What are reasonable tenant fees from letting agents – £600?

by Readers Question

4 years ago

What are reasonable tenant fees from letting agents – £600?

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What are reasonable tenant fees from letting agents – £600?

My son is moving from one rented property to another and after receiving the contract is horrified by the agencies fees he’s being asked to sign up to.

For his previous rentals the only fee he paid was an admin/credit check fee normally around £250, and so he had no reason to assume this wasn’t the norm. This new agent has taken a non-refundable holding deposit £250 to include reference fees, and now wants an additional £130 tenancy fee, and for him to agree to pay £230 on termination to cover leaving admin and inventory check. Total over £600!

As he’s looking at 6 month tenancy that’s effectively added £100 per month to the stated rental cost. I’m aware these fees have been outlawed in Scotland, but this is in England. So landlords using full service agents are you checking what your agent plan to charge your tenants? This can have a significant impact on the rental you might expect to get – assuming the tenant notices before committing.

Secondly has anyone any views on what is meant by ‘transparency’ for fees. I’d have thought anything less than a clear and full disclosure of the exact costs/fees before accepting any monies from a tenant was the minimum required to meet ‘good practice’. This particular agent seems to have mentioned only deep within their web pages that charges for these things would apply (amounts not specified), no mention of extra fees on the property listing on their web site, and just fees “from xxx” on a leaflet given when he viewed – that turn out to be quite a lot less than he’s now being asked to sign up to.

If he chooses to walk away now then he stands to lose the £250 he’s already handed over, so would be no better off if he then finds another property with an agency charging much more reasonable fees.

Anybody got any advice or ideas?

Andyfees



Comments

Ian Ringrose

4 years ago

Firstly report the agent to trading standards as they are required to make their fees clear.

Then report them to the ombudsman, as it is not acceptable for them to take the holding deposit without making ALL charges very clear.

I would then personally try to find somewhere else to rent and then find the owner of the property on the land registry site and write to them explain how due to their agents actions you will not be renting it.

Michael Barnes

4 years ago

1. It sounds excessive and covers things I would expect to be paid by landlord (covered by fees charged to landlord).

2. If he was not made aware of the charges before he signed up (and paid £250), then the other charges may be unenforceable (but I am not a lawyer).

3. Non-refundable referencing fee seemsinappropriate. Letting agents round my way (Somerset) generally only charge referencing fee once a prospective tenant says she wants a place.

4. talk to a solicitor or Citizens Advice about the charges and what to do.

Seems I an in agreement with Ian, and was writing at the same time 🙂

Sharon Betton

4 years ago

I have been telling our members for a couple of years - please make sure you can justify any administration charges you make, because Shelter have already started agitating that landlords are asking for unreasonable fees. This agent does the whole profession a disservice.

Anthony Endsor

4 years ago

Well recently I paid the fees for a tenant to move into my property out of goodwill to the tenant.
My fees AND the tenant's fees came to a combined total of £80. Would normally be £40 each the agent said.

Ian Ringrose

4 years ago

This is something Shelter could do a lot to improve. If they just chose the agent in each area that charged the highest tenant fees, then undercover viewed a lot of their properties, got the landlords address from the land registry, and wrote to the landlord explaining the effect of the high charges on the time it took to find tenants etc.

Maybe some foxes will not like it....

@Ian, I fear that you are being a little naïve.....Shelter is not interested in identifying good agent, only in tarring us all with the same brush as the poor ones. I have tried for years to offer Shelter both locally and nationally the opportunity to come and look at what we do, how we offer services to tenants and how we resource those services; they have never even replied to my offers.

DC

4 years ago

I agree with all the comments made so far and would add that there are agents also charging ridiculously high and unreasonable fees in my area too.

Perhaps we as landlords and good agents together should be the ones confronting the agents with unreasonable fees and changing this unsavoury practice by pressure and naming and shaming. Unfortunately this isn't the website that we can do this on so I'm not sure where we would actually start.

A Trip Advisor type site is an excellent place to compare good with bad, which is what we could do with.

Ian Ringrose

4 years ago

DC,

I think a first step is to inform the landlords that currently use these agents what is going on.

Then if you don’t mind breaking the law, a larger sicker showing the charges could be put on their “for let” boards whenever you see one 🙂

I don’t think websites will work, as the landlords will mostly only have 1 property and not be very active.

Rod

4 years ago

Well, a prospective tenant came to me saying the agents wanted nearly £1000 all in and he couldn't afford it. I let him in, £1000s later I came to regret it. The moral is, it sorts the men from the boys! P.S. I'm not an agent.

Colin Dartnell

4 years ago

Agents that do this can give a landlord a bad name without the landlord knowing anything about it.

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