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Letting agents "administration fees": Money for nothing!

(9 Posts)
unavailable Wed 28-Oct-09 20:59:11

When we relocated and decided to rent it felt we were being ripped off for admin fees and credit checks etc, but I thought it would be a one off.

But no, why should they stop when they are onto a good thing? We have just had a letter saying if we want to renew the lease for a further 6 months, they want £100 off us for "our share of the administration costs". What costs would those be then - changing the date on the contract? photocopies? Nothing has changed, and any admin will be done in about 2 minutes.

Its not the money so much as the feeling I am being taken for a mug. I will question it, as far as I can tell there are no rules regulating what letting agents can charge. If anyone could give me some ammunition, I'd be grateful.

LissyGlitter Wed 28-Oct-09 21:17:50

Letting agents DO MY HEAD IN. Does anyone know how much it actually costs to run a credit check? Because it can't be anywhere near as much as they charge, even if you include the time of their staff. Do they take money off the owner of the house too?

ABatDead Wed 28-Oct-09 21:32:33

Letting agents have to cover their overheads so they have to charge fees far above the actual marginal cost of the document production. The cost of a credit check is very low indeed. They can do it from their office computer in a few minutes if they have an account with Experian and Equifax for a relativley small fee.

I have rented for 25 years and avoid this by signing up for long leases 2 - 4 years at a time or negotiate up front on fees before signing the lease.

ampere Fri 30-Oct-09 09:04:34

It has long been a bugbear of mine. In fact, I strongly believe that if many of the folks who rushed headlong into unaffordable house purchases had instead campaigned for a better deal from private tenants, a) the credit crunch may not have happened, b) tenants wouldn't have, in the most part, exactly 60 days security of tenure and c) we wouldn't be swamped by all these incompetent amateur landlords.

Our credit checks here took precisely 3 minutes (I sat there whilst it was done) and cost us £240...

I am SO GLAD - though this won't help you!- that we are about to buy again.

FWIW, Do challenge it- possibly with a threat that you won't continue renting this property if they persist in this extortion?

Longer term leases might be the way to go BUT it's perfectly possible YOU don't want to tie yourself down or the owner doesn't want to commitment.

scaryteacher Fri 30-Oct-09 13:33:30

Yes, they do also charge the landlords. When my tenats changed it was in excess of £700 for finding new tenants, the inventory, and the tenancy agreement. I presumed that they didn't then charge the tenants as well.

LissyGlitter Fri 30-Oct-09 13:52:32

scary nope, it would seem pretty standard for tenants to be charged around the same as a months rent in fees, often just to apply for a house - ie you could be turned down and lose your money. Shared tenancies are even worse, as often the fees are per person.

HerHonesty Sat 31-Oct-09 08:46:37

I'm an amateur landlord. used an agency once and never again, mainly because i really didnt like the way they overcharged me, my tenants, and most importantly gave my tenants are completely crap level of service when anything went wrong. I felt a complete mug shelling out money month after month for such a poor situation which i couldnt do very much about.

I have my own suppliers/gas/electricity man etc who visit the properties i rent within 24 hours. with the letting agents it was taking weeks to get anything fixed, at 3 or 4 times the cost i could do it for. unsuprisingly, unhappy tenants who left after 12 months. Doing it on my own i have never had tenants for less than 2.5 years, and actually, most of them have remained friends afterwards.

goldenpeach Sat 31-Oct-09 19:20:55

We were asked to pay for renewal, we left it to run on and paid zilch. Still, the landlord has to give us two months' notice and we one, so it's not a bad idea.

unavailable Mon 02-Nov-09 17:20:02

Thanks for your views.

I spoke with the agents today to ask them exactly what the "administration costs" were and asked for the costs to be itemised. They reluctantly agreed, albeit after getting a bit arsey. They also told me the landlord has to pay them as well - on top of the considerable monthly percentage of the rent they take. If I knew the landlords new address I would contact them directly, as I am sure we would both be better of dealing with each other directly.

I suspect we will have to cough up in the end, but it makes me feel better about paying if I make a nuisance of myself first.

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