Taylor Scott International News
Better regulation is needed in the private rental sector in the UK to stop rogue agents charging over the odds tenant fees, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). ARLA’s most recent report on tenant fees found that 74% of ARLA licensed agents charge tenants no more than £250 in tenant fees. Overall, among the members surveyed, the report found ARLA licensed agents charge a reasonable £213 on average in tenant fees to cover the lettings process. While many are concerned about tenant fees, David Cox, managing director of ARLA, said they are needed. ‘Tenant fees cover the cost of essential items during the lettings agreement process such as reference checks, the drafting of the tenancy agreement, and the management of tenancy extension or renewal,’ he explained. ‘All of these items cost the agent money to carry out, and in fact, provided the agent has a fair pricing structure, the agent will not make a noticeable profit on charging for these items,’ he added. However, there are some landlords and agents that do take advantage of the cost of tenant fees. ‘This is where better regulation is needed in the private rental sector to ensure consumers are not taken advantage of,’ said Cox. ‘We want to see tenants paying a fair price for the service they receive. Regulated agents don’t charge excessive fees. The results of our survey show that on average ARLA licensed agents charge a reasonable £213 in tenant fees; which we see as a fair price,’ he added. Among ARLA licensed members, the services which tenants are most likely to be charged for are reference checks, with 98% of branches doing so. Some 69% charge for the tenancy agreement and 65% for tenancy renewal. Also 57% of ARLA licensed agents stated they charged a flat fee that includes all of these services for tenants, rather than charge individually itemised and calculated tenant fees. ‘Renting a property is a big financial commitment and tenants should be made aware of what exactly they are being charged for and what they are getting for their money. ARLA supports openness and transparency when it comes to fees,’ Cox pointed out. ‘By choosing an ARLA Licensed agent, tenants are reassured that members follow a strict code of conduct which puts the tenant first. This not only ensures a fair fee structure, client money protection which means their deposit will be reimbursed if their agent goes bust, but also that they will be dealt with in a professional way by a qualified agent to receive the best advice when renting a property,’ he added. Continue reading →
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