A British newspaper has accused letting agencies of attempting to boost their profits by using four “nasty tricks”1 to take advantage of landlords and tenants.
The Daily Telegraph explained that the first trick is to evict tenants who question expensive fees. They also revealed a case of four renters from a property in Islington who were evicted from the agency Next Move, after they challenged a £1,260 charge for changing two names on the tenancy agreement.
The agency’s director, Abdul Azad, says that he does not “remember the details” of the matter, but still thinks the fee is reasonable. He says: “We’re running a business, not a charity. The cost reflects our time and energy.”1
Letting Agents’ Dirty Tricks Exposed
The second scam involves agents forcing unexpected costs upon landlords and tenants.
The Daily Telegraph noted an invoice sent to a landlord by London agency Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, who charged more than double the expected fee for finding new tenants. The company has since apologised, and says they will uphold the lower fee.
The newspaper says that it is crucial for landlords to have any charges agreed in writing. It then describes a Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward invoice as containing “confusing charges and incomprehensible calculations” such as: “TA fee calculated as £210 plus £35 yet added up to £210.”1
The third trick involves rejecting suitable tenants.
The Telegraph refers to a case evaluated by The Property Ombudsman (TPO) in which a tenant was rejected because of careless vetting procedures. This cost the landlord £100, despite TPO saying that the agent “failed to thoroughly investigate the matter”1 and find that the tenant was perfect for the property.
The fourth is described by the Daily Telegraph as “inflated maintenance charges”1, with an example of a landlord charged £260 for a replacement toilet seat.