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Letting Agent Fees


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I am going to use a LA's tenant Finding Service on my second property.

Their fees are (inc Vat)

6 mths AST £420

12 mths AST £840

Extension fee when existing tenant re-signs £114

Rent Review fee £30

The monthly target rent is £650 to £695

They will find the tenant, credit check, and sort the AST.

As I privately let my other property this is the first time I have used a LA. Do these fees seem reasonable?

They have a clause Im going to argue which is that they will switch the elec and gas to Spark Elec.


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For 'find only' I've paid a 1/2 months rent and a full months rent to 2 different A's.

I was sure to state by email that there would be no other charges and no further 'tie in' responsibilities, payment due on a successful 'find'.

The principle was a one off arrangement for each tenancy.

Each A failed to provide their AST for me to assess so I preferred to use my own.

Effectively I was happy for the A's to provide an introduction, from there I don't mind deciding suitability and processing through to contract.

As far as an A arranging the energy provider, likely for their own claw back, I'm with you - no chance.

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In the past when I have done tenant find only ...that 's exactly what I pay for and nothing else

It ranged from half to full first months rent and after that no other charges.

I take care of everything else, including deposit protection.

If its tenant find only then there should not be any of the other fee's, def not allowing them to change utilities to their choice as this is so they earn a commission...you can do that yourself and earn a little .

I usually let a tenancy run on periodic, that way you will not pay renewal fee's, which in this case seem to be a bit pricey.

If you have let privately before , why not do it again...it saves you money if you do it properly.I no longer use agents and yes have had some hiccups but it happens and each time you learn a better way of doing it .

One thing i did have (probably my choice of agent at fault )is that on tenant find only the agent will not be getting monthly income from you and knows he/she will not have to deal with any future problems ,so I found they really cut corners on refrencing and type and didn't really care what type of tenant they found because once they are in your property it is your problem.So if you do use them perhaps meet and assess the tenant yourself also.

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Our LA charged £240 for tenant find, credit and reference checks, inventory, informing utilities and council tax people at both ends of the tenancy and preparing AST.

On top, they charged 10% + VAT per calander month for managing the property.

The agent we are moving to charges only £150 upfront, and the same per month.

I think I'm right in saying that it is free to set up a deposit protection account, so a bit cheeky of LA's to charge for it (ours charged the tenants £60!).

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Some posters seem to have a negative attitude towards lettings agents (comments not aimed at anyone in particular)........some of my best friends work in the business so let me offer them a little support and a different viewpoint.

Lets not loose sight of the fact that lettings agents are in business to not only make a profit but to maximise that profit.....the same as any landlord would do. They are not in business to do anyone any favours unless there is a chance of receiving one in return. There are good and bad agents as there is good and bad in any walk of life......don't use your lack of effort, laziness or inability to seek out a good agent as an excuse to criticise the industry in general. Whilst there are undoubtadly bad agents, its a landlords job to identify and avoid them as you would avoid say, a bad builder or car repairers.

Landlords with one property don't afford a lettings agent with much income. Whilst we should expect a reasonable service.....there is no reason for them to go the extra mile.

I don't think it unreasonable for them to charge for every single element of the lettings service that they provide......and lets also remember a tenant find only service means different things to different people.

Here is a typical (incomplete) list of some of the sorts of aspects of a lettings agents services that may be on offer:-

* Finding suitable tenants

* Handling viewings

* Taking references

* Arranging rent guarantee insurance

* Arranging Guarantors

* Drawing up AST's

* Dealing with extra contract clauses

* Arranging direct debits forms

* Arranging deposit protection

* Gas & electric safety checks

* Arranging EPC's

* Check in & check out inventories

* Collecting rents

* Organising accounts

* Dealing with repairs

* Serving S21/ S8/ S13 as required

* Chasing bad debt

* Dealing with repairs/ maintenance

* Offering help/ advice/ assistance

* Dealing with renewals

* Dealing with housing benefits

* Communcating with landlord & tenant

* Dealing with legal issues/ abandonment/ utilities during voids/ arranging cleaning/ preparing property for next let/ insurances/ mortgage lenders permissions/ freeholders permissions to let....

* Etc etc etc......

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Extension fee when existing tenant re-signs £114

Well, that's illegal for starter's.....quote Foxton's Law & Judgement London High Courts case....google for information.

I fully accept that LA's are in business to make money and a living and nobody bends your arm to get you through the door however I find the the fee's stated by the OP to be on the high side and I for one am pleased I run my own business affairs regarding letting and tenancy.

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The implicaion in the OP's post is that this is the ONLY lettings agent that they have approached for prices/ condition.

If so, its hardly the actions of a diligent and cost concious landlord and not the best way to find a suitable lettings agent.

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We used a letting agent for a tenant find only service for getting our first tenant. Their fee was something like 6%+ vat of either 6 or 12 months rental. They also charged extra (£25) for protecting the tenants deposit. Although I found the charges high, they were very reasonable compared to other Agents in the area. We opted for a 12 month tenancy agreement but with a 6 months break clause. As it turned out, the tenant left after 6 months, so we ended up paying dearly for the service.

For the next set of tenants, we went through an on-line agent, which advertised the property on the internet; Rightmove, FindaProperty, etc for a fraction of the cost. Viewings were done ourselves and tenants paid for their referencing (£60) to the on-line agent which also included a tenancy agreement. We found the whole experience very positive, and would do this again. I understand that it is time consuming and may not be practical if your property is further away.

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Thank you for all your replies. A mixture of opinions is why I made this post, so thank you.

For information this was not the first agent I went, the fourth, but after weighing up other parts of what the LA does I have gone with them. I posted the amounts on this forum to guage a response. As I am sure you will agree a number of LA's promise a lot more than they deliver.

I will no doubt be letting online next time, after these tenants, but this time round am using a physical high street LA, despite the higher costs. The costs exc VAT are about 1/2 month (6 mth let) and 1 full month rent (12 mth let).

COR, the LA wasnt happy but reluctantly removed the elec and gas resigning clause. Tried to argue that as Tenant can change so should they, or something to that effect.

Melboy, thanks for the FOXTONS ref.

From BBC website 10/07/2009

The clauses which Mr Justice Mann agreed were unfair said that Foxtons could:

1, continue to demand "renewal" commission from a landlord if a tenant stayed on past the initial tenancy period - even if the agency had played no further part in arranging or managing the extended tenancy

2, force the landlord to continue paying commission to the agency, even after Foxtons had sold the property

3, be paid full commission for selling the property to the tenant, regardless of whether or not it had had a hand in the sale

I have clarified with the LA that a letter after the tenant is in to the LA to advise that the landlord is taking over sole management will suffice to prevent this clause. ( I suspect, but may be wrong, that the LA will argue that

they give the landlord the opportunity at 2 months notice to exclude themselves from this by terminating the Landlord/LA relationship - ref 1 above).

Thank you again for all your advice.



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You also need to watch out for paying a larger fee for a 12 month AST if the contract has a 6 month break clause. Because if the tenant or the landlord choose to give notice at 6 months you can bet your life the agent wont give a refund.

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