipts or proof of associated / fees due to the substitution (/my early leave).

I am referring to this part of the page:
‘ * payments to change the tenancy (for example a change of sharer in a joint tenancy or for keeping a pet at the property) capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher, evidenced by a written receipt’

  • Again, inventory fees are banned fees and should not be charged to me.

‘* payments for leaving a tenancy early, before the end of the fixed-term, when requested by the tenant. Landlords should only charge rent to cover any void period until a replacement tenant is found.’

  • There is no void period and a replacement has been found, the landlord will not be missing any rent.

Many thanks

My understanding is that the inventory fee is only a prohibited payment at the start and end of your tenancy, so he cant charge you for check in or checkout. However, I do believe he could charge you the checkin inventory fee for the substitute tenant as this is an unforeseen and reasonable cost of novation/assignment of a tenancy, which is specifically allowed in the Act.