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Ban on Agent fees

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So I'm currently looking for a new flat to rent in Jan, having talked to a couple of estate agents recently they are all increasingly worried about the upcoming ban on agency letting fees, they consider that it could well put them out business. As far as I can see its only a good thing!

I am in a situation now where I have to choose between some flats, moving in January, some directly through landlord, some through agency. My question, as I can't seem to find an answer is WHEN is the ban taking place. This affects me as currently the direct option is more expensive on pure rent but I save on fees. But should the ban start from 1st of Jan then I have a lot more options (although the rent is probably more expensive with fees taken into account anway)

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1 hour ago, Travisher said:

With the vast number of BTL landlord MPs I think you will be waiting a long time. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

Yep, can't see the primrose hill champagne socialists or the Eton scumbags voting through anything to put em outa pocket...

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Is not the point though that lettings agents, or at least dodgy ones, are perceived to be ripping off both landlords and tenants? Regulate agents and you please both landlords and tenants.

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Even if a bill is put before Parliament and passed into an act, which could take much of this year, it is very unlikely to come into force immediately. There could well be another year to allow the sector to adjust to the idea. So in short you shouldn't be making any immediate plans based around it.

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At least you've got an agreement, in Wales they are still thinking about whether they should ban them at all!

I agree it should have been 1st Jan. Agents had notice from the autumn statement. That's more notice than they even give tenants before they start evicting them.

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I hope if they do ban/cap these fees they do it properly and not allow the fees to just be charged using a different name.

Just a quick look on Rightmove for rentals in Milton Keynes shows various Letting agents charging;

  • Tenancy Application fee (single or joint application) 
  • Credit check fee
  • Additional persons/guarantor fee per applicant above single or joint fee
  • Pet fee
  • Tenancy Contract fee (including tenancy renewals)
  • Periodic tenancy continuation fee (if no tenancy renewal)
  • Tenancy Check-Out fee
  • Reference fee

Personally, the only fees I pay are the initial ones like the admin and credit check fees, as you need these to get your foot in the door, but once I'm in I have always ignored any other  fees and its not been a problem (maybe one day it will catch up with me). But I know plenty of people who every 6 months pay £100+ because they got a letter saying they have to and they feel like if they don't they will be evicted - and who can blame them, these letters are usually written in a way that makes it seem like you will be.

The reference fee is particularly nasty as they know its needed if you are moving to another rental, and then a check out fee just to twist the knife ( imagine bringing back a car rental "Thanks for bringing back the car, now you owe us £50+VAT for bringing back the car")

I'm just surprised I haven't seen paid viewings - £15 a pop just so they know you seriously want the place.

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An agent near me, l think it's Beresford Adams, charges £60 extra if you check in on a Saturday rather than a weekday. That's on top of the £72 standard check in fee.

That's after the credit checks and £300 for the tenancy agreement. One flat I looked at with them the total fees assuming a Saturday check-in came to about £450 yet the rent was only £350 a month making the agent better paid than the landlord.

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Exactly, and add to that the list of similar fees they will be taking from the Landlord.

All this does is give them an incentive to churn through tenancies. Why go out of the way to make sure you have a peaceful long lasting rental when they know if you get fed up and move they get a nice little bonus.

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So I came across a flat I liked that was looked after by Romans estate agency. Check our their fees...

 

Tenancy Fees


All figures inclusive of VAT where applicable.

1. Reservation fee - £500 per property which is then deducted from the balance of money payable (e.g. Rent) 48 hours prior to the tenancy commencing

2. Security deposit - In most cases this is equal to one and a half months¿ rent

3. Standard Administration fee - £499 per property which includes one tenant reference. Each person added to the tenancy will result in an additional £199* 

3a. Student let administration fee - £300 inclusive of VAT per person. This fee is also inclusive of all guarantor referencing*

4. Room Let administration fee - £300 for sole occupancy*

 

5. Check in fee - The tenant is also responsible for the check in fee when using Romans¿ independent inventory supplier and are based on the size of the property and whether it is furnished or unfurnished, these range from £115-£234. These costs are applicable for properties that range from a Studio apartment to a 5 bedroom property. There may be occasions when this is not applicable but you will be made aware of this upfront. Please note that if you require to move in on a Saturday there will be an additional cost of £60

*These fees include immigration and visa confirmation, financial credit checks, obtaining reference from current or previous employer, previous or existing landlord. Contribution towards the setting up of the tenancy and the compilation and exchanging of the tenancy agreement

The following may also apply dependent upon your own individual circumstances:

 

1. Guarantor fee - £199

2. Express check-in fee - £144 when you want to move in within 5 working days

3. A new tenancy if you have a pet - 2 months¿ rent as a deposit is required instead of the standard deposit indicated above

