Why Do Letting Agents Charge Tenants Admin Fees?


On the 1st of June 2019 the “Tenant Fees Act 2019” came into force, which is a legislation that focuses on banning and restricting letting agents and private landlords (in England only) from charging tenants with certain fees, which includes ‘admin fees’, ‘referencing fees’ and various other charges.

If on or after the 1st of June 2019 any tenant in England is charged with any of these “Prohibited payments” it will be deemed unlawful and punishable by hefty fines. For more details, please refer to the ‘Tenant Fees Act 2019’ blog post.

Letting agency tenancy fees

This “admin” fee malarkey that agents charge is more often than not… a bit of a shameless scam. Actually, it’s daylight robbery as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve never understood this, so I’m hoping someone kind, gentle and sexy can shed some light onto the matter…

Most high-street letting agents charge both tenants and landlords fees during the process of finding-tenants, which actually makes no sense to me. I understand why agents charge landlords, but why the tenants?

An example of overpriced Letting Agent Application Fees

So, yesterday evening I was having a gander on Facebook and reading through my community’s status updates. One of my friends was having a bitch about a letting agent that was charging a ridiculous amount for a tenant application fee. I found it quite amusing, especially the comments, so I thought I’d share.

Tenant Application Fees

Tenant Application Fee

Bless my friend. She’s not the most coherent creature you’ll encounter, but you get the gist of her amusing tantrum.

Her agent wanted £240 for an application fee. The agent justified the price by suggesting they provide the best credit checks and references in the business. I’m going to go out on a whim and call bullshit. I don’t care if their credit checks/references come with 22 carat ribbons attached around them; there’s no way £150 + VAT for references can be justified, nor a £50 + VAT fee for a credit check. They use a third party credit check company just like most other agents use; and those other agents seem to manage ok by charging a more reasonable application fee.

Here’s a list of Tenant Credit Check Services For Landlords – you can get fully comprehensive credit checks for approx £20. If agents want to make a small profit for arranging the credit check, then fine, by all means put a cherry on top, but make it reasonable and justifiable.

How much is the average application fee?

I know that the local agents around where I live charge tenants approximately £100. At least it was that last time I checked about a year ago. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a pretty standard rate across the country, or whether it drastically varies (clearly it does vary based on my Facebook buddy’s experience, but I’m not sure if that’s an exception or the rule).

Actually, I’m going to stop writing this post right now, and quickly throw the question out there on Twitter (quite a few Letting Agents follow me on Twitter)…

Why Do Letting Agents Charge Tenants An Admin Fee?

A few hours later…

Right, I’ve got a few responses, and here they are…

Why Do Letting Agents Charge Tenants An Admin Fee Responses

Ok, so it seems as though the prices do vary, and the premium is justified as “admin costs”, which I still don’t fully understand. What admin work is actually conducted for tenants to justify a £50 – £200 fee?

Let’s not forget, the client is the Landlord and NOT the tenant. So is it just me, or is it odd/unfair that a tenant has to pay a premium when Landlords are already paying through their noses for a service?

Tenancy Renewal Fees

What’s more frustrating and utterly infuriating is that most agents charge tenants the same admin fee again if a tenant decides to stay in a property longer than the fixed term in the tenancy agreement. The cost is commonly known as a tenancy renewal fee.

So, for example, suppose I’m a tenant and a letting agent finds me a property, which I sign a one year contract for. If I decide to stay in the property for longer than a year, I have to pay the admin fee again. Seriously, WTF?!? What extra admin work actually has to be done? IT MAKES NO SENSE TO ME, especially when the Landlord also has to pay a renewal fee (but that’s an entirely different rant all together).

I just assume that a lot of agents don’t even know WHY they charge that admin fee, they just do it because all agents do it… and of course, it’s profitable.

Every tenancy applicant pays a fee!

What’s even more fucking infuriating (notice how I’ve taken it up a notch) is that some agents charge EVERY applicant (even for the same property) the same admin fee, on the basis that they can’t/won’t guarantee they’ll even get the tenancy. WTF?

