Tips on using letting agents

Tip 1: Expenses and Fees

Letting Agents can be more expensive than a private landlord.  There are often additional fees on top of the rent, this can include fees for:

  • Drawing up contracts
  • Reference fees
  • Inventory fees

Most agencies will also ask to be paid a month's rent in advance as well as a deposit.

Tip 2: You cannot be charged to view a property

Please be aware that there are some rogue agencies that do not follow the code of practice of the National Association of Estate Agents. Agents cannot lawfully charge to view property address information. This is illegal according to the Accommodation Agency Act 1953, but it does still happen. If you accept these charges there is little chance of your money being returned. Letting Agents have a professional duty of care to ensure that anyone relying on them is offered correct advice.

Tip 3: When charges can be applied

Agencies are allowed to charge a fee, but only when the accommodation is taken and when you have entered into a formal agreement. 

Tip 4: Types of agency

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.

Tip 5: Enquire as to costs and charges beforehand

Before you ask an Agent to find your accommodation, you should find out how much you will be charged, with any additional payments you might have to incur. You may also have to pay for the reconnection of utilities such as gas and electricity.

Tip 6: Losing your holding deposit

Please note that Agencies can charge a cancellation fee if you change your mind about taking a place you have reserved. This means you could lose all of your holding deposit, so make sure you ask what their policy is before you pay them any money.