Generation Rent beefs up calls to have letting agent fees abolished

Generation Rent is strengthening its calls for letting agent fees charged to tenants to be abolished in their entirety.

After researching 718 agents, it says it could not find any fees published anywhere for 99 of them, and that one third did not publish fees on their websites – as required by law.

Generation Rent’s Letting Fees website is now reporting on letting agent fees in ten locations. Eight are London boroughs, with the other being Manchester and York.

It names a firm called Skampi in the London borough of Tower Hamlets as charging the highest fees, at £780.

It says the average is £385.

A further five areas are now being researched.

Generation Rent says that its new report makes out the full case for banning letting agent fees “in their entirety”.

Generation Rent says: “Handing over hundreds of pounds is a huge barrier to moving – tenants just won’t move out of a grotty flat or will accept a rent rise because they don’t have the money for letting fees.

“If these were abolished we’d have a much more efficient lettings market and tenants would feel a lot more confident demanding repairs and negotiating rent.

“The fees would have to be borne by the landlords, but because they can choose the letting agent they use, letting agents won’t be able to get away with overcharging, so the impact on rent (if any) would be minimised.”

It asks its supporters to sign the ‘ban fees’ petition launched by young women’s consumer website The Debrief, which yesterday was nearing 250,000 signatures.

Generation Rent director Betsy Dillner said: “Competition for homes is fierce, so tenants aren’t in a position to avoid paying letting fees, and agents often charge what they like.

“If tenant fees were banned, agents could start competing properly for business, and tenants wouldn’t have to dip into their savings to be able to move home.

“This project draws on the energy and enthusiasm of our volunteers and their hunger for a better deal from the rip-off lettings market.”

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11 Comments

  1. Fred Jones

    When will they learn, Every time they hit out at landlords and or agents the price of rents goes up?
    If they take away agents fees of tenants, agents will have to charge landlord to afford to be able to operate. If landlord have to pay more then tenants will have to pay more, its like “out of the frying pan into the fire”.
    A better solution would be to cap the amount that agent can charge, this way agents can earn a living and tenants won’t have to pay the earth.
     
    At this present time the only thing that is wrong with the system, are the tight fist greedy agents that are ******** people in every and anyway they can.

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  2. mrharvey

    616 out of 718 are compliant… surprisingly HIGH level of legal compliance in my view!

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  3. fluter

    I agree fees should be capped to a sensible commercial level but I really do not understand why some people (manly tenants themselves no doubt) feel tenants should not have to pay for the service they choose to use. Please explain

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    1. Russell Williams

      Agents were given the chance to detail the fees charged, so that when a tenant is searching for a property, if they see the same property, or very similar properties, listed with more than one agent, the tenant can choose who to go with, based on what they’re going to be charged.  The same as what you would probably do with any purchase.

      But, most agents decided to ignore the law and not bother detailing their fees upfront.  And, from personal experience, if you ask an agent what their fees are, quite often they don’t know and will ‘have to get back to you’!

      If fees were instead wrapped into the rent, yes, rents would be more, but tenants would be paying a set amount each month and would not have to pay what they see as a huge fee, for not a lot of work, at the start of a tenancy.  It’s the huge ‘forking out’ in one go that is probably most of the issue.

      Basically, if we’d all done what is legally required of us, tenants would be able to make more informed decisions, wouldn’t see us all as dishonest sharks and we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in now.

      It’s not rocket science, but from listening to half the groans on here you’d think it is.

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  4. Will

    If we are always going to have extreme views such as that by generation rent I vote we ban generation rent! Having said that why is the legislation on advertising fees not being enforced?  I do not support excessive fees and it never ceases to surprise me how certain well know firms who charge excessive fees and are up to all the tricks and regularly in the media still manage to thrive!

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  5. markbrev

    Yet another childish whine from Generation Rent. If I choose to apply to buy mt home the bank or building society will charge me an application fee of up to 3.5% of the mortgage balance which is generally a damn site more than the £780 that they found was the most expensive rental application.

    Grow up and join the real world.

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    1. Russell Williams

      If you had a choice of banks to go to, but none of them detailed their fees, you’d be pretty peed off though, wouldn’t you?

      And then, when you found out you could have secured a better deal elsewhere, you’d probably argue that disclosure of fees should be a legal requirement.

