Letting agency fees have come under the political spotlight recently, on the 13th May 2014 Deputy PM Nick Clegg faced calls from Harriet Harmen MP to back the Labour party's call to ban all letting agents from charging tenants fees. The calls on Clegg to back the motion, were after the coalition defeated a vote in the House of Commons, to ban letting agents from charging both landlords and tenants for the same thing. Calls have been growing for something to be done about letting agents fees from charities like Shelter saying that letting fees are out of control and that action is needed. The consumer group Which believes that letting agents are not being upfront with customers, about the fees they are charging.
The coalition announced yesterday that it is taking action on letting agent fees, saying that customers should be able to shop around letting agencies and find one that doesn't charge excessive fees. Cardiff MP Jenny Willott has announced that there would be changes made to the Consumer Rights Bill to allow tenants to get a "fair deal" from the plans and an improved complaints and redress system set up to address any failures in this. Labour are still pushing for an outright ban on letting agent fees like they have in Scotland, but Consumer Affairs Minister Jenny Willott MP rejected these calls claiming that any ban would just have a knock on effect to tenants. Jenny Willott claimed that landlords would have to put up the rent on their property to cover costs passed on from letting agencies to cover costs. The hope is that by forcing all agents to publish their fees there will be greater transparency in the market and tenants and landlord won't be both charged for the same thing.
At Pinnacle Letting Agency we already publish our fees on our website and aim to be as helpful and as transparent a company as possible. The only fee that a tenant will have to pay after the deposit,credit check and first months rent is an administration fee.This covers the cost of:
1) The viewing stage - taking tenants to as many houses as they want to see as many times as they want to see them.
2) The negotiation stage - once they have found a house they love, we will take the time to liaise with the Landlord to try to get them any items on your wish-list put into the contract.
3) The paperwork stage - This covers things like printing off all paperwork , obtaining relevant information (like guarantor information, setting up standing orders and gaining information for credit checks), processing and creating tenancy contracts.
4) The signing stage - once all paperwork has been given out the prospective tenant will need to come back within 10 days to sign the contract and pay the deposits. We will talk them through the contract and explain where they need to sign.
We have found that by being ahead of the rest of the industry by publishing our fees and being as transparent as possible our tenants and prospective tenants appreciate this.