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Contract Cost Questions & Heating Control

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266 views 1 replies latest reply: 26 November 2015
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Tenant

Hi All,

Firstly, I will try be as succinct as possible.

I have had numerous rented accomadation over the years (~10), and I have always been lucky enough to have a positive experience. It appears, however, my luck has run out and I am unsure of my tenancy rights as per contract items and the ability to control heating.

Facts that may help – we are all on separate contracts. Rent is inclusive of bills. Rent is at a premium of around 20% above the average of the city (Portsmouth), from my experience. I tried to google average prices but could not find anything. Current rent: £525, what I believe to be the average (including bills) of the area, is around £450. I went into the contract knowing it was expensive; but wanted to have a higher quality property after many student accommodation houses. My experience within student accommodation, sadly, has been 10x better than this ‘premium rent’ house. 

  1. Heating – Landlord has locked boiler in a cupboard, and sets the timing of when the heating will be on. I cannot see any terms about this in the contract. All of us are uncomfortably cold. If we would like any heaters, there is a contract term stating we require written permission from the landlord (which I doubt he would grant). I do not expect 24/7 heating, but it does not appear to be on enough for us to be even slightly comfortable. This is made even more annoying considering the amount we pay; I expected little fuss on heating because of this. Is this legal? 
  2. Mold – who’s responsibility is it to treat mould within a house? We believe it is linked to the lack of adequate heating (not sure if there would be a correlation?). My fellow tenants have contacted the landlord but have received no reply (which is extremely common).
  3. Fortnightly Cleaner – a fortnightly cleaner for all communal areas is within the rent. I moved into the house in August, and only at the start of November did the cleaner make regular visits. This was confirmed by  the Landlord (verbally) that the cleaner had not been coming regularly, and that they did not do an adequate job of this. It took three months of e-mails to get to a point where he finally resolved the cleaning issue. 
  4. Charges – this is the final one on my list. The below charges are what the landlord has set out:

Landlords admin fee £100 (AST item 6.2.7)

EOT Clean £40 (AST item 7.23.4)

Inventory Fee £42 (AST item 7.23.1)

Mattress protector £6.44p (AST item 7.23.5)

Deposit reg fee £18 (AST item 6.2.6)

It seems extremely excessive, again, considering how much rent we pay and that we went straight through to the landlord. Admin fee – seems extremely excessive. Inventory fee – I have 1x mattress & bed, 1x wardrobe & 1x mattress protector. Mattress protector – it seems to be a waste to throw out each year. Especially when the EOT cleaning states it includes cleaning the bedding. Cleaning – states the carpet in the room needs to be professionally cleaned by the landlords approved cleaner. It is clear to me that this had not been done prior to me moving in. Charging the tenant for the deposit registration seems unfair (and I’ve never been charged that before), and to me would come within the Admin fee. Equally, as you will see from the below AST items, only the Admin Fee had a pre-written fee on there. 

I realise that, considering we signed for the above, we probably have little rights. If the other areas of my tenancy were going well I would likely not take issue. However, it does not feel like we are getting what we paid for. I will place the wording for the above AST items at the bottom of this e-mail.

Any help and advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Kyle 

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Landlord Admin Fee

6.2.7 The tenant shall pay the landlords admin fee of £100 at the end of the tenancy.

EOT Cleaning

7.23.4 To have the room and carpet professionally cleaned at the end of this tenancy term, using the landlords approved cleaner. The cleaning will include the, cleaning of any curtains (including net curtains and blinds), blankets, bedding, upholstery, nearest bathroom.

Inventory Fee

7.23.1 To pay the check out Inventory fee and Schedule of Condition listing all the Fixtures and Fittings in the Premises and the condition of them at the expiry or sooner termination of the tenancy.

Mattress Protector

7.23.5 The tenant shall pay the cost of a replacement mattress protector at the end of the tenancy as provided by the landlords cleaner.

Deposit Registration Fee

6.2.6 The tenant shall pay the deposit registration fee.

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Administrator

Hi Kyle

I would contact the local environmental health department of your council and ask them to come and take a look at the mold and also to perhaps make an assessment on whether the property is too cold. If there are issues with these they can compel the landlord to take action. The problem with bills inclusive rents is often this – that the landlord will charge you a large amount to cover the bills and then try to make a profit by ensuring the bills are much less. You could also the landlord for a copy of the energy bills to see whether what you’re paying matches up with what he’s paying?

In terms of the fees unfortunately most of them seem fairly standard. Except for the deposit registation fee – the landlord should be paying that. Perhaps you could ask for a proportionate refund of some of the rent to cover the period in which you were paying for the cleaner as part of the rent and they didn’t come?

Other than that it might be worth looking for somewhere else as this is obviously a skinflint landlord that it would be better to be far away from.

Alex

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