Rachiegarlo

Are you feeling ripped off?

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    As I have not rented in decades, do estate agents here charge you a fee for supplying contracts etc when renting you a property. This has to be the biggest easy money making rort I have heard of in the UK, something which has already been outlawed in Scotland apparently. Since when does someone have the cheek to charge a fee of 200 pounds or more to each renter to pull a contract off a computer to sign AND charge fees to the owner as well. Also why do people put up with this? Some agencies are also charging exit fees of 30 pounds if furniture is not in its original spot. I know the rental property market in London is extremely tight and competitive but that seems like mercenary behaviour to me and they have renters over a barrel because they need somewhere to live.

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    I've not heard that one before. As a landlord a few years ago I used an agent and they charged me a fee to draw up the contracts etc but if the tenant had to pay anything towards that contract then it wasn't something I was aware. I agree it shouldn't be allowed, so would be interested what others have to say.

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    We weren't charged any fees for the agents supplying the contract or anything here. The house came with no furniture so no issues with having to have the furniture back in the exact place. We did have a clause like this when we were on holiday in Florida, but I never came across it on holiday in Oz.

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    As I have not rented in decades, do estate agents here charge you a fee for supplying contracts etc when renting you a property. This has to be the biggest easy money making rort I have heard of in the UK, something which has already been outlawed in Scotland apparently. Since when does someone have the cheek to charge a fee of 200 pounds or more to each renter to pull a contract off a computer to sign AND charge fees to the owner as well. Also why do people put up with this? Some agencies are also charging exit fees of 30 pounds if furniture is not in its original spot. I know the rental property market in London is extremely tight and competitive but that seems like mercenary behaviour to me and they have renters over a barrel because they need somewhere to live.

     

    It's not quite as simple as you state - In Scotland they have recently Clarified an existing law which now means that you cannot charge a tenant anything other than rent. This means, no application fee or a fee for taking references etc. I manage over 1000 properties in Scotland and we used to charge sixty pounds in order to process the application (not the two hundred you suggested) which in my opinion fairly represented the cost of processing each application. However we now have to charge this to the landlord instead. The crazy thing is that all that has happened is that every agency is justing upping everyones rent by a tenner a month meaning that the tenant will end up paying more than before the clarification.

     

    I also manage a few hundred properties in Essex where the law is slightly different and we are still able to charge the tenant a fee. Shelter are lobbying the government for a change in the law but it would require a new law rather than a clarification of an existing one.

     

    There are some unscrupulous agents out there but property management is always very competitive and people do shop around for the best deal as in every other industry. You are right that some agencies appear to take the pee by charging excessive fees once they have the tenant bound by a contract however the introduction of the tenants deposit scheme (TDS) has largely removed this practise as all deposits are now held by a government approved intermediary. Basically if a tenant does not agree with the proposed deductions from the deposit by a landlord/agent then they simply go to the TDS who adjudicate - in my experience this is usually in the tenants favour.

     

    Personally I am all for more legislation as hopefully it will drive the cowboys from the industry but please don't underestimate the work involved and the level of training required to run a letting agency. You would not believe the number of inspections from various Government bodies we now have to endure and the consequences of what could happen if we make a mistake in any number of areas.

     

    NWM

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