Now this is an interesting story that happened to my dear friend Alexakis and his partner. Alexakis did the formatting of my book and the design of this website you are reading, so blame him if you don’t’ like it!
Letting Agency Fees
His partner has been renting a house in Kent for over two years. Always paid the rent on time, never a problem!
The property is let and managed by a local letting agent, who seem to do very little beyond making very regular inspections and collecting the rent. They also seem to be pretty good at ignoring the maintenance issues on the property, but that much seems par for the course for a lot of agents doesn’t it?
But they are also keen on issuing a renewal tenancy each year too.
I have no doubt they do this so they can charge the landlord royally for renewing the tenancy every year. (Why not just roll the tenancy over to a monthly periodic tenancy and save the admin, you might ask. Well, that would not give the agent an excuse to charge the landlord for the admin around issuing a renewed tenancy. And as it seem the landlords are pretty wealthy and hands off, it seems the letting agent may be taking full advantage).
Recently they asked if Alexakis’s partner would like to continue the tenancy, (though at a much higher rental rate). She said yes. Before the agent had got round to getting the paperwork out, (with the new renewed tenancy agreement), the next months’ (higher) rent had already left her account.
It was then that the agent wrote to her and asked her to undergo a new credit check. They said this was needed because the rent was higher and it was therefore “required by the insurers” (which I guess, must be a rent guarantee insurer, on which arrangement they are also doubtless earning commission).
She does not wish to do this because she is self-employed and it would mean her business partner knowing about it. Plus, she is worried that there was a small chance she may not pass. So I advised her to ignore the request, which seems absolutely silly to me anyway.
Why bother someone who has been a great tenant with a request to do another credit check. What is the point? And what an intrusion! As someone who has a mortgage and various loans, I don’t expect to be credit checked randomly, unless I am seeking extra funding. A tenant should not expect it either.
I have no idea why the letting agent or their insurer thinks this is necessary team task management software.
And as the new rent is already being collected anyway, it seems an even more bizarre request. And I’m not sure that it is even legally allowed, especially as she has already paid the higher rent, and as it seems the request for the credit check was made as an afterthought.
Poor management by the letting agent indeed. But fairly typical.
It is because of antics like this that the government will surely look to impose much higher standards of regulation on all letting agents and landlords, including the banning of all fees charged to tenants, including legitimate referencing fees. Agents only have themselves to blame.
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