So for example, 4 couples could apply for the same property, and each person could get charged a “referencing fee” of £100, which totals £800 (8 people x £100). 3 of those couples could potentially lose £200 between them for nothing. Seems outrageous.

It’s an obvious cash machine for agents, and fundamentally immoral making thousands off people that won’t ever get the property they applied for, through no fault of their own.

If I were a tenant…

Assuming I was adamant on using a traditional high-street letting agent (as opposed to an online letting agent), I would do the following:

  • Rates obviously vary from agent to agent, so I would get quotes from all local agents to see which one offers the most competitive rate
  • Agents themselves have told me the rate is open to negotiation, so I would try and get the lowest rate possible
  • If rates seem excessive, I would ask the agent what exactly I’m paying for. If the figures don’t stack up and I feel as though I’m being taken for a ride, I’d probably walk out based on principle.
  • Find out exactly what the implications are regarding the extension of the tenancy agreement e.g. If I decide to stay in the property longer than the fixed term, am I liable to be charged another admin fee? Some agents don’t charge a renewal fee, some do, it’s best to find out. Moreover, if the agent says there is NO renewal fee, I’d get that in black and white. Remember, you’d be a fool to trust a fool.
  • Ensure you’re only subject to admin fees on the basis of a guaranteed tenancy- not just for being able to “apply”!

As a landlord…

I only use online letting agents to market my property. They charge a hell a lot of less across the board, for both landlord and tenant- and no hidden fees.

I’d just like to say many thanks to those on Twitter that responded to my question. It’s a bit of a shitty situation actually; they were kind enough to respond, but I’ve kind of stabbed them in the back by saying it’s a bullshit fee. Sorry, guys.

Love and Peace.

190 Join the Conversation...

Showing 140 - 190 comments (out of 190)
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Angie 22nd April, 2014 @ 23:04

Hi, my daughter is single with two small children and is on benefits. She is after moving into a new house but the agency want £175.00 up front (non-refundable) for administration fees. her money is very tight and basically she doesn't have two pennies to rub together so that amount of money is a huge chunk out of her weekly budget. As mentioned above the agency could show 10 people around that house and only 1 will get it. Surely they are not going to do all the paperwork for all those people if they dont have to. In my opinion they are no better than theives. Why cant they just do a credit check first and just charge you for that then if thats ok and your sure to get the property you pay for all the admin fees. Something needs to be done about this its absolutely discusting. How do you sleep at night, shame on you.

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Tim 6th May, 2014 @ 06:17

The only way you would truly avoid paying these fee's is to find a private Landlord who has the sense to manage their business themselves. I recently rented a room in London, using a non-agent website. I initially dealt directly with the LL, then with the existing tenants. I didn't pay any 'admin'/credit check/reference fees. I understand that agents need to earn a living, but making tenants pay the agents seems odd - it is the LL who is their customer, who I believe should be accountable for the fees. Most Estate Agents are now nothing more than 'key holders' and photographers!
Tenants need to regain the power and dictate that they're just not willing to pay these often extortionate fees. Or just tell me that it is a fee to cover the wages of the Estate Agent - simple!

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Brenden Lowder 14th May, 2014 @ 23:49

I used to be a letting agent and I did charge high fees as that is where a good portion of the money is upfront then the rest would come from the landlord over time but thats not great until you have 50 plus properties on the books .I found myself feeling guilty to the point I gave it up , I just buy and sell now . My advice to anyone thinking of renting is 1)don't be made to feel small because your renting 2)question any charges if you don't like the answer walk away 3)REMEMBER these checks only cost about a tenner don't pay anymore do ready want to be managed by a company that has just ripped you off. the more people who walk away and refuse to pay these charges will chase these muggers out.

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john churchward 5th June, 2014 @ 11:55

i am moving into a student house next year, with six others, making it a seven bedroom house. After seeing the house once we agreed to go for it, the estate agent then asked for administration fee's of £200 each, making it a total of £1400 for the house just in admin fee's. IS THIS OKAY ?

