Letting agents slammed as fees go through the roof

Letting agents slammed as fees go through the roof

16:02 PM, 28th May 2012, About 12 years ago 3

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Letting agents are charging fees of up to £600 to tenants who want to privately rent a home in Wales, says housing charity Shelter.

Shelter claims letting agents mask the true cost of letting a property and wants the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) to introduce new rules to make the cost of renting clearer to tenants.

The criticism of charges comes as the WAG looks at tightening up private housing rules with a proposal to licence landlords and letting agents.

Shelter has also kicked off a campaign against unfair letting charges in Scotland, where laws make some costs imposed by letting agents illegal.

“You have to question how reasonable these charges are when credit checks can be carried out online for £20 and tenancy agreements are usually standard template contracts,” said John Puzey, director of Shelter Cymru.

“These kinds of unregulated charges, which are illegal in Scotland, are making the private rented sector even more unaffordable at a time when many people in Wales are already struggling to find and keep accommodation.

“We found that most charges were not well advertised so prospective tenants are often unable to discover the true cost of setting up a tenancy until they are well into the process of making an application, by which time they may already have handed over some non-refundable payments.”

Some agents charged a flat administration fee to all tenants, while others varied the fee depending on the rent level, raising questions about why the amount of administration should depend on the cost of the home.

“This lack of transparency traps people into paying additional fees as it is almost impossible for them to make an informed choice when they start the process of renting a home,” said Puzey.

The average cost to two adults renting a two bedroom home in Wales in April was £1,294 – made up of a £233 admin fee, advance rent of £520 and a £541 deposit.

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22:40 PM, 28th May 2012, About 12 years ago

It should be borne in mind the high costs that Letting Agenmts pay to Rightmove and the other main portals to advertise the properties as well as the costs of running an office and ever increasing costs of fuel to carry out viewings. It is not relevant to just look at the cost of a reference and a Tenancy Agreement.

If you wish to make the anology of fees being linked to rental value the same should be applied to sales fees which for many years have been so linked.

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11:59 AM, 29th May 2012, About 12 years ago

The first step is to require all fees tenants are charged to be listed on all adverts and to be clearly given to anyone that is doing a viewing before the viewing starts.  I would also like to see the property
search websites list the fees next to the rent when showing the result of a search.

Then agent should have to make it clear to tenants that it is option if they sign up
for a new tenancy as the current one will just continue on a periodically bases anyway.

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15:35 PM, 29th May 2012, About 12 years ago

Before the advent of Rightmove LA still has advertising costs.
Now they have an online presence on a well known portal.
If anything their costs of advertising have reduced as Rightmove is more effective than other methods.
Not many LA waste marketing spend on  paper ads anymore.
Having a high st office is a marketing gamble but not fundamentally required.
It is a LA choice if they wish to burden themselves with expensive marketing facilities.
It would be interesting to know what a well run efficient LA thinks costs should be and the appropriate fees to run a LA.
I should think NPG have a fair idea of what should be charged and fees that are acceptable.
They have nationwide coverage.
So over to Glenn for perhaps some insight to the real costs of being a LA and the level of fees,  if any that should be charged.
Personally I don't see why a LA should charge ANY fees as he should have his business model on the basis of management fees and tenant source.
It doesn't cost me £400 to find a tenant and yet that is what some LA charge, ......a rip off.
Some charge substantially more....Foxtons and the like......Daylight robbery!
I can source a tenant for £99,  sometimes for less aswell
RGI includes credit check for a year £99
AST free off the internet
Inventory free off the internet.
Is it any wonder both LL and tenants feel,  I think with justification, they are being ripped off.

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