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

Gary Nock

4 years ago

I give tenants a "moving in quotation" which details exactly what the tenancy will cost them. In fact I tell prospective tenants that even if they do not let with us to take the "moving in"quotation to the High St agents and ask them to do the same. I have already had one irate agent asking me why I do this. I tell them that it is to show transparency on fees - and embarass the rip off agents charging £500 plus for tenants letting fees. Its not rocket science is it?

Jessie Jones

4 years ago

The question is 'what is reasonable?'
Well I reckon it takes me a full days work to meet with a prospective tenant a couple of times, get referencing check forms completed and submitted, review the results, check them on social media websites, visit their current home, draw up a tenancy and meet with the tenant again.
It takes best part of a day to draw up a proper inventory, but once done it only takes a couple of hours to properly check it before a tenant moves in and another couple when they leave.
So about a day and a half's work all in.
On top of this it costs me about £60 to advertise on Rightmove and Zoopla and £30 for credit and referencing checks.
I manage my own properties and the only charge I pass on to prospective tenants is the £30 referencing charge, but if I was using an agent I would expect them to have to allocate at least a couple of days per tenancy. So after their overheads and leaving room for profit I reckon £500 is not unreasonable, all in.
The trouble is that they tend to charge this sort of sum to the landlord, and then again to the tenant and then ask for a 'finders fee' and then repeat fees every 6 months or so. I suspect they expect to bank in excess of £1000 by the time they have fleeced both parties.
Ask the agents what fees they charge the Landlord. It would seem to me that £500 between the tenant and the Landlord would be ample.

Ian Ringrose

4 years ago

Reasonable, is the reference charge must be high enough that only people that truly wish to rent the property will go ahead. It should also cover the full cost of the tenant decides to pull out.

I also like the tenant having to pay for the independent checkout inspection, but then explain that we if can agree between ourselves, there would be no need for it.

(It is a real shame that agent charges are so hidden, otherwise landlords could ask for more rent each month in exchange for not making the charges.)

Andy Jolliffe

4 years ago

Thanks for all your comments so far. So in the end my son has gone with the property as he needed to move in quickly, and the area/property was just right. The agent in this transaction has been outrageous, not just for the fees, which he did manage to get some reduction for, but also that the contract they produced was full of basic mistakes and in other parts just plain wrong. E.g. written around the wrong deposit protection agency, and demanding a further £500 admin fee from the tenant before referring any deposit disagreement to the deposit agency for resolution. We met the landlord at the property when he moved in, who was really genuine and seemed completely unaware of the issues and tenant costs faced with the agent. As Jessie says - fleecing both sides - hopefully the landlord who has 3 other properties will think about his choice of agent next time around. Will be referring him to this excellent site as I think the only reason he uses an agent at all is a lack of awareness in how/where to find his next tenant and run basic checks etc.. I think over Christmas I'll be summarising all the issues and sending a complaint to TPOS (they are members), ASA, Shelter and the local MP, not that it'll probably achieve anything, but if no one complains they'll never change.

Ian Ringrose

4 years ago

No point complaining to shelter or the local MP, but add trading standards to your list, as they are meant to enforce the laws about clearly displaying all charges.

Ian Ringrose

4 years ago

Mark,

As hiding the charges is clearly meant to mislead, would your “no fee” criminal banister be interested in taking this on?

Jon Dahms

4 years ago

We always let people know what our fees are up-front. We NEVER take a non-refundable deposit and the only financial risk for a tenant is a referencing charge which is levied at £30 per applicant. Our remaining Admin Fee is pegged at £195 and that is per property, not per applicant. Given the headache of box-ticking and general faffing with DPS etc. and re-serving the DPS stuff after the fixed term has ended and a tenant stays on, we think this is quite fair. We know of other local agents charging £300 per applicant. Does no one any favours as we need to be competitive to TENANTS or we will have no LANDLORDS left!!

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