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Dave 25th June, 2014 @ 12:56

My wife was pressured into signing before double checking the fees,

£480 Admin fee (This was discounted from £500 + VAT)
£120 Reference check
£155 Checkin/out


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Disgruntled Tenant 9th July, 2014 @ 09:31

Apologies if this is the wrong place to post this - just wondered if anyone can offer any advice re: an issue I am currently having with the lettings agency I rent through.

As with most properties, my rent has increased year on year. I have just entered my 3rd year in this property, and my rent has increased by £50 per month. After the first year it increased by £20 per month. These amounts are not too bad compared to other stories I have heard - this is certainly not my issue.

Yesterday I received an email from the lettings agency explaining to me that they have noticed that since my 3rd year kicked in (3 months ago), I have still not been paying the correct rent - this is completely my fault as I had forgotten to alter my direct debit. So, I expected that I would owe them £150 (£50 extra rent x3). Just to clarify, I asked them to double-check exactly what was owed (I also thought I probably owed the £90 renewal fee), so was very shocked at the response I got.

The agency informed me that after checking their accounts, they realised that for the whole of last year, I hadn't altered my rental amount either and therefore hadn't paid the correct amount now for 15 months (12 months of year 2 with the extra £20 per month and now 3 months of year 3 with the now extra £70 per month). Now, this is not unrealistic when it comes to me - I very rarely look at my bank account but I have no problem in paying for things. My shock is that they are asking me to pay the missing £450 in one go, which I cannot afford to do at the moment.

My main issue is that they never once mentioned this last year. No phone calls, no emails, no letters. They even carried out their standard twice a year property inspections and never mentioned it face-to-face. The landlord even visited about 4 months back and HE never mentioned the missing money to me. I have no doubt that I probably forgot to change the direct debit last year as I had this year, but for the agency to not be on top of this sort of thing is slightly concerning, and now very annoying when they ask me to pay it all in one go. I've politely responded and said there is no chance of that happening and that I am currently working out a payment plan of sorts in order to pay the outstanding monies back to them ASAP. Hopefully that will be ok, but I just wondered if anyone had any advice to give me, or in fact any legal loopholes that I can use in my favour in terms of how long I have to pay the outstanding balance?

Just to make things clear - I am happy to pay what I owe, I just don't like being put in a situation where I'm suddenly asked for a large amount of extra money when it is the agencies fault for not keeping on top of their accounts better.

Sorry for the essay! Please help if you can :)

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David 28th July, 2014 @ 10:09

To answer the OP, Estate Agents are the nastiest bar stewards you will find. We only forgot because of the noise about bankers, but these guys were complicit in that too.

The fees are just made up on the basis of "how much can we get away with charging someone who is desperate to find a home".

They are ripping off BOTH tenant and Landlord.

Think about it, they take a hefty 10%+ of your rent, but for what, they are charging the tenant for the same tenancy agreement mail merged with the tenant's name and address.

They charge the tenant £120 to check in, this INVENTED charge would be something landlords have done for years, so if the agent is doing it for the Landlord then it should come out of the fee they are taking every month.

I have seen 15 other "invented" charged where an agent has taken this to the extreme. The problem is that the more this goes on the more it becomes the norm.

It seems to me that they have adopted the Ryan Air model of charging for any little thing they can get away with.

All of these made up fees are just a cost of doing business, it is what they get paid by Landlords to do. The idea is that the is an economy of scale when a business does the same processes for many clients but they are trying to stitch both ends.

Such abuse happens because of the shortage of properties, they can get away with anything, It needs to be outlawed.

Now @Disgruntled Tenant if you owe the money and you accepted the increase in rent (more fool you - always appeal it) then you owe it. You could highlight the fact they are incompetant and suggest that you pay the increase over the number of months that it has accrued, so instead of paying £70 a month, you pay £90 a month for 12 months and then £120 for the following 3 months and then revert back to your £70 a month increase.

Personally I would contact the Landlord and let them know just how incompetent these guys are.

