If there’s one thing that is likely to infuriate many tenants and would-be tenants, it’s the idea of letting fees on properties. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that the presence of these fees is a blight on the reputation of letting agents altogether. As a new company, we have already made it our policy not to charge letting fees to tenants. It’s our belief that this allows greater inclusivity within the letting market, and research seems to prove us right.
Research by Shelter in their report “End letting fees: Lessons from the Scottish lettings market” demonstrated the dire situation renters in England often find themselves in. The report discovered that renters south of the border pay an average of £300 each in fees, with 1 in 7 paying £500 or more. Letting fees are seen to have little or no bearing on actual costs, particularly when it appears that the landlord and the tenant are being charged for the same thing. There’s also an issue of transparency – some renters still don’t know what they’ll be paying in fees before agreeing to take the property.
As you can imagine, this leads to tenants becoming frustrated and, in some cases, inexorably trapped in other properties. Indeed, 23% of respondents missed out on homes because of high fees and 60% admit to being worried about the high cost of letting fees whenever they had to move. Short-term lets and uncertainty are a product of modern life and letting fees add to the problem of chronic debt. 1 in 4 respondents admitted to having to borrow money to pay for fees. The perpetual circle of debt that many renters fall into is exacerbated by letting fees, and that was one of the reasons for our decision not to charge them.
It seems the government has listened to the concerns of Shelter and other loud voices within the sector. In April, they published proposals to ban unfair letting fees, amongst other measures. This will go some way to removing the number of agencies across England that give our sector a bad reputation.
At Brunel Estate Agents, we’re delighted to hear this. The problem with a few rogues in our midst is that, inevitably, we all get tarnished with the same brush. Yes, we’re happy that we made our personal decision to remove letting fees before these proposals came into force, but we’re not precious. We know that there are numerous other measures by which we can prove that our focus is on excellent customer service and satisfaction.
Don’t take our word for it – find your next property with us and experience it for yourself.