Since 27th May 2015 it has been a legal requirement that all letting agents must publish full details of their fees and charges. Ours can be found here for Landlords and here for tenants. Letting agents must publish full details of their fees and charges on their websites and prominently display them in all their offices where they deal face to face with customers.
However, some letting agents’ websites do not make it easy for you to see the fees they are charging. Aside from the usual, expected, costs, there may also be other hidden charges that landlords and tenants may not be aware of. The description of what each fee covers and how it is calculated must be clear so you can understand the service and costs covered.
If a letting agent doesn’t show its fees or make them clear you can contact the local council who are responsible for enforcement with fines on the agent of up to £5,000.
Amy Andrew from This is Money spoke to experts at Shelter and easyProperty to find out more about fees so landlords and tenants have the information they need to avoid being overcharged letting agent’s fees. The full article on the Daily Mail website can be read here
We carried out some local research and were surprised by what we found. We typed into google “moston letting agent” and took a look at the first 20 agents website that appeared – we ignored zoopla, on the market, rightmove etc etc and just looked at the websites for our 19 most local competitors (we were the extra one)
Of the 20 agents operating in this area a staggering 13 of them, that’s 65%, have NOT published any of their fee’s on their website, despite it being a legal requirement and them being liable for a £5000 fine.
If an agent is not publishing their fee’s, as they have been told to do, are they being lazy, ignorant or are they wilfully ignoring the law?
Whichever the three scenario’s, would you be happy leaving your property in the hands of an agent who is guilty of any of the above sins? I wouldnt!
In terms of fee’s, we could obviously only take a small sample of data, as so many agents have chosen not to publish their fees. But of the 7 local agents we found, we first looked at their Let Only Fee’s.
To make the comparisons fair we added up all the additional costs lurking around so each agent was offering for a 2 bed property at £550pcm:
- Marketing & Advertising
- Tenant Find
- Tenant Referencing
- Deposit Collections and Protection
- Drawing Up Tenancy Agreement
- Move in Inventory
Our fee for this basic service is £300 inc VAT below are all the fee’s we found:
As you can see fee’s range from £300 upto £660 for this single service. We didn’t inflate figures or stretch ourselves down to London to try and shock, all these agents are operating within a couple of miles of our office and these are the fee’s they are charging you just for a simple Let Only Service.
Completing the same exercise for a managed property was a little more complex, but don’t worry, we did it for you.
Sadly when looking further into FULL fee’s we lost another four of our agents, pushing our total of non compliance to the law to a whopping 85% of local agents have no published full fee’s for their landlords.
How did we lose 4 more agents to make this 85%? They were not publishing FULL fee’s, its all good saying what your setup and your commission fee are, but why aren’t the agents publishing their routine maintenance costs, gas safety, epc, electrical inspections etc? How can a landlord compare like with like, when there is so much secrecy?
Again, ask yourself why aren’t these agents publishing their fees? Is it ignorance of their legal obligations? Is it that they don’t want you to know their fees? Or is it simply that they cannot be bothered to update their website? Whatever the reason, do you want to work with these agents who are either lazy, ignorant or downright unlawful?
Our four remaining agents now went head to head with each other looking at total expected fee’s over the course of 12 months on a 2 bed property fetching £550pcm and having all its annual checks. here are our overall results:
There isnt a great difference between the 3 agents in terms of costing over the year, the difference in rates is about 9% – but thats only from the 3 agents out of 20 who actually published full rates, in accordance with the law. If we get the time to snoop around further it would be really interesting to find out what the real variety in fees is around Moston and East Manchester.
We obviously cannot publish the names of the agents who are not complying to legal requirements and any updates we receive we will endeavour to use to keep this information accurate.
What are your thoughts on this?