      But then, once the disclosure of fees is made a legal requirement, but you find out the banks are simply not bothering to do so, I’m pretty sure that fact would lead many people to get quite angry – and possibly lead onto the fees being banned.

      In short, if all agents had followed the legislation – and put the fees on their portal ads too – tenants would have a more informed choice and I don’t think we’d be in this situation.  So, it’s the **** agents and the failure of enforcement that I think are to blame.

       

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  6. Mark Connelly

    The fees I pay my managing agents totally dwarf anything that my tenants pay. Funny how its only the tenants that complain about fees. I accept that if I want a fully managed service, then there is a cost.

    Time Generation rent grew up and displayed a modicum of pragmatism.

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  7. jeremy1960

    This is really getting quite tiresome now!

    Yes there is legislation and yes every agent should be complying but if they are not what stops these folk just asking what the fees are? If they don’t like it go elsewhere and yes report the agent whatever but, as agents we do not sit on our arses all day doing nothing – this morning as an example: –

    * 10.30 viewing appointment 1/2 mile from office, appointment made yesterday afternoon and confirmed by email. Viewer didn’t turn up, member of staff waited 10 minutes then telephoned the viewer – mobile straight to answer machine – 40 minutes of staff paid time wasted.

    * 11.00 viewing appointment, member of staff chose to phone before leaving last aborted appointment to check all is well rather than wasting a miles’ drive and time. Viewer answered phone – they meant to phone but forgot, they are running an hour late – can we wait for them???

    * 11.30 viewing appointment – made at 09.30 this morning in our office face to face – viewer simply didn’t turn up.

    Net result – I have paid a member of staff for 2 hours, they have achieved nothing at all apart from wasting time and petrol which incidentally I also pay for!

    Now put the boot on the other foot, if we had failed to turn up the viewer would be slagging us off to all and sundry!

    So Mr (or Mrs) Generation Rent, get real! There are costs attached to running my business effectively and efficiently for which someone has to pay, I am not a charity nor do I have bottomless pockets! Before you start demanding the impossible – working for free – ask yourselves – do you get paid for your time? Would you work for free and absorb costs?

    There are plenty of dodgy landlords and maybe agents who advertise on gumtree et al, go to them don’t pay any fees but don’t come crying when the dodgy landlord/agent turns out to be bogus and has “let” your flat to 10 people and run off with 10 deposits or refuses to answer your calls when the heating doesn’t work properly or you’ve broken a nail and haven’t the common sense to sort it yourself!

    If you think it’s such a good idea not to pay for goods and service try this: – drive your car onto a forecourt, fill it up with diesel and then drive away – see how far you get and try the argument “I don’t agree with the price of your fuel!” I’m sure that the police will be so sympathetic!

     

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    1. MarkRowe

      This comment is spot on in every way, well said.

      I refer to a roundtable debate on tenant fees in which I seem to remember generation rent sending along a fairly inexperienced guy to justify their point of abolishing tenant admin fees. He simply didn’t understand the concept of running a business and that its called ‘Private Rented’ not Government run or ‘Free to Use’.

      Why do we have a ‘Generation’ of young people expecting everything to be handed to them for free!? I urge Generation Rent to read the comment above by @jeremy1960.

      If anyone from GR is reading this, I would also like to ask why you are promoting a complete ban on tenants admin fees? It would make more sense to promote a cap, surely?

      My guess is that it doesn’t quite have the impact that banning them completely has though, does it? 😉

       

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  8. smile please

    I am close to saying, give them what they want!

    Lets charge them cost price for referencing.

    Lets also charge them for an hourly rate. So viewings, Telephone calls, letters are all charged at £150 per hour. As in line with other similar professions. Of course we round up like solicitors, barristers and financial advisers do.

    So setting up a tenancy i would guess including viewings, telephone calls and paperwork £600 plus VAT.

    We will also charge them an hourly rate when they want a light bulb changed or forgotten a key during the course of the tenancy.

    We can also take payment for viewings on applicants that do not want the property or miss out.

    I think the above is much fairer for all, as tenants know the costs and agents are still getting a wage.

    What do generation rent and shelter think? shall we do it? or would you like us to keep it how it is now?

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