Can letting agents charge fees?

A. No. Lettings agents in England and Wales are now banned from charging fees to tenants and in England deposits are capped at the equivalent of five weeks’ rent. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 aims to enable tenants to see exactly what fees will be involved when renting a new property, with no hidden costs, but it means landlords must now pay for services such as referencing and inventory checks.

Tenants renting a London rental property may still incur the following charges:

  • A holding deposit which is charged to reserve a property. This is refundable and may not exceed one week’s rent
  • A late payment fee for rent that is 14 days or more overdue
  • Lost key replacement costs
  • Payments for leaving a tenancy before the end of the fixed-term, when requested by the tenant. Landlords should only charge rent to cover any void period until a replacement tenant is found

Any tenancy agreement you sign should have a clear and complete list of costs that the landlord may intend to pass on to you and there should be no agent’s fees included. This is where a good lettings agent can make all the difference as they will be able to draw up an agreement that is fair to both tenant and landlord. Most of these agents are members of the ARLA Propertymark, which is the professional body concerned with safeguarding standards and practices within the UK industry. Further protections are available through The Property Ombudsman (TPO), an organisation which offers a free, fair and impartial resolution service.

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About the Author

A board director since 2001, Marc oversees the company’s London rentals operation as well as marketing and developing strategies for new business. He has been instrumental in the company’s expansion, working closely with managing director Anita Mehra to develop its core services and frequently co-hosts property seminars for investors in many international locations. Read more about Marc von Grundherr here - Read full profile

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