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Reserve funds held: help!

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« on: June 14, 2021, 03:11:17 AM »

Hello,
Been looking for somewhere to get some advice so thought I would give here a try!
Our letting agent has held £200 on top of our float that hasnít been used because our tenant called them over an element that needed replacing in the oven, there is still no invoice, but an extra 200 has been held on top of our £200 float until there is an invoice and they know how much of the float needs topping up.
They also deducted the gas safety certificate price twice this month.
Can they do this? We are £200 down this month while we wait for an invoice that never seems to be coming. Surely if they havenít got the invoice then it should come off of next months payment.
Any advice would be appreciated as our letting agent seem to avoid giving us any clarity into the situation
These are only our second tenants and we are still learning so a little advice would go a long way. Thanks
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2021, 09:54:08 AM »

I was never  asked to provide a float. The usual system is that you would agree for work to be carried out,at a given price,and the money would be deducted from your next rent income.If the rent would not cover it,I would expect the invoice to be sent directly to me for payment.All agents have their own  system. When was the work carried out? Contractors can sometimes take a month or so before invoicing. Presumably you have complained about the error in the deductions for the gas check? What did they say? Forgive me for saying this,not meant harshly,but you do need to be more on the ball where agents are concerned.A cooker element should not be a very costly repair.
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2021, 10:10:07 AM »

Hello
Thank you for your reply, we have a £200 float as required by our agents and deductions are made from that for work that needs doing and then money is taken from the rent payment to fill the float back up.
The work was carried out on the 26th of may I believe but still no invoice so they are just holding a reserve fund of £200 from this months rent to fill it up when the invoice comes through.
Yes we complained about the gas safety, property manager blamed the accounts department and the money for it was assigned back to us.
Donít worry wasnít taken harshly, itís something we are new to and still finding our feet with it, because the tenant rang the problem in as an emergency out of hours they are saying it is going to cost more money although we sent someone out to look at it and ruled it as non-emergency then leaving the manager to replace the element in the oven. Itís all a bit of a farce at the moment and seriously considering dropping the agency. Really just wanted some advice on whether they should be holding a reserve fund for something that we donít even have an invoice for yet. Thank you for your reply again
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2021, 10:22:19 AM »

The fact that a tenant rings something in out of hours does not mean the agent is obliged to treat it as an emergency.You need to check your contract,it can be difficult to drop an agent while the tenant they found is still living there.They may charge a penalty.
.
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2021, 10:33:07 AM »

No I know but because it was made out that they had no physical way to make food, it was classed as an emergency until we told them otherwise.
The tenants one year clause is up in two months, so we are considering ending tenancy there and then leaving the agency as there is no fee when there isnít a tenant.
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2021, 11:08:24 AM »

Remember that the Agent works for you. Rather than asking - whether it be meekly or not - start demanding. Tell them what you've told us and then tell them what you expect... either get hold on an invoice in 48 hours or return this float booster? Simple. Be a boss to the Agent. The Agent is probably trying to be efficient... not imagining for one second you'd be so concerned about a mere £200. The fact as to whether they're "allowed" will all be in the Terms of Business you jointly signed... if the document is silent on something like this then you are in a strong position, right? If it's clearly laid-out as part of their process... the way things are done... then you signed up to it. I'd check that document first... then go back to them suitably.
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2021, 11:21:44 AM »

Remember that the Agent works for you. Rather than asking - whether it be meekly or not - start demanding. Tell them what you've told us and then tell them what you expect... either get hold on an invoice in 48 hours or return this float booster? Simple. Be a boss to the Agent. The Agent is probably trying to be efficient... not imagining for one second you'd be so concerned about a mere £200. The fact as to whether they're "allowed" will all be in the Terms of Business you jointly signed... if the document is silent on something like this then you are in a strong position, right? If it's clearly laid-out as part of their process... the way things are done... then you signed up to it. I'd check that document first... then go back to them suitably.

This is really appreciated, I looked over the terms of business the day this began and there is nothing about holding a reserve as far as I can see just that there is a float and that would need to be refilled when some of the money is used for repairs. I agree that we definitely need to be more forceful in telling them what we expect. Just received an email to say the invoice has come in and itís down to accounts now, still withholding how much it actually is. Replied demanding an actual figure.
Thank you for this reply it is really appreciated
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2021, 10:05:27 AM »

I know the float was £200, and I know the amount reserved here was £200... and neither implies the bill will be £200... but I just add this comment for a different view... I've recently been told there was something wrong with an oven at a property... I was first told it was the rubber seal around the door... but it actually turned out it was an element as well... I decided to not mess around trying to find an appliance man (I often find these are the hardest to get along, and you end up with Handyman or something like that) and the costs often go up to a point where it makes sense to do what I elected in the end - which was replace the entire thing. Brand new oven from AO for £219 (some kind of deal) with free delivery... an Electrician will install it for £20... basically it has a normal plug (quite a few do these days as it's the hobs that require the higher power)... so it's just the movement of the old one and new one really. Tenant is a very happy bunny... I'm actually happy... the oven doesn't look bog-standard at all... LCD display and various functions... brand name that's OK - Hotpoint (but there was a Bosch at £299, longer lead time). These items are becoming more disposable and even with the Right To Repair approach now being touted... everyone likes a new appliance, don't they?

Maybe I could've had the seal replaced and the element too... for £50... maybe £75... or £100... but this result feels both simpler and better (to me) and I don't think I'll bemoan the extra cost in due course.
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2021, 11:13:49 AM »

I know the float was £200, and I know the amount reserved here was £200... and neither implies the bill will be £200... but I just add this comment for a different view... I've recently been told there was something wrong with an oven at a property... I was first told it was the rubber seal around the door... but it actually turned out it was an element as well... I decided to not mess around trying to find an appliance man (I often find these are the hardest to get along, and you end up with Handyman or something like that) and the costs often go up to a point where it makes sense to do what I elected in the end - which was replace the entire thing. Brand new oven from AO for £219 (some kind of deal) with free delivery... an Electrician will install it for £20... basically it has a normal plug (quite a few do these days as it's the hobs that require the higher power)... so it's just the movement of the old one and new one really. Tenant is a very happy bunny... I'm actually happy... the oven doesn't look bog-standard at all... LCD display and various functions... brand name that's OK - Hotpoint (but there was a Bosch at £299, longer lead time). These items are becoming more disposable and even with the Right To Repair approach now being touted... everyone likes a new appliance, don't they?

Maybe I could've had the seal replaced and the element too... for £50... maybe £75... or £100... but this result feels both simpler and better (to me) and I don't think I'll bemoan the extra cost in due course.

We have definitely learnt to just handle things ourselves, £120 to replace an element. The work you did sounds amazing and really good prices.
We are still fairly new at this, with these only being our second tenants, but you live and learn
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2021, 02:35:48 PM »

It is simply not worth going through the hassle of getting many appliances repaired.There are some good deals out there,and the tenants are happy too. 
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2021, 10:17:46 PM »

I have also taken advantage of the full service from John Lewis, AO and Currys... rip out old appliance (I had it with washing machine, dishwasher x 2, oven x 2), install new one, take everything away... John Lewis are the best, AO second best, Currys third best. However, in all situations, the Tenants (and myself, for the second dishwasher was mine) were ecstatic. Their prices for these services are much of a muchness. Sometimes it's worth if it the property is something a bit more high-end... or if you just can't be arsed with the associated hassle that is sadly a necessary part of penny-pinching.

Mostly I can be arsed. But I'm getting older...
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