At the moment if you go to rent a property from a letting agent you will have been told about the fees, however, there are always more fees and often these fees are for stupid things.
Liberal Democrat Baroness Grender has introduced The Renters’ Rights Bill which will ideally ban letting agents’ fees and publish a public list of criminal landlords.
Some examples of ridiculous fees letting agents have charged in the past:
- £7.50 to collect the property keys from the letting agent
- £5 photocopying fees for things they insist need photocopying
- £30-£50 because you’re not married
- £90 extra because you’re moving in on a Sunday
- £350 for paperwork full of errors
Baroness Grender said:
“We think they’re prohibitive, they’re a rip-off, they’re an upfront fee which is really hard, especially when tenants are moving.
“People who rent have to move much more often than people who buy,”
Jeremy Leaf, former chairman of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors said:
The fees have got to come out in the wash somehow – you can’t expect someone to administer for nothing.
I’d like to see caps on fees or more transparency on fees.
But banning them altogether could mean the costs are passed on to tenants, who could end up paying even more than they do at present
Betsy Dillner, director of Generation Rent, said:
She said: “Landlords who are putting up rents are just excited that they can blame something other than their own greed.
“Speculation in the property market has pushed prices out of the reach of ordinary people, diverted capital away from productive parts of the economy, and stifled living standards – especially for those of us stuck paying expensive rents.
“Pulling the plug on landlord incentives is an essential step towards a stronger economy and a healthier housing market.”
The full bill is readable on Parliament UK website but here are the main points:
- Allow tenants to have access to a database of ‘rogue’ landlords and estate agents, so they know who to avoid when searching for a new flat. Local housing authorities already have access to this database, so Lady Grender suggests it’s only fair that tenants are allowed access to it too so they can avoid being ripped off.
- Scrap agency fees for tenants. This will mean that estate agents won’t be able to charge tenants fees for admin, registration, inventory checks, reference checks, tenancy renewals and exit fees. Any fees incurred should instead be covered by landlords, which will prevent agencies from making up charges as they go along for things like photocopying and ‘check-out’ charges.
- Mandatory safety checks. There must be a safety check at least every five years to ensure renters are living in a safe environment. Makes sense!
- Prevent dodgy landlords from renting HMOs. House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are privately let properties with tenants living there from two or more different families (so most commonly the case with student digs). The Bill proposes that any ‘criminal’ landlords should be banned from being able to have an HMO licence.
Will this actually happen?
A total ban is unlikely in our opinion but having a cap makes perfect sense but we still fear the fees will be hidden inside extra charges inside the monthly rental amount.
The Renters’ Rights Bill still has to pass through various stages of discussion and amendments before it is finally considered to be part of UK law, however, it may not pass at all meaning we will continue in the current state.1 comment