I have recently completed a house search and I’m interested to know: Is it legal/correct for an Agent to request tenants salary before an offer has been accepted?
During the process I placed an offer on a house and as part of the offer I was asked my Job Title and Salary. Naively I gave them my salary and an offer of asking price. Within the hour the Agent had increased the asking price online which I found very suspicious given I had just given them my salary and a more than acceptable offer.
I personally found the questions regarding my salary very intrusive and irrelevant. I was told it was ‘standard practice’ (doesn’t mean it’s right!). I questioned the purpose of knowing my salary during negotiation when I was paying around £75+VAT for a credit check post-acceptance anyway. I refused to play games with this Agent and withdrew our offer. Not unsurprisingly the property is still on the market at the increased price.
On finding a second house I refused to give my salary. They told me they required my salary to prove ‘affordability’ which was 30x monthly rent. I told them that as individuals we each meet that criteria meaning our combined salary was at least 60x monthly rent but they still requested an exact figure. I was put through to the manager who understood my frustration and accepted my response of ‘we both earn at least £XXk’. I thought this was reasonable but still a little unfair as I would be provingding them a holding deposit and expensive credit check on acceptance of our offer anyway.
I really can’t believe it’s acceptable for an agency to request salary details at negotiation stage. Is there an ombudsmen that controls this sort of behaviour?