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Letting Agent Fees

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499 views 3 replies latest reply: 13 June 2014
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Tenant

Another few questions for the group.

We have having to move again (3rd a Time in 5 years) because as per usual the landlord wants to sell.

We have found another house and just got the list of fees from the letting agent which never cease to amaze me.

1) £144 for setting up a contract. Would this be the same contract that you setup for us twice before and that you just print off and fill in the blanks.

2) £188 for references, would these be the same references that you checked the last two times, or rather didn’t and why should the landlord not have to pay this, it’s them that wants the references checked.

3) £60 admin fee. I don’t really have an issue with this

4) £75 for an inventory. Why exactly do I have to pay for an inventory on an empty house that is not even mine.

I except that letting agents need to make money and I don’t mind paying a hundred pounds or so but £450 odd is absolute daylight robbery,

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Tenant

How frustrating! And very expensive for you. I am really sorry to hear your news.

In 2013 the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) criticised letting agents and told them to display compulsory fees and charges. The ASA came to the conclusion that unscrupulous agencies were getting away with it by hiding their charges. Unfortunately the ASA has no influence outside the world of advertising.

What constitutes reasonable letting agents fees is a matter of opinion. However, TTV believes, as do most people in the lettings industry, that most tenants should not pay more than the following:-

Inventory fee in a furnished tenancy: £50-100
Tenancy reference: £30
Deposit of 4-6 weeks rent
Agreement fee: £30
Tenancy renewal fee: £25
Administration fee: £100

Some letting agents try to make extra money from tenants while the very unscrupulous ones try to charge the landlord as well as the tenant.

Unreasonable fees include:

A penalty payment if you don’t pay the rent by standing order
A reservation fee to hold a property while you get a reference or deposit
A moving in charge
A moving out charge
Cleaning charges when you move out leaving the place spotless
Unnecessary letters or form letters, such as ones telling you that your rent is going up
A fee for signing up with the agency
A fee for a tenancy agreement
Any admin which is inevitable

As you have rented with this letting agent before, I would suggest that you speak to the lettings manager personally and see if there is scope for negotiation on some of the fees you are being charged, especially as some of them do seem high. They should be able to answer any questions you have with regard to the fees and why some of them are so high. Reference checks do need to be done for each new tenancy, in case a tenant’s financial situation has changed since the previous one. Inventories are essential and worth their weight in gold; they can be the difference between getting your deposit returned and losing a large portion if not all of it. (Double check the prices listed on their website first to see if they match what you have been charged.) I would also ask whether the new landlord has any plans to sell the property in the near future. They may be willing to offer a longer fixed term contract with a special clause for an early release if things don’t go according to plan.

If they are unwilling to negotiate as an offer of good will, then it might be worth your while investigating some other letting agents in the area to see if their prices are more competitive.

Good luck, I wish you all the best for the new tenancy.

Disclaimer: This information is derived from personal experience and should not be relied upon as a definitive or accurate interpretation of the law.

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Tenant

I tried talking to them and they said that they could rent the house tomorrow to somebody else who will pay the full fees so why should they give us a discount.

The problem is that there is such a demand for private rental properties that agents and landlords can charge whatever they want and people have no option but to pay.

We tried the council but they basically laughed in our faces and said join the queue and come back in 10 years.

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Tenant

Clearly you have found one of those letting agents that doesn’t value tenants as paying customers. They don’t deserve your money. Believe me, there are letting agents who will value you and treat you with respect. I hope you find one. Soon, our website will have a vetted list of all the best letting agents in the country. In the mean time, please rate and review them on our site to inform others of the way they treat their clients. Here’s the link. If you can’t find them listed, you can easily create a profile for them by ‘registering a letting agency’.

Many thanks.

http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/review/

http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/user-pages/register-letting-agency/

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