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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    Newbie landlord wants to know HMO costs

    Dear Vanessa and fellow Landlords, 

    my flat had recently had minor HMO works to make it compliant; letter plate had to be replaced by BS 13724 one, maindoor had to have intumescent strips and smoke seals fitted made smoke proof, bedroom doors had to fully self close, needing adjusting the latch keeper and fire blanket had to be relocated in the kitchen. . 

    The letting agent had let me know the work required, sending me the Council's schedule of work required. l agreed to it, but then got the first invoice.

    The first part is billed 'removing existing door lock as fitting incorrectly £293' I enquired about this and got told by the tradesman that it was because after fitting the intumescent strips and fire seals the door wouldn't close properly so the lock had to be adjusted and the bill included all other requirements and materials.

    Fair enough I thought, but then the property manager said no, theres another invoice for the materials and labor of ensuring the 3 bedroom doors close properly, and that amounts to £320. I feel robbed.

    Isn't it proper procedure to inform me of the costs before just having that automatically debited from my rent? Especially at these hyper inflated rates.

    Other costs are fire risk assessment which cost £298 and annual servicing of fire extinguishers which cost £32.94. are the above costs normal and should l ask for itemised receipts?

    I feel like I am getting the pi** taken out off because I am an inexperienced landlord. Making it worse is that the service and response rate from the letting agent are 90% non existent. Google reviews show they only have 2 stars out of 5.

    I am considering threatening contact with ombudsman or ARLA (the letting agent said they were members) if they don't refund some of the costs. Please advise. Thanks in advance for your help.

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    Frankly u are having the piss taken out of u

    Jus for clarity

    A half hour fire door cost £24 inc vat from Howdens

    3 × 100mm hinges £10

    Thumbturn lock/ handle /  internal lock - £45/50

    Intuscment strip.- £15

    Any competent carpenter will hang a fire door and all the associated furniture / strip for £75 per door - doing min 2 doors a day - mine does 3 in a day , so how on gods earth u get a bill for adjusting a lock keep/ routing a do it for a fire strip as u have is beyond me !

    Fire assessment is around £100/150 max

    U should demand the original invoices from the respective companies who did the work with the receipts of all materials supplied & used.

    They prob won't comply with that - if it was me i would not be using them as agent - if I was i would insist on seeing any Qoute above £50 of worth from the person doing the work and what % is the agent adding to the bill for his organising the work?

    I know a agent who policy is that his mainternance teams wages are paid in full from houses he lets for others so that his own portfolio mainternance costs are free.

    Move to another agent and if they don't provide u with the info, Put Them on notice u intend to take the matter to court for resolution, if they still dont, then instigate county court proceeding, and obtain judgement, if they don't still pay seek a bankruptcy petition that will fire a rocket up there arse to pay!

    Good luck with it.


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    thanks for the info Mahzar and fellow landlords, no new doors / locks or handles were required, even latches. adjustments were necessary for the bedroom doors to self close as 2 weren't fully self closing. Here is the first invoice. Red rectangle items, I am sure are to sugar coat / distract me from the costs especially, £293. Its also misleading as it says 'Total Cost' but told that theres a 2ndbill of £320 for the 'other' works the tradesmen carried out, including adjusting bedroom doors so they close fully. Got told not given same time as the invoices were not ready, so they will be deducted from my November rent. The property agent also said that the £320 still hasnt been paid to the workmen. So can I insist they don't pay until I have reviewed the costs?

    she told me that fire assessment was the cheapest she found,other HMO's and her office got done for 350. l want to ask you where do they do it for £150 max? and how often do they have to be carried out? Mines was done by fireriskassessmets.com @ £298.80 (got invoice for). I think its totally acceptable to pay for the costs and labour but not at these hyper inflated numbers. The council and HMO Scotland said the amendments are minor, and a day of work should be more than suffice. The letting agent said it did take a day. But something is wrong with the pricing. l am looking for a refund so normal prices are paid, but not confident l will get any. What is bankruptcy petition and how do l seek it? and are the ombudsman and ARLA not the first point to contact before small claims court? thanks again

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    I agree with Mazhar re the door hanging costs.   Our HMO officer requests one fire extinguisher in the kitchen with a fire blanket.  His logic is that extinguishers all over the house may tempt people, who have had no training, to try and fight the fire instead of getting out of the building.  I tend to agree with him.

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    Interestingly, late Summer 2017, the HMO Officer in Swindon told us to remove the Fire Extinguisher as it is no longer regulation (I understood this to be national as it also came up on a course I did but that was 18 months ago so dont quote me as current legislation!!) and as Bob points out encourages people to stay in the property and fight the fire so check with your local Officer and if not remove them and save an annual servicing charge.

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    I also  removed my fire extinguisher following a fire safety course, the fire officer explained 2 reasons firstly as already stated it might encourage tenants to fight the fire and second who is responsible for training the tenants to properly and safely use the fire fighting equipment you have provided.

    The training element opened a can of worms

    • Every tenant needs to be trained
    • Evidence that they were trained and are competent to use the extinguisher.
    • Training of new tenants.
    • I have Polish tenants in one property who are still struggling with English.
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    They were the agent's tradesmen. They took my call last time when they didn't know it was my number and l politely enquired about their costs but they no longer take my calls, messages and emails even though l was also asking them to do further work in another property's flooring and bathroom, which he said would be interested in, in the only call that he answered from me, the first call.

    The workman said he would get back to me later that day to show me the cost breakdown of the work he did. nothing. its been a week now. 

    l should of been informed of the costs by the agent, no matter what no?

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    Not sure what others think, l recommend you contact the tenants and tell them not to pay the agent this month. This will be helpful if the con jobs still haven't been paid to the workers. Then get it sorted, if not sorted, contact the Ombudsman

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    Turnbull - l was told that may violate the contract and l could get sued.

    Fellow landlords - what do you think a reasonable charge l would be expected to pay for the work required by Edinburgh council, required amendments, https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1...ggF_bJnpnH ,  considering that the front door lock had to be adjusted so it locks properly after itumescent strips and fire seals put in place around front door?

    My mother, who is not knowledgeable of cost of materials and labour or letting property, is friends with the letting agent boss, said she spoke with the letting agent boss and that the costs are justified, as it was an urgent job, so would expect to pay ~ double.

    And the letting agent boss saying they took no additional payment for HMO work, which she said many letting agents charge a starting fee of £500. is that true?

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