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Susana 30th July, 2014 @ 00:10

Good evening. Dear tenants imagine you as an entrepreneur, you just opened your Estate Agent... You try to rent as much as you can to be able to pay Business Rate, Paye, rent, salary, insurances, marketing, AT and the list just going on and on. You rent a property example one bedroom flat, tenants paid £400.00 administration fee from that £400.00 you have to pay the company check, time spent doing contracts, invoices, reply to the applicants enquiries about the moving in.... In another hand as there is a big competition the landlord doesn't want to pay a reasonable fee where they normally pay even 2% calculated from the monthly rent that would be approximately not more than £500.00. On top of that after 12 months the landlord cut the agency to keep the same tenant to avoid to pay any fee and the same vice verse , now I ask you all how can you pay your employes at the end of each month???

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David 30th July, 2014 @ 14:21

@Susana you have missed the point.

The fees you charge are the Landlord costs and they should be taken from your fee to them. This fee is typically 10% of the rent for a full service including visiting the property to make sure it has not been trashed.

Why should the Landlord pay, simple because the landlord is the BUSINESS end of the transaction. Their property increases in price, their rent exceeds their mortgage but even if it doesn't it does not matter because you have to look at the costs overall.

If structured correctly, these fees to Landlords can be offset against their taxable income on the property so there is no need for tenants to pay these obscene charges.

A friend of mine buys property to protect his money because banks only guarantee €100k, he buys small hotels, he does not seek to make a profit, in fact he uses losses to offset his profits elsewhere. The property price of these hotels increases over time and his money is secure.

Investing in property for rental is the same, and clever landlords structure their activities to offset costs against profits. Yes they need to pay for a decent lawyer and accountant, but their fees are also deductible.

Now if you can't structure your business to make a profit then that is your weakness. Mostly it comes down to SALES, the whole idea is that you get the economy of scale because you repeat these processes over and over again.

Now if you are an amateur and can't get your lawyer to contruct terms and conditions of sale that make the landlord liable for fees if a tenant you introduced until the end of the tenancy, well that is your lack of experience in business.

In the recruitment industry if an employer employs someone introduced by the agency they pay, even if they dismiss the agency and make a covert offer.

One agent had me key the data into their computer and it populated the tenancy agreement they printed out. This same tenancy agreement was used for hundreds of landlords and tenants. Total production cost, less than £1.

I know someone who runs a lettings agency, they run it from home, all their staff work from home, they have no office costs and no business rate.

You should not employ people until you have the income to pay them; that is a fundamental of any business.

No point you bleating on here because you can't run your business profitably when it is your lack of business experience that is the problem.

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Chris Leasmith 4th August, 2014 @ 14:55

^ brilliant.

Also @Susana, we all already know the reference checks, tenancy agreement etc only cost about £10-20 in time and tech to produce, so plucking £150+ out of thin air (twice if you're charging the landlord too) is just ripping people off.

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Ex-sharer 26th August, 2014 @ 09:34

I moved out of a shared flat over 2 years ago. Today, one of my ex-flatmates told me they were queried by the agent last week about whether we paid a "documentation/renewal" fee of £200 when I moved out.
Given I gave the stipulated month's notice after the 6 months' stipulated break, AND found a replacement tenant, I am also sure we paid all fees stipulated in that contract. When the new tenant moved in, all 3 tenants signed a NEW contract.
Did he just made up this "documentation/renewal" fee?

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Mary Davidson 26th August, 2014 @ 14:36

I've never ceased to be angry at the rip-0ff-the-tenant situation. I had a consideration on how to better it. For prospective tenants needing to prove themselves worthy, a governmental, national body should be set up which could conduct checks on an individual, paid for by that individual, and a law could be passed that agencies across-the-board have to accept that report. That way a single check could cover all agents and properties applied for and the check would only cost the actual cost. The check could be viable for a certain amount of time; a month maybe. And thereafter the individual would have a reasonable update cost.
I'm looking to rent again now. I'm asking around to find friends who rent locally, so I can approach landlords directly. Or looking online at properties advertised, then investigating in person - asking next door etc - to cut out the agent. Many landlords aren't big players and amenable to this.

