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Letting agent fees

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Author Topic: Letting agent fees  (Read 76 times)
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« on: September 10, 2020, 04:38:58 PM »

Hi,

First time post.  I'm helping my son look for his first tenancy.  He received a tenancy application form from a letting agent which looks as if it was designed before the June 2019 ban on fees.  For example,

'Prior to beginning the application process, we request that you pay the first monthís rent which will reserve the property for you pending referencing.'
and

'Please sign below to confirm that you have paid the referencing fee and understand the above terms and conditions.'

As I understand it the holding deposit is now one week's rent and the agent is not allowed to charge a fee for referencing.  Are they allowed to ask for rent in advance at such an early stage?


 ???


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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2020, 04:58:34 PM »

Allowed to?

Possibly... because it wouldn't actually be that (up-front rent) here... IIRC... it would actually be a Holding Deposit, that is more than allowed... as you're correct on the Holding Deposit and Referencing fee aspects. With the introduction of the Referencing fees ban I don't mind asking for a Holding Deposit these days... it reassures me that the prospective Tenant is happy to put some skin in the game while I pay for their referencing... however, you can't ask for a sum equivalent to a month of rent... however, I suppose you could happily ask for rent up-front... that's just a question of timing at the end of the day.

Try to query the Agent without getting their backs up... hopefully it's not a hot property and plenty of others are willing to take (what I would perceive as) a risk.
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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2020, 05:27:28 PM »

Hi Hippogriff,

Thanks for that.  I may have reached the limit of the letting agent's patience.  When we viewed the property it did not have plumbing for a washing machine or a shower rail.  Later we got a call from the agent saying that the landlord had agreed to get the plumbing done and install a shower rail.  However, my wife remembered there was no stair rail or a letter box in the front door.  When I asked the agent if these could also be installed by the landlord they said no.  My son really likes the property so I asked for the landlord's permission to have a stair rail and letter box installed (by reputable tradespeople).  I am still waiting for a reply.

I've never rented a private property so this is a steep learning curve for me.  I appreciate that a landlord wants to minimise their outlay on a property but a stair rail is a safety feature required by the Building Regulations, and who doesn't have a letter box?

 ???
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2020, 05:36:46 PM »

You're not wrong... but (as you may be sensing yourself) there's a fine line between a set of reasonable requests and becoming some kind of trouble-maker who is more trouble than they're worth. Really liking the property sometimes isn't enough... the heart can rule to a certain extent... but engage your son's head to see that there are other options... I mean, that's what I would do, and have even when buying houses... it's not going to be your son's forever home or anything like that, this needs to be impressed upon him maybe? Some Landlords want to minimise their outlay, sure... others let good properties for a reasonable price and cherish good Tenants. If you suspect that isn't your prospective Landlord... then maybe time to expend efforts elsewhere.

At the very least... I would be not chasing the Agent at all... I would go quiet... and I would let them start to chase you... you can't be the one always chasing things up.
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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2020, 06:42:33 PM »

Thanks for your useful advice.  I'll let sleeping dogs lie for a while.
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2020, 07:18:04 PM »

Convince your son to look elsewhere. I can only see possible complaints and problem with this landlord/agent get worse.
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2020, 10:10:17 AM »

If you're buying a house I can easily see how you can end up in a situation where you "just must have it".

With renting, I find that much harder... unless there's literally nothing else around... it's just temporary accommodation and anything with problems like the ones highlighted here doesn't seem to be something anyone would (should?) have their heart set on. Possibly unless they're very young and / or naÔve or time-restricted / bored - which is what we possibly have here, and a calming influence may be very helpful in the long run.

As a Landlord - so from the other side - when I sense desperation in a prospective Tenant (or those times when a Tenant comes clean and tells me they're "desperate") - my Spidey Sense starts going mental and I become very suspicious... and my own personal experience tells me that I am often less likely to let to them. I suspect I'm not alone.

Softly softly catchee monkey. If you want to catch that monkey.
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« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2020, 11:42:57 AM »

Whatever it is about this place that your son likes so much,such features can surely be found elsewhere.Not having plumbing for a washer,no postbox etc.sounds a bit off to me.I would not be offering to pay for such changes myself.If this is his first year,he might drop out and land up back at home before you know it.(Ask me how I know!)
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