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  • Buy-to-Let

    Letting agents - hyper-inflated costs

    In my invoice statement, my letting agent has charged £293 for "Removing existing door lock as fitting incorrectly" l complained to the boss about it couple of times.

    Today, she said she would find out exactly what the charge was for, she added that it was something else as well and will find out for me tomorrow.

    Either way I was not informed of a door lock problem at the start.

    The contract is for 'full management' but they were informed that any costs should be reported to me before any work is carried out.

    They had verbally agreed.

    To add salt to injury, they charged me £20 for a battery change to a smoke alarm in a bedroom.

    l was informed yesterday by the letting agent that the smoke detector was 'beeping' and if they can send out a tradesman to change the battery. l replied hours later that there was no need to send out a tradesman to change a battery, and tenants could do it.

    They replied today that a tradesmen had been sent as the ceiling is 'high' (~3m?) and l have been charged £20. l understand those charges don't bankrupt me, but it feels like l am being robbed.

    What are the normal costs to change batteries in smoke alarms set by letting agents? any suggestions?

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    The lock sounds excessive, but the battery not so much, if.the ceilings are high, and there is a risk the tenant won't change the battery or not fit correctly £20 for someone to attend and replace is not over the top in my opinion. Unless this is a single let? I am interpreting it as a HMO? Or similar

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    Stephen Coles Dip RLPM

    Complete Property Management

    32 Lune Grove

    Blackpool

    FY1 5LE

    01253 291816

    07967 561210


    Hello,

    I have just come across your message regarding the points outlined.

    I own a residential lettings business and the prices that our contractors charge you is the price you pay, there are so many agents out there who will charge you a 'mark up' or an admin fee for handling the repair and dealing with the invoice. This should be within the management commission that you pay to your agent. £293 for removing existing door lock and re-fitting it is appalling. This should have cost not more than £30-£35 maximum. 

    You as a landlord should not have to pay for the smoke alarm batteries to be replaced, this is the tenants responsibility and they would have to do the same if they owned their own property. However, if the height of the ceiling is excessive and requires a long ladder to reach it, then this would be down to the landlord for replacing the battery. You should expect to pay no more than £10-£15 including labour and a new battery.

    It sounds you have a managing agent who will make a small fortune out of you as and when is possible!

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    I can see more of these excessive charges becoming commonplace as LA costs are recovered from the LL instead of the tenant.

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    293 sounds  excessive .

    Nearer 50 - 80 depending on the skill level and complexity of what is required

    But as the LA said - it was something else as well so the jurys out for now on that one

    20 for a battery change is about right .  Its an annoying cost but that`s the game we are in

    to go to the shop buy a battery travel to the house 3 miles away guzzling petrol as you go  get a step ladder out slot a new one in and drive home makes 20 quid seem fairly reasonable . The seemingly simplicity  of the task can sometimes mask the true costs involved

    Maybe your AST should put the onus on the tenant to do some of these menial tasks

    One of the reasons I self manage though is to problem solve and sift through who does what

    Tenants themselves are an invaluable maintenance resource

    I select mine with these trade skills in mind .

    Many would have done both these tasks at no cost to me

    It saves me hundreds and hundreds

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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    Hi, we have heard many a tale from contractors of how agents are inflating their prices. 

    The common tactic is to tell the contractor to quote and then add about 20% so basically if a job is £100, the contractor bills £120 and gets paid £100 and the agent pockets £20.  We at https://www.rocketthomerentals.com do not do this and welcome any of our customers to mystery shop our contractors. 

    With cleaning, maintenance, certificates etc you could be paying a hidden 1 to 3% or more on top of your management fee. 

    Contractors hate this as it makes them seem more expensive plus they are losing money as they quite often quote for work they never get. 

    The agent also Is not looking for the best or cheapest contractor, just the one who gives the highest kick back.

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    Utter astonishing.  Needed this done to a flat I had back in 2013 and I got it fitted by a workman for £20.

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