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Jim 11th September, 2014 @ 17:12

We were charged unexpected fees of over £1000 by estate agents, AFTER £300 administration fees, to rent a house.

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David 12th September, 2014 @ 10:08

@Jim that is such a con, the worst thing is that it is not necessary, a landlord can offset any fees against his business profits, a tenant can't.

Most of these agents are leeches (blood sucking scum), they over charge landlords, use contractors who fleece them and then pass on those charges with an uplift to the landlord. I remember one plumber screwing up a toilet because access to the pipes was tight. He then said it was a bad install and said the whole toilet and plumbing would need to be changed. He said it was £3k the landord was told £3750. I asked a friend of mine to look at it, he put a new part in the cistern and improved the pipe work, parts £45 labour £150. Took less than 2 hours.

It is like any middleman, they are spending other people's money and so have no regard for it.

I was talking to a lady the other day who lives in a block, there are around 200 flats all communal areas cleaned by a company appointed by the agent. She said they write on a form every week their arrival time and how long they say. Well first off she noticed it is always 20mins, then she came home for lunch and found that they said they had been at 3.15 but it was 1pm. So she started to watch them, they spent 4 minutes the next week and 5 the week after.

When it comes to renew the contract they add up the 20 minutes per block of 6 flats, and that is the basis for the contract.

34 blocks x 20m = 680m x 52 weeks = 35360m / 60 = 590 hours @ £10.40 per hour = £6136 uplifted with agent proft to £7670

34 blocks x 4m = 136m x 52 weeks = 7072m / 60 = 118 hours @ £10.40 per hour = £1227 uplifted with agent proft to £1534

So a rip off overcharge of £6136

If they did their job they would "manage" the contractor, they would reduce the price per hour AND make sure they were only paying for what was used.

@Jim You should contact your local trading standards and report the agent to ARLA and any other organisation they are part of.

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W Solomon 15th November, 2014 @ 13:14

I have been asked by a referencing company to provide a reference for my 2 tenants who are looking to move to a new property. My tenants have not contacted me at all regarding moving. I am considering charging for providing a reference as this is my time which is not free! Does this sound unreasonable? I am thinking of charging £50 for each tenant.

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Benji 15th November, 2014 @ 17:33


Does this sound unreasonable?

Yes it does for 5 minutes work.

Although you can ask for how ever much you want.

About half that amount is more normal.

Still unreasonable (and unprofessional) IMO.

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David 18th November, 2014 @ 01:57

MR Soloman

How would you like to be charged your hard earned money for this or something similar. Perhaps every time your debit card is checked online as part of taking your money.

Tenants are ripped off by agencies and now you want your cut.

Just do it for free and be glad that you had an uneventful tenancy.

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Glen 25th November, 2014 @ 10:39

Credit checks do NOT cost £200, £100, or £50. They are something more like £2 so where do the extra 0s come from? Estate agents are basically ripping people off.

You can quite easily look around private landlords and find one that you think is decent. If the property is well kept for example they probably do what they are supposed to as landlords.

The estate agents say "admin" fee. What admin? They go to WH smith, buy an agreement and you sign it. What does that cost? £5? Maybe £10 for their walk to the shop!

So in total the cost for an estate agent is no more than £20 ...add markup, i would say a final "admin" fee to the tenant should be no more than £50. Also not "per person" either, you only need 1 agreement per household, not per person.

Estate agents prey on inexperienced and vulnerable people.

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Benji 25th November, 2014 @ 14:05


A £2 credit check is not worth the paper it is written on.
Here is a link to the RLA's referencing (£29 per tenant);


That is the bare minimum a landlord should be doing. I would suggest landlords go into a tenant's past history a lot deeper than that.

A £2 referencing fee would not deter a dodgy tenant with something to hide. A £50 referencing fee would make them think twice before wasting your time.

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David 28th November, 2014 @ 13:16

Don't you realise that no credit check is going to help you when a tenant falls off the ladder.

