The subject of tenants’ fees charged by agents was aired yesterday on Twitter – but turned out to be based on something of a misunderstanding.
It started with an angry Ed Mead complaining that an agent in Bristol, Ocean, was apparently planning to charge £300 to reference one tenant.
Mead complained that the charge “has no place in a modern lettings business” and said the real cost would be around £45.
Henry Pryor followed up by saying: “HOW MUCH?”
He said that this sort of charge was responsible for the ban.
Mead went on to tweet that another agent had emailed him to say they could do the referencing for £20 inside 24 hours.
A clearly angry Mead said: “A £360 charge to my daughter is simply outrageous.”
Pryor tweeted to ARLA: “What’s your view of one of your members charging £300 plus VAT to reference a single tenant? Is there a level you would condemn?”
In fact, there was a confusion between referencing and admin.
Pryor then went on to post up Ocean’s fees, saying “they’d make Dick Turpin blush!”
The fees tariff confirms that charges include an admin fee of 42% including VAT of the first month’s rent, subject to a minimum fee of £360 including VAT.
Pryor returned to the fray shortly after, by posting up Romans’ tenant fees – £499 including VAT for an admin fee per property, including one tenant’s reference. Pryor commented: “Blimey, looks like Romans know how to charge”, and wondered if anyone else could top that.
The thread finished with Pryor taking ARLA to task for not saying what it thought constituted an excessive fee.
Mead however told EYE that Ocean had initially put in its email that the charge would be £360 including VAT for a reference, but then said it was the admin fee for a change of tenant. The charge seems in line with a number of other agents’ admin charges to tenants.