Petition calls on housing minister to ban letting agent fees

A new petition has been launched, calling on housing minister Brandon Lewis to ban letting agency fees.

It has been launched by journalist Vicky Spratt, who says she has been renting for nine years, during which time she has handed over £2,000 in letting agent fees.

“This is money I’ll never get back.

“It turns out renting is a lucrative business if you’re on the right side of it – which I’m not.”

She says she has paid anywhere between £80 and £552 in fees.

“It’s a rip-off and the agents are getting away with it, all the way to the bank.”

She adds: “The legislation needs to change and reflect the reality of our society now – we are becoming not just a generation but a nation of renters and the system is stacked against us.

“Renting is the new normal but the market in England is broken.”

Spratt is features editor of The Debrief, whose target readers are young women in their 20s, who care about fashion, celebrities – and politics.

She launched the petition four days ago and by this morning it had over 1,100 supporters.

14 Comments

  1. surreymac

    Anything else Vicky. How about not paying for your shoes. Maybe your accountant is a rip off and they should be free as well. Grow up. There are lots of things that I would love not to pay for either. Wait until you buy your first house and have to pay stamp duty then you will really know what being ripped off feels like.

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  2. Typhoon

    Perhaps Miss Spratt would like to come and see the salary bill required to run a professional lettings agency. And also the legislation to be complied with.

    Who does she think would do all the work needed for free? I wonder what she does for a living. I assume she gets paid as a result of the income her company generates. Maybe if she thinks there is vast profits to be earned by being  a lettings agent she should become she might one day become a landlord or homeowner.

     

    The property industry is being attacked from all sides with inferences that it can all be done for pennies. Selling or letting one’s property is probably the most expensive and important transaction conducted by the majority. Getting it wrong by using untried models,untrained staff ignorant of the detail and leaving the consumer alone once they have taken their fee,is a recipe for disaster for those unsuspecting consumers.

     

    It is a well known fact that ” disrupters” as they are called, enter industries with great theories of how it all can be done differently or cheaply. Most of these theories don’t work and are discarded or changed,leaving the consumers in a mess. This  happens in so many industries and it’s exactly what is happening now in the property world.

    There  will be many casualties along the way and some will have been subjected to losses and heartache that are not reversible.

    What is immensely disappointing is that the Industry’s governing body NFOPP accredits these disrupters further confusing the public into believing the are legitimate organisations safe to do business with. So too do the Property Ombudsman and the main portals. No wonder some of the public will fall into the wrong hands.

    It is likely that the in-boxes of complaints for the PO and NFOPP will swell in months to come.

     

     

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  3. smile please

    £2000 in nine years which has included multiple moves.

    I am guess over the last 9 years in moving with stamp duty and solicitor fees I have paid in excess of £40,000 this is money I will not see again. It seems property is very profitable for some.

    I am calling for a ban on Stamp Duty and solicitor fees.

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  4. MarkRowe

    It would just be nice, for once, that anyone wishing to ‘ban’ letting agents fees looks at a capping option rather than trying to ban them all together – you really don’t realise the implications of lost revenue on industry.

    I agree that some letting agents, a high majority in London perhaps and large corporate agencies across the country can charge extortionate fees. However, I feel this constant barrage of ‘all estate/letting agents are the same’ is unjustified.

    Vicky are you aware that my profit margin isn’t huge? Are you aware that rightmove charge extortionate membership fees to advertise my clients properties to the tenants and buyers out there, so that you get to know what is available to rent? Vicky, did you also know that rightmove make a 70% + profit margin? Some of things you probably didn’t know and that’s expected, and it’s probably not top of your priority list. However, please consider ALL the facts surrounding why fees are in place, It’s not all about the cheap credit check that you quote. Contrary to popular belief, we are trying to make a living, the same as you. Yes, I believe there should be a cap, but not a complete ban, it’s a free market place.

    Take a good look at the corporate world of where the money is going to, the route it takes from your pocket to the very top and then work to campaign to lower that top level. You may then see a difference.

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  5. NOEL

    Well said Mark Rowe. I was going to post but you said exactly what I was thinking.

     

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  6. sanjeev

    She must like working for free then.

     

    Fact – why don’t you look at the fees you have paid and ask your agent what this money has been spend on. I think you would be very surprised the time and effort most letting agents take in doing the job correctly.

     

    fact – all fees are displayed by any professional agent of costs. So you would have been fully aware of any monies to be paid from the off.

     

    plesse change the record. As this is now really getting boring. I would focus more on you own career then trying to tell the professional how to do there’s.

    If you don’t understand the industry or how it is ran then I would insure you always get the full facts before trying to make any form of petition. A little knowledge is very dangerous.

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  7. RyanWoolfenden93

    I’m pretty sure they tried this in Scotland and as a consequence rents increased meaning tenants were worse off?

    I just feel like banging my head against a wall when I see these campaigns and all those who have commented thus far have made excellent points.

    Lettings is a “lucrative business” – perhaps the most stupid comment I’ve heard for a long time. Isn’t the point of business to be profit making or am I missing something?! As Mark pointed out my margins are less than half of RM’s so it’s certainly not as lucrative as their business!!

    I’m actually one of the few agencies (locally at least) to not charge renewal fees or checkout fees as I don’t want to extort tenants and simply wish for them to look after the property and pay their rent but ultimately I don’t think any business should be told what and who they can charge.

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  8. mrharvey

    A very well reasoned and thoughtfully argued stance from Vicky Spratt, who rightly points out that spent money cannot be spent again, and that she should only have to spend money on what she wants, not what she needs.

    I for one will be signing this petition. I urge anyone who doesn’t want to pay money for things they don’t want to pay money for should sign it, too.

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    1. Mark Connelly

      mr Harvey. You can’t do sarcasm in posts/blogs. Doesn’t work as you can see from your dislikes . Some will read it and take what you say literally.

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      1. mrharvey

        12 Dislikes. Congratulations, all. You all utterly missed the point.

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  9. docklander52

    Agreed. I have informed HMRC that, as tax and PAYE are monies spent that I will never get back, I shall no longer being paying them. And council tax, and car insurance. Actually, I don’t know why I did not think of this sooner.

    Is there a letter “A” missing in Vickys name? Guess where it goes……

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  10. smile please

    Okay to put it into perspective further …

    She has paid just *£18.50 per month to rent from a reputable letting agent which means her deposit is safe, the property is compliant with gas safety, electrics are not dangerous, property is insured and have access to property professionals who can sort issues for her if needed. Plus a secure in the knowledge she has a fixed term lease and that she has a inventory to fall back on if issues when leaving the property and if not she has access to a redress scheme.

    * £2000 divided by 108 months (nine years)n = £18.50 pm

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  11. femaleagent88

    So you want agents to do work and not get paid? Well will see how long that last when letting agents start closing down. I think fees should be regulated yes, but banned no! buyers pay fees for services, like be financially qualified (tenants get referenced) and pay for solicitors to deal with the contracts and send their money to correct place (tenants sign an agreement and have deposit funds sent to a protected scheme) no one does work for free but agents are constantly under fire and when these people go and pay next to nothing they have terrible experiences or are unprotected and they wonder why!

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  12. eggnogs62

    Say goodbye to your greed inspired business and your team of 18 year old ‘agents’ with a couple of NVQs.

    This petition has now generated over 250,000 signatures and has been featured on BBC.

    It will be debated and at the very least there will be some form of regulation.

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