I have had 7 credit cards with £70,000 of unused balance, yet I have been homeless and I have been on benefits.

The financial climate is such that it is almost impossible to dig yourself out of such a rut without support.

The answer here is for the next Government to ban ALL tenant fees, the first reason is because Landlords would not take such shit and tell the agent where to stick their RyanAir type charges. A tenant is not in a position to negotiate or argue so the scum agents abuse them.

The Landlord can take reasonable fees and claim them against their tax, a tenant can't.

The result of such legislation would be to kick the unprofrssional agent out of the market and increase competition by agents who can compete on providing competitive fees at a reasonable price.

I have experienced agents as both a Landlord and Tenant, I have yet to meet one who deserves the oxygen they breath. Their inspections are a joke, their contracts often invalid creating liability for the Landlord. Their referencing is nonsense, they charge hundreds for a something that can be done for £25. Their contractors overcharge because they know the game. I have seen some charge thousands and the agent adds 20% and passes it on, the biggest issue is that nobody will spend your money as wisely as you do.

They also charge rent way above the going rate, I have seen agents operating out of their bedrooms, putting ads on Gumtree for 30% above the going rate because they know they will find a tenant who is desperate. They did not protect the deposit, no PI issues and then they buggered off to Africa when it all went pear shaped, leaving the landlord to pay 3x the rent plus deposit.

What you can't beat is instinct, meet someone in a public place, have a coffee with them. Get references and contact them yourself, the only question you need to ask is "would you rent one of your properties to them again". Any hesitation tells you NO.

Oh and forget agents being members of organisations like ARLA, it is just a sanction from an industry of leeches for another leech.

People love to hate Bankers but who else would you have running the finances, insurance companies, the Government, all they needed was regulation and when that was removed they did what any right minded business would do they made money for themeselves at the expense of others.

Estate Agents on the other hand are in my humble opinion, TOTAL SCUM who exploit Tenants, Landlords, property buyers and property sellers.

We should do what they do in the Middle East, have Sunday hangings, OK a little extreme, I will settle for regulation as outlined above.

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Seamus Glas 16th March, 2015 @ 21:30

Reference Fee
Guarantor Application Fee
Deposit Protection Fee
Property Inspection Fee
Check out Fee
Pet Disclaimer Fee
Duplicate Documents Fee
Duplicate Rent Statements
Returned Payment Fee
Late Payment Fee
Breach of Tenancy Letter Fee

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Saul Hudson 20th April, 2015 @ 10:26

Too all the agents reading this. Why are you charging tenants a fee at all? The landlord employs you to find tenants for them. The landlord is your customer not the tenant.

Your charging the landlord a massive fee already. The so called "admin fee" to tenants is a complete nonsense and you know it. Credit reference fees are another rip off. Hell you don't even need to pay to get a credit report these days. I can get one myself right now, instantly and for free and I don't mean that con from Experian where they sign you up to a free trial and then charge you a ridiculous amount every month thereafter. Try https://www.noddle.co.uk/ and then justify why you need to charge us £90 or more per applicant?

With online agents like rentify.com that have NO fees for tenants and provide free instantly downloadable contracts for landlords your days of ripping us off are fast coming to an end. You will either be legislated out of charging us fees or you will lose your market altogether. The days of high profits at our expense are fast coming to a close.

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Rachel 12th June, 2015 @ 16:11

I am currently still in contract until Jan 16 and considering leaving early as I want a house not a flat. I have been told that I would have to pay 1 months rent (£515) + vat for the landlords fees and also the rent until they find a new tenant. And probably the moving out fee of £60 + vat. I believe the flat would let easily so therefore think there won't be an issue with the rent but the landlords fees are ridiculous. Is this normal?

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Saul Hudson 12th June, 2015 @ 16:32

So less than 2 months on from my last post we are sitting in our lovely new home. Found it via Openrent.co.uk and the only fees we paid were £20 each for a credit check, absolutely NO other fees whatsoever! If your worried about losing money through absurd "admin" fees with a traditional agent try Openrent. You will only get charged that £20 once by the way.

