A landlord and their letting agency have won a tribunal battle over what constitutes ‘fair charges’ under the Tenants Fees Act when tenants decided to break their rental contract early.
The case was triggered when two tenants renting a house in Twickenham, London (pictured) questioned the £2,270 they were charged by their landlord Anthony Hogg and local agent Chase Buchanan.
This followed the tenants’ decision to break their tenancy contract after a few months of moving into the £1,950-a-month property.
The charges included ‘lost rent’ – the property was subsequently rented for less – at £1,500 spread over ten months plus the agent’s fee of £420 for setting up a new tenancy, all of which Judge Edgington said were ‘reasonable’.
Check out fee
But he disallowed the combined check-in and check-out fees of £290, saying a single payment of £145 was allowable because the two events should have happened at the same time.
“I consider that the monies obtained from the Applicants come within the definition of ‘permitted payments’ if they are reasonable,” he said.
“The rent claimed is reasonable. If the landlord or his letting agent had been able to get more rent for the property, then I am sure that they would have done so.
“With regard to the fees claimed, as with any First-tier Tribunal member in the Property Chamber, I have much experience over many years of assessing whether estate agents’ fees or letting agents’ fees are reasonable.
“In this case, the fees claimed are, in my view, reasonable except for the fees claimed for check-out and check-in.”
Pic credit: Google Streetview