15:56 PM, 5th January 2012, About 12 years ago 16
Would you be sceptical of an advert for fee free letting?
Being a landlord for over 20 years has made me a bit sceptical so when I first heard about a fee free property letting offer my gut reaction was “what’s the catch?”
It was obvious to me that the only way anybody could offer a free letting service via all of the following portals was to charge the tenants and to have an upsell agenda.
Curiosity always gets the better of me though so I decided to dig a bit deeper. I went onto the website of the company offering the service and I read their terms and conditions very carefully. The bottom line was that if the landlord deals directly with the tenant and cuts the letting agent agent out of the game they charge the landlord £500. Does that mean they are charging the tenant £500 for referencing and producing a tenancy agreement then, I thought. I checked very carefully and there was definitely no requirement to employ the letting agent for long term management so I knew that wasn’t the catch.
I couldn’t just leave it at that, it’s not my nature to allow my scepticism to ruin an opportunity so I emailed the company concerned. They telephoned me today and I had my opportunity to dig deeper still.
It turns out that they are a relatively new business and are offering this promotion as a bit of a loss leader to gain brand awareness. Nothing wrong with that of course, the supermarkets do it every day. I asked how much they charge tenants for referencing and the answer is £99 including VAT. They don’t charge tenants for anything else and its up to the landlord whether they choose to use the agents tenancy agreement. OK, fair enough I’m thinking, that’s not the cheapest I’ve seen but it’s by no means the most expensive either. In fairness, if a tenant which they had found for me seemed decent enough, passed all the credit checks etc. and wanted my property, but these fees were the sticking then I’d probably subsidise them myself.
I’m going to give this a try the next time one of my tenants serves notice. What have I got to lose?
I did wonder whether the letting agent charges the fee to introduce the tenants to me but I’m assured that’s not how it works. The explanation I was offered was that they put us in touch, I show them my property and if I choose to do a deal then I simply refer the tenants back to the agent for the referencing. Can’t say fairer than that.
So in summary I now see this as being a decent offer, possibly a very, very good one and a very cost effective way to source tenants.
I’ve not named the letting agent because I’m hoping to get them to advertise on Property118. I’ve decided to write this article now though to demonstrate interest levels in this service from readers of Property118.com to them, so if you are interested in knowing more please leave a comment below. If enough comments are left, they will advertise and I will add a link to their website here.
What do you reckon?