Misleading Advertising on Open Rent - Potential hidden charges

Hi All,

I need a bit of help and guidance!

I looked at a property that I really liked and it was advertised as 715 per month, excluding electricity and internet, but including heating and water. For me, this was a great deal. So I went to see the property. When I saw the property, the landlords told me that I also need to pay a building management fee of 150 per year which was not written on the advertisement. But I can break it into 12.5 per month if I wish. So I said okay as this was still in my budget (although now I feel that this is a hidden fee as it was not advertised at all). Anyways, I gave the holding deposit of 200 pounds and out of a sudden the landlords said that my rent will be between 735-745 pounds. Which does not add up with the building management fee of 12.5 per month when the base rent, as mentioned above, was 715. I asked them why is this increase happening? They told me that it is because they have not talked to the management team in a while and they may have changed their prices, but they still assured me that the rent will be around 730 per month. Of course, the rent was not 730 per month but was increased to 735. And more so, when we came to the point of having to sign the contract, the rent was now increased to 740, because of some security checks that the landlords told me they had to pay… So this became very, very suspicious as the rent ended up growing and growing. And, on top of that, in their custom clauses in the contract, they also had written that they want me to have an additional insurance if anything breaks and also to professionally clean the place when I leave. And I am sorry, but I feel these are also in a way hidden charges, because the tenant (in this case me) must cover them to sign the contract but they are additional money which the tenant needs to pay on top of the rent in order to get the property. So they were not mentioned before the holding deposit was given, but now they need to be fulfilled if I need to take the place.

So I was very worried. I knew that if I back down now, I will lose my holding deposit. But if I proceed with this deal, I am not sure what else to expect, as I feel very uncomfortable with these new fees and new clauses.

So I wrote to open rent to ask for advice and they told me that the landlords cannot enforce cleaning and inventory fees, which was good, but they did not explain what an inventory fee means and they also did not explain to me anything about the rent increase due to those security cheks and building management fee? Open Rent’s answer was " We consider any mandatory fee for the administration of letting the property an admin fee." which means nothing to me… Is that good or is that bad? They had written no admin fees and no charges…

Ultimately, what I feel like the right thing to do (for me personally) is to say that I am okay to pay the 715 rent which was advertised (nothing else was advertised, no management fee, no security checks, nothing), and if really necessary, then I am okay with paying the management fee if it is not more than 150 pounds as initially specified when I met the landlords to view the property. But I really do not feel comfortable with paying the increased building management fee, the security checks, the professional cleaning or the additional insurance, as these are all unforeseen costs which boost the rent quite a bit and so make the place not very affordable for me. And also make me very uncomfortable as I feel I was kind of lied to.

Of course, I do not want any quarrels or problems with anyone as well, I just want a transparent, clean and professional deal so I can find a place in which I can live peacefully and not worrying what else can come out of a sudden.

So that is why I wanted to ask you guys for help. What do you guys think about my situation? What do you think I should do? Of course, the ultimate decision is mine but I would greatly appreciate your view!

All the best,