Don’t be pressured by aggressive sales tactics.
There are always plenty of properties to choose from.
There are two types of agency; Letting Agents will charge the Landlord for the service of finding tenants. Then there are Accommodation Agents who charge tenants for finding accommodation. Many Estate Agents offer both of these services.
A letting agent advertises properties on behalf of a landlord. They manage the process until the tenant has moved in. The landlord would then collect the rent and deal with any problems or repairs that may arise.
Letting agents can manage properties in addition to simply putting prospective tenants in touch with landlords. If this is the case, you will find that the agent’s name and address appears on the tenancy agreement rather than the landlord. The agency will usually hold your deposit, collect rent and take responsibility for repairs to the property, although you still have the legal right to know the name and home address of your landlord.
In 2019 new legislation was enacted to help shield tenants from high costs faced during the search.
Fact 1: You cannot be charged to view a property
Agents cannot lawfully charge you to view a property, or for information. If you accept these charges there is little chance of your money being returned.
Fact 2: Holding deposits
When you find a property you want, you'll be asked to pay a holding deposit until you have signed a contract. From 1 June 2019 a holding deposit can't be more than a week's rent. However, the holding deposit isn't usually refundable so if you change your mind about taking the property you may lose your money.
Fact 3: The Tenant Fees Ban
As of 1 June 2019 most fees for tenants are banned. If you sign or renew a tenancy you can no longer be asked to pay for:
- credit and immigration checks
- renewing your contract
There are some charges that still apply. We have more information about letting fees and holding deposits on our fees and deposit page.