4. Change of occupier / re-referencing after making advance payment £240

5. Change the start date of the Tenancy Agreement after paperwork has been sent out £36

6. Replacing lost inventory £36

7. Onward referencing £36

8. Return of overpaid rent at end of tenancy (if sent back independently to deposit return) £36

9. If cleaning, movement of furniture, garden maintenance or shopping for lost items are required after the end of the tenancy £36 per hour

10. Failure to check out of the property on the confirmed time and date (unless notice is given 48 hours beforehand) £144

11. Adding a pet to a current Tenancy Agreement £120 plus a half-month¿s top-up deposit

12. Rent reminder letter £15

13. Tenant lease extension £132

14. Failing to provide access to the property for a routine visit £60

15. Application to retract your tenancy notice £120

16. Early marketing charge £120

17. Interest of 3% above the Bank of England base rate payable from the date on which the rent was due until the date on which it is actually paid

18. Stamp Duty Land Tax ¿ payable on the tenancies where the rent exceeds £125000 please contact HMRC for further info

19. There is a surcharge of £1 for payments made by debit card or 3.5% surcharge for payments made by credit card

20. There is a surcharge of £4 for payments made by cheque for the Tenant lease extension fee

Romans is a part of the National Federation of Property Professionals Client Money Protection Scheme through their membership of ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents).

Romans are members of the Property Ombudsman being the largest lettings redress scheme in the UK.

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F king hell that list is insane. No.14 for one is technically illegal as well - the tenant has the final say under the law of who comes into their home; access is at their discretion so they cannot be fined for 'failing to provide it', horrible people.

I bet banks have been looking on jealously, wondering how EAs get away with charging all these fees!

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Doesn't surprise me that would be Romans, they are the only ones who have denied my application for a flat taking the best part of £600 in initial admin and reservations fees.

After paying the fees;

  • Romans:    You will need to prove you earn 30x the rent to get the flat
  • Me:             No problem, here are my self assessments going back a few years
  • Romans:    Oh you're self emloyed, we will need 6 months rent paid upfront, or a guarantor 
  • Me:            OK, I will pay 6 month up front.
  • Romans:    Actually you will need to pay 6 months up front AND have a guarantor
  • Me:            I have no one that fits your guarantor criteria
  • Romans:   Sorry application denied as we are not sure you can afford the flat
  • Me:            For the last 3 years my rent has been higher than this, I'll show you the statements
  • Romans:   ...

There are not many times in my life I have been as angry as I was in the office when I went down to see them.

This was maybe 3 years ago, not sure what its like now but at the time Romans must have had around ⅔ of the rentals on offer so going forward I barely had any choice.

Romans are my Foxtons.

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Reeds Rains, 2011, made me pay 6 months upfront AND pay an extra £50 to have my guarantor credit checked. What for when they got the cash anyway. Unfortunately I was naive back then, took me a further few years to realise I'd been conned.

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On 21/01/2017 at 9:11 PM, EnglishinWales said:

I successfully* told a LA that I didn't agree with their fees and that I'm not going to pay them. On the basis that the government has said they're going to ban them, I'm just bringing that forward. They get enough money from the landlord so if they want the place let, they had better waive their fees. This is NW London as well, so keep on bargaining hard guys.

* I ended up not taking the flat so it was all moot, but they agreed to my demands!

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13 hours ago, dkujsbap said:

I successfully* told a LA that I didn't agree with their fees and that I'm not going to pay them. On the basis that the government has said they're going to ban them, I'm just bringing that forward. They get enough money from the landlord so if they want the place let, they had better waive their fees. This is NW London as well, so keep on bargaining hard guys.

* I ended up not taking the flat so it was all moot, but they agreed to my demands!

That is impressive. Fees ban not even agreed in Wales yet but I'm seeing a fair few places saying no or half-priced fees in order to get the place let so it looks like it's coming in via the back door.

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I am moving down to London. I am still astounded at the kinds of fees that estate agents charge to tenants. Why can't I be the one who references myself with the referencing agency that is recommended by the agent? Then I can be the one to prepare my bank statements, employer reference and full reference and just hand it over to the agent. I will then also be able to use that said reference with another agent if this particular agent rejects me or just decides to go with someone else. 

I will be paying £480 in fees and also a further £25 from my old agent who I requested a reference from. 

Shame on London agents like this one https://www.aaronjbarclay.co.uk/fees 

£480 is my weeks wage. 

Bring on the fee ban.

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I am moving down to London. I am still astounded at the kinds of fees that estate agents charge to tenants. Why can't I be the one who references myself with the referencing agency that is recommended by the agent? Then I can be the one to prepare my bank statements, employer reference and full reference and just hand it over to the agent. I will then also be able to use that said reference with another agent if this particular agent rejects me or just decides to go with someone else. 

I will be paying £480 in fees and also a further £25 from my old agent who I requested a reference from. 

Shame on London agents like this one https://www.aaronjbarclay.co.uk/fees

£480 is my weeks wage. 

Bring on the fee ban.

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