If for any reason the property falls through either with the landlord pulling out or you failing a credit check etc, you don't need to pay when applying for another property. Now that is the way it should be done!

Also since you deal direct with the landlord you stand a much better chance of getting the property, especially if you have credit history problems. Be open and honest and it can work for you.

Best of luck!

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Ben 18th June, 2015 @ 13:05

Reading through the comments, I am astounded by some of the fees that the leggings agents have charged. I am a private landlord and usually market my flat via an online agency to save me a few hundred quid, but it's also nice to see that it saves my tenants some cash as well.
What annoys me most is the charge for credit refs. and renewal fees. Credit refs. are done via an online agency, and the cost price is £30 per person. As for renewals, this doesn't even need to be done: an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) automatically rolls over onto a periodic tenancy when the initial period (usually 6 or 12 months) ends. Even if you did want the security of a new 6-12 months AST, it costs about 2 mins of my time to change the date on the old AST and to print and sign.

It's probably not possible to specifically do a search for a 'landlord managed property' on Rightmove, but look out for properties that are. I'll be sure to highlight it next time my place is on the market!

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Praveen Chakravarthy 24th June, 2015 @ 15:58

My Agent has asked for 399+tax = £470 for a 1 bed room ( £650 pcm ). I have asked them the reasons for the Fee. I am new to UK and advise how I should proceed.

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Praveen Chakravarthy 24th June, 2015 @ 16:00

Legally Fee can include ( from Property Redress scheme )

application processing fees such as reference and/or credit checks
• fees for the initial setting up of the tenancy, including inventory costs or other administration
• fees which must be paid in certain circumstances, such as charges for additional Tenants, the
use of a guarantor or pets
• any future fees likely to be incurred by the Tenant, for example, costs to extend, renew or
terminate the tenancy and inventory check out fees.
• Money for a ‘holding deposit’ including the sum that is required and the circumstances in which
it will/will not be refunded - it will however be deemed unfair if a holding deposit is deemed to be non-refundable in any circumstance.

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Saul Hudson 24th June, 2015 @ 16:25

Well the referencing fees are negligible (£20-30 or even less) so no excuse at all for charging £90+ per applicant. With Openrent inventory costs are paid by the Landlord. When we moved in here we were presented with a folder containing the inventory and all other details we needed. Photo's were clear and descriptions precise.

There are NO costs involved in extending a rental. You first sign a short hold assured tenancy which normally runs for 6 months, after that there is NO requirement to sign anything else. Unless given notice to quite your tenancy rolls over to a monthly one. So called "renewal fees" are a just plain robbery!

To put it bluntly, Landlords are complete idiots for using high street letting agents. The alternatives are there for you. They cost less and are far more efficient and tenants, if you are still using these rip off agents then what do you expect? Use your brains and look around. You DO NOT need to go through an old style letting agent anymore.

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Thea Pitcher 8th July, 2015 @ 00:56

I signed my renewal contract 6 weeks ago...this week I got an invoice for £380 from the letting agent - their fee to renew the tenancy!!!!
There is nothing in any contract nor have they given e or displayed any fees for this. So I have just challenged them to explain what this surprise bill is actually for....2 days on and no response! They will be getting nothing from me. If they had told me their fees before contract renewal, I would have declined to renew. They have also double charged, as I know they have charged my landlord them same fee...which is illegal. Looking forward to their response! :-)

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Saul Hudson 8th July, 2015 @ 06:02

Thea, I would give the name of the agency here so others know to avoid them like the plague! Renewal fees are an excuse to fleece the tenant and landlord for absolutely nothing. Definitely do not pay them. ALL fees must be made clear in your contract and also before you sign anything. Have you spoken to your landlord about this? Might be time he/she switched to using a service that is open, honest and transparent and that doesn't try to rip off it's customers. Not going to recommend one again but you can see who we used in my previous posts.

