Online agent defends claims that landlords back the tenant fee ban

OpenRent has defended the data in a poll it commissioned, and which was used by a peer in a House of Lords debate last week to suggest that most landlords are in favour of the tenant fee ban.

However, just 148 landlords were included in the poll – a fraction of the numbers of tenants who took part, and far smaller than the numbers of members of the public who were neither tenants nor landlords.

Speaking during the second reading of the Tenant Fees Bill in the House of Lords last week, Baroness Grender highlighted the OpenRent research showing that the majority of landlords support the tenant fee ban, despite industry concern that it will lead to increased costs for them.

Baroness Grender said: “The general public and tenants are overwhelmingly in support of the Bill and this change at 70% and 81% respectively, but the most compelling part of the survey is that 64% of landlords also support this policy.”

She went on to criticise letting agents, saying: “That begs the question: why are those who represent landlords lobbying against this Bill when most landlords want to do the right thing?”

However, on closer inspection of the survey, seen by EYE, just 148, or 7%, of the respondents to its YouGov poll were actually landlords, 651 were tenants and 1,285 were members of the public.

Sam Hurst, spokesman for OpenRent, told EYE that Baroness Grender’s summary of the data was fair, adding: “The survey was run by a reputable, independent and widely used company in YouGov, using an accepted methodology that generates many of the inferential statistical headlines that we all read in the news every day.”

The question and responses are below:

The Government is considering making it illegal for landlords & letting agents to charge tenants any fees as a condition of renting a property. This includes referencing fees, admin fees, agency fees, holding fees, contract fees, etc. Tenants can still be asked for a refundable tenancy deposit, a refundable holding deposit and landlords/ agents will still be able to charge reasonable ‘default’ fees (e.g. paying £5 to replace a lost key) if they can show that they cost money (e.g. by producing a receipt).  After reading this, would you say you support or oppose this plan to ban tenant fees? “
Rented out a property as a landlord Rented a property as a tenant Neither of these
Base: All GB adults 148 651 1285
Strongly support 24% 58% 34%
Tend to support 40% 23% 32%
Tend to oppose 13% 7% 8%
Strongly oppose 15% 3% 4%
Don’t know 7% 10% 22%
Net: Support 64% 81% 66%
Net: Oppose 29% 9% 12%

 

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12 Comments

  1. Breckland Agent

    Let’s see if LL really do back the ban when their management charges and initial set up costs increase to cover our outlay / investment of time, finding suitable tenants, on their behalf.

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  2. Woodhen

    How can you simply increase landlord fees….you have a contract and competitors…there will be a queue of agents lining up to take over your business if Landlords refuse to pay increases

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    1. CountryLass

      And as I suspect many of the ones who will either reduce their service or are ones who currently make tenants pay through the nose, I’m not to bothered about taking their properties when they become empty and try to charge outrageous fees to the Landlord.

       

      Personally, I don’t charge outrageous sums, without the VAT I charge £166.67 for 2 people. This includes a (clearly stated) contribution towards the Inventory and administration. As the Inventory itself can take me about 2 hours at the house, not including travelling time and checking it when I get back to the office, I think those costs are quote reasonable!

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  3. jackoTLG

    Laughable ‘landlord’ survey they should be embarrassed

    if they actually had a relationship with their landlords they would get some real data

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  4. JMK

    Speaking as a landlord I simply don’t believe these numbers.

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  5. Will

    The use of a single very narrow  and tiny sample has no value when making such important decisions/legislation particularly when run a a single company with a vested interest in one particular part of the market.  To use such statistics in important decision making looks very manipulative and not worthy of use in a democratic process.  Might of well carried out a straw poll in the local pub at the end of a  long drinking session by a group of shelter employees!  As a property professional and a landlord who self manages I would now certainly steer clear of OpenRent.   Baroness Grender has little or no credibility if she is solely relying on this small poll to base her opinions.

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  6. WiltsAgent

    Politician twists a report to suit them Meanwhile in other news, Bear takes poo in woods.

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  7. bren_gun

    It appears my earlier comments about Openrent failed the moderator test but PIE ran a recent story about their failure to display regulatory infomation: https://www.propertyindustryeye.com/online-agent-defends-failure-to-display-epc-ratings-on-rightmove-listings/

    Happy to supply evidence that they have marketed properties in breach of copyright, just ask for details

    I admit a cannot supply evidence that they rent properties in breach of The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 but I have been to a property where this was the case.

    Hopefully sufficiently bland to pass moderation now 🙂

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  8. qweasdzxc

    As a landlord who doesn’t use an agent (my family has only had bad experiences with various agents), I am happy with the ban.

    Once the ban is in place, agents will charge the landlords instead of the tenants. Landlords will raise the rents to cover the new fees, probably over a 6 month period by £20/month/person . The Tenant Fee Ban Bill bans the landlord from decreasing the rent after the referencing etc costs have been recovered so there will be increased profit for the landlord. As I don’t charge tenants any fees, if I apply this rent increase it will all be profit for me.

    I use 6 months as the recovery period as many tenancies are already this length and the government’s consultation on 3 year tenancies is suggesting a 6 month break clause. £20/month/person is based on CountryLass’s figure of £200 (inc VAT) for 2 people. For more unscrupulous agents, this figure is likely to be higher.

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  9. Beano200062

    In other news 90% of people I asked would like government to legislate to curb overcharging by Legal professionals, particularly when people are in a vulnerable state (family law, divorce, criminal law etc).

     

     

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  10. 70GJ

    OpenRent serve a market for well informed professional landlords who are prepared to do some leg work themselves. I have to say I find their service superb.

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  11. bren_gun

    They also serve a market for those looking to save money and cut corners!

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