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Why the Shelter campaign to ban agency fees is a bad idea for tenants

The housing charity shelter is currently campaigning to ban all fees charged by a letting agent to a tenant. Most tenants will probably think this is a great idea, however, they may not have considered the following points:

  • The housing charity shelter is currently campaigning to ban all fees charged by a letting agent to a tenant. Most tenants will probably think this is a great idea, however, they may not have considered the following points:
  • The application fee charged to cover the cost of both the third party background check and the administration involved with it under traditional circumstances holds the property for the tenant while the checks are completed. The fee also prevents time wasting tenants who know they won’t pass the background checks but as it is free think they might as well have a go causing unnecessary administration and potentially causing the landlord to refuse a lower rent offer. Without this fee the agent may be forced to accept multiple applications for the property which wouldn’t allow any of the prospective tenants to make definitive plans for the future.

The reported average application fees of £300.00 which the media are currently throwing around at the moment do seem excessive and large fees being charged for tenancy renewals where nominal administration is required are also questionable. But outlawing fees altogether is not the answer, controlling them is.

A sensible and fair fee structure which is transparently displayed on all advertisements including RightMove and Zoopla who have somehow managed to avoid the recent legislation is surly the best way forward. Tenants pay a fair price for what they get when they get it and landlords are encouraged to leave rents at sensible levels.

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