Which? Is arguing that charging tenants admin fees, as well as landlords, is a “rip off” and should be banned. This would follow the practice in Scotland where there fees were banned over a year ago.

The respected consumer magazine featured its “10 fees that should be banned” story 19 June 2016, claiming that these fees among others should be banned.

Which? Claims that, “Letting agents charge several ‘admin fees’ to cover costs, such as drawing up a tenancy agreement, inventories and checking references. This can be as much as £500 (or £300 outside London) per property.

“Given that landlords generally pay admin fees too, and that a comprehensive tenant check by a credit reference agency such as Experian costs only £30, it’s hard not to assume that some firms are simply profiteering.

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“We say: These fees transfer costs to tenants. Landlords already pay letting agents and can recoup this expense in the rent they charge.

“Some add-on charges are avoidable, but only if you know what to watch out for and are prepared to shop around.”

Despite the ban on agency fees for tenants in Scotland, it’s not been all plain sailing. According to the homelessness charity Shelter, some letting agents across Scotland are making illegal charges to prospective tenants who don’t know about the change in the law.

Tenants taking part in a Shelter survey were often unaware they did not have to pay these admin charges.

The law in Scotland now prohibits prospective tenants being charged fees on top of their deposit and rent in advance, whereas in England there is only a requirement for agents to prominently display their scale of fees and explain what they are for.

Shelter said most letting agents surveyed in Scotland now charged a pre-tenancy “premium”, in some cases up to £180.

“This is rip-off Scotland,” Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown told BBC Scotland.

“Just at a time when people are desperately trying to find a house and families are trying to build a home – and we know how difficult it is to get a house – people are being forced to find even more money.

“This is an illegal action being taken by letting agents.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. OK so when we talk fee it needs to be understood that fee are relative to work taken place and the service offered to both the landlord and the tenant. When you look at running cost of a letting agent the fees need to be charged its not a option it essential. Our agency only charges a fixed 10% plus vat to the landlords with NO set up costs or admin costs or any other costs at all. The tenants are only charged one fee £300 and a £35 admin fee for renewals nothing else. Again this makes it fair for all. We should not forget that tenants are our customers so our agency works for tenants and not just landlords. Our agency ensures the tenants and landlords both act in the correct manor and protects and advises both parties in the interest of a smooth and happy tenancy. Tenants have no issues paying for \”a service\” if the services is there for them, remember if you mistreat your tenants you will not have them to fill your landlords homes and landlords will not use your services. To much effort is made on keeping landlords happy and not looking after tenants. If you look after tenant they will look after your landlords. Understanding, care, communication is the key. In short fees are needed but as long as they are fair everyone can be happy. Charge but charge for a service.

  2. What a short sighted comment.
    \”The tenants are only charged one fee £300 and a £35 admin fee for renewals\”
    So £300 just to move into a property (I\’m sure you\’re not disclosing all the other \’fees\’ like most of you slimey parasites) and a guaranteed £35 every 6 months.

    You clearly don\’t understand the remit of millions of renters that want these fees removed.
    \”Again this makes it fair for all.\”
    Yes. The Landlords and Letting Agents.
    Those who get worked-over are the renters. All the rest of your points were a whole load of blah blah letting agent spin and guff. Irrelevant.

    In this information age with internet everywhere (advertising and websites) landlords don\’t need you leeches to advertise properties. And with a little effort and abundant communication lines (phone, post, mobile, email, internet, etc) can amply keep up the limited repertoire you people do in caring for renters.

    It\’s the odd rogue careless renter that trashes a property that you people use to prey on Landlords\’ fears and convince them they need a useless middle man like yourself.
    Too long have you people had a free ride – and – it\’s been socially accepted.

    Do us all a favour and save your empty pseudo-professionalism for your friends and family who love you.
    Nobody\’s buying it anymore.

    Shelter has proven ending fees works in Scotland.
    Thank you Which? Magazine and Landlord Zone for being progressive and evolving.
    If there is a housing crisis in the UK and more people are being forced into renting.
    —Then we must fix this ugly system to work FOR RENTERS, keep a neutral ground for Landlords and systematically remove ALL parasites and leeches that prevent/drain this system of money.

  3. Property Guru having a whinge about running costs of his letting agents being the reason for fees.
    Well maybe the cost should fall on the landlord?
    Renters are paying their mortgages for them.

    And if it\’s that expensive to run. Why don\’t we just ask the government for more centralised (tax payer funded) housing associations to fix the housing crisis?
    Put some of that EU excess to benefit millions.

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