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Letting agent apologises after mistakenly trying to charge tenant illegal fees

Cautionary tale shows how careful agents must now be when issuing documents to ensure old charges aren't included in tenancy agreements.

Nigel Lewis

A letting agent in Liverpool has been investigated by the BBC after trying to charge a tenant illegal fees.

Graduate Lewis Ridley, 23, who had recently finished his degree at the city’s John Moores University, applied to move into a one-bedroom flat within the city’s Baltic Triangle area (pictured, above) after securing his first job.

But he was then asked for £180 as a combined administration and referencing check fee.

He was also told by the letting agent involved that he would be charged a £70 fee to renew his tenancy contract in 12 months’ time and £25 to be sent a letter if he paid his rent late and had to be chased.

Ridley (pictured, below) put details of the fees on Twitter calling them ‘sickening’ and pondering how people on low wages afford them.

But the media studies gradiate, despite his advanced level of education, was unaware of the tenant fees ban.

“Usually I’m quite plugged into stuff but the news about tenancy fees and 1 June just passed me by,” he told the BBC.

After being informed on Twitter that the fees were illegal he alerted his letting agent, who then apologised.

The company subsequently sent him a letter saying: “Thank you for bringing this to my attention; I am fully aware of the tenant fee ban instated [sic] on the 1st June.

“We have altered all our adverts and materials to coincide with this but our template tenancy agreement must have been overlooked. I will get this amended and resend to yourself this afternoon.”

August 6, 2019

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