How flatfair is tackling hidden tenant charges that even new laws won’t abolish

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It’s no secret that tenants face hefty upfront costs when moving in to a new property – and it looks as though new laws will do little to lessen the burden.

Under the traditional deposit model, most renters expect to pay one month’s rent in advance alongside an upfront deposit (usually equal to six weeks’ worth of rent). However, in addition to these costs, they often find themselves faced with admin fees, letting agents’ fees, charges for employers to provide them with credible references and even inventory check-in fees. The rule? No payment, no property.

While the Tenant Fees Bill currently passing through Parliament is set to effectively limit or even ban these kinds of charges, campaigners argue that tenants will still be at risk of hidden costs. Even without these ‘official’ pre-tenancy fees to contend with, tenant campaign groups including Shelter and Generation Rent point out that agents, property managers and landlords will still be within their rights to charge default fees in their stead – for end of tenancy cleaning or repairs, for example. Whilst these services may well prove necessary, many tenants feel they are being routinely overcharged for them, and therefore not getting their full deposit fees back.

“We’ve heard countless stories of tenants who have paid for professional cleaners to come at the end of their tenancy, only to be told the landlord isn’t satisfied, and that they’ll be charged for further cleaning, at a higher cost,” explains Adam Ali, flatfair Partnerships Manager. Landlords are naturally keen to maintain their properties to the highest standards, but the lack of transparency, and the difficulty of having an open channel of dialogue, can prove extremely frustrating for tenants.

With more than 11 million people renting their homes across the country, these are understandable sources of concern for tenants – and that’s exactly why we at flatfair are committed to providing a solution to all parties involved.

Under the flatfair model, tenants pay an affordable, one-off membership fee in lieu of the traditional six-week deposit. flatfair’s ‘pay as you leave’ model means that tenants can then access the flatfair platform at the end of their tenancy to view any outstanding charges or rent arrears raised by the landlord. They then have the option to settle and pay for these claims directly online, negotiate with the landlord on amounts, or counter the claims entirely. If tenants have already paid for cleaning services, for example, they can upload receipts to prove they’ve done so, while landlords can do the same to demonstrate the costs of any replacement furnishings.

If claims can’t be resolved, both the landlord and tenants have access to a government adjudicated Independent Dispute Resolution service whose final judgement is binding.

Daniel Jeczmien, flatfair Founder and COO, adds, “We’re working to make a real difference to both tenants and landlords across the UK. Landlords want to know their property is in good hands and tenants want to be treated fairly. By providing both parties with an online platform where everything is transparent, flatfair provides solutions where the current system creates barriers.”

If you’d like to find out more about how flatfair can benefit you, as a tenant or a landlord, take a look at our website or email to find out more.