We are all aware that there is a Tenants Lettings Fees ban on the horizon, but if you are a potential tenant then at the moment there are still fees you will be asked to pay for new tenancies in England and Wales, and this is likely to be the case until mid-2018 at least. It’s a shame but not all landlords and letting agents are ethical and so here is a helpful list of things you can ask your prospective landlord or letting agent to see if you are dealing with one of the good guys or with an unscrupulous party. It’s by no means exhaustive because, being one of the good guys ourselves, we don’t know all the tricks the bad guys have to part you from your money! But it’s a good start…
When you arrange a viewing or register an interest ask the following questions regarding the agents’ or landlords policies;
- What are the total tenant fees for this property and when are these payable?
- What do your tenant fees cover?
- Are any element of your tenant fees refundable if I fail referencing?
- Do you accept applications from more than one party at a time?
- Do you charge any fees to the tenant after the tenancy has begun? If yes, what are these for? Under what circumstances will they be charged?
The Property Booth currently charges what we believe to be reasonable fees for arranging a new tenancy, these are currently spread between the Landlord and the Tenant. We never charge Tenant Fees to more than one applicant at a time so if we take a Holding Deposit or Referencing Fee from an applicant then – provided the referencing is clear – the application will progress to contract stage and result in a tenancy.
Our Tenant Fees include the following elements;
- Referencing the prospective tenants (including ID and Right to Rent checks etc)
It also includes the tenants’ share of the following elements (the landlord also pays a share of these costs);
- Set up of the Tenancy Agreement in accordance with relevant legislation for Assured Shorthold Tenancies
- Preparation and authorisation of the Inventory/Condition Report for the property (this ensures your Security Deposit is safe as you will not be charged for any pre-existing issues with the property)
- Accompanied moving in, where we sign the Tenancy Agreement, review and approve the inventory and hand over the keys
- Accompanied moving out (at the end of the tenancy), where we review the inventory and agree on areas affecting the return of the Security Deposit
As well as paying their share of the costs above, the Landlord Fees incurred at the set up of a new tenancy include;
- Ensuring all properties comply with current legislation prior to being advertised for let
- Advertising/marketing the property
- Conducting viewings and liaising on applicant/tenant selection
- Ensuring all legally required documentation is provided to the tenants at the correct time
- Registering the tenants Security Deposit with a Government approved scheme
As we get closer to the implementation of the Tenant Fee Ban I’ll update you with the plans we are putting in place to ensure we stay compliant with any changes to legislation and how we’ll ensure we are still able to provide an excellent service to both our client landlords and our valued tenants (and applicants) by covering our legitimate costs and making a modest profit!