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Chrissy H 10th January, 2016 @ 15:30

Hi people, need advice..
I'm a first time renter and found a lovely 1bed place, went for it but the landlord choose another person.. (Not a problem). I carried on looking and found another place not really ideal but could make it work, so decided too go ahead with it! I paid £440 in admin and reference fees and passed all checks.
The problem is the first property has been offered too me which is more ideal for me and a lot cheaper! Now do I have the right too pull out of this property I've paid fees for even if I haven't signed any kind of agreement?
I don't mind loosing my money I just don't want too be forced into taking a property I'm not sure about..
Any comments will be appreciated

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Saul Hudson 10th January, 2016 @ 16:40

Hi Chrissy

As far as I am aware you can pull out but of course you lose your deposit/admin fee as they are usually non-refundable unless the landlord is the one who withdraws.

This is especially true if you have no signed any contract as your no legally bound to take the property.

You have to go where you'll be happy. This whole damned process costs enough so the least you can ask for is to live where you "want" to live not where you "have" to live.

By the way, next time try Openrent. You will avoid all those rip agents fees and deal with the landlord direct. Remember, this is not just about the Landlord sizing you up as potential tenants. YOU are the one paying the money so you need to be sure you have the right landlord. One that will stay out of your lives but be there quickly to fix things should they go wrong.

Hope you'll be happy in the new place :)

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Angry Tenant 1st March, 2016 @ 10:47

Basically it seems that the tenants are ignored. I am a tenant as well. I have had some financial problems in the past and these problems damaged my credit score however although cleared all the debts afterwards some defaulted accounts will stay there about 6 years. I am planning to move a property in Cornwall as I move my business to Exeter. Found a property through an agency and their fee is 240 quid. This is not refundable and there is a full credit check. My public credit score is above average but other one bad. It seems I will throw away 240 if the credit check fails me. Letting agents coming with new fees everyday. With the fees that letting agents charges prior to letting a property a person can use as deposit to signup a mortgage nowadays. All letting agents require reference from tenants landlord. Why at the same time landlords don't require reference from tenants? I had terrible landlords in the past who never answers my calls and the problems about the property. Now I have to ask my landlords reference to handle to the agency however I don't even know my landlords address. I know his phone number but he never answers. And this man have right to comment about me to the new agent or landlord at the end. What a terrible system. Other think I didn't understand that a fee of contribution of landlords cost that tenants requires to pay. A tenant is a buyer not seller like landlord. Letting agents are charging tenants 100's of pounds for credit check which actually you can order a copy for 2 pounds.

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Nick 3rd April, 2016 @ 14:43

We're currently looking at an area in Manchester where one agency has the monopoly on the properties we're looking at...their fees are even higher than the city centre agencies:

£340 credit check (up to 2 people)
£60 each for a guarantor check
£110 additional fee for 'legal cover'

we know that we'll bot need guarantors so that's £570 in fees before we even start thinking about deposits!

I'm in the wrong job :/

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David 4th April, 2016 @ 14:09

I would offer to provide your own credit referencing saying that you have had them done recently, the same for the guarantors, then use CheckMyFile for each person and give them a copy.

Ask what the legal cover is and can you please have a copy of the policy

Then when you have it ask whether they hold a license to issue such cover, are they registered with the ABI

Look at their website, if it says they are members of professional organisations e.g. ARLA, if so make a complaint to them for excessive charging by one of their members.

Then it is a matter of wrecking their reputation, leave bad reviews sharing your actual experiences of the agent, how they invent prohibative charges for tenants (and probably Landlords alike). All Agents is also a good site to review them on. Others will see your negative reviews including other landlords and leave their own reviews. In my experience Agents that do this often stitch up the landlords by adding 20% uplift on repairs, get their mates to carry out work for a cut and charge the landlord for the very same things (tenancy preparation, viewings, inventory and anything they can make up that is actually just a part of the service).

In my opinion an agent should charge a fee to the Landlord only, these are usually recoverable against tax so they do not cost anyone anything they did not have to pay.

I would advise you go elsewhere, look at Open Rent and then make it your mission to take this agent down so the next victim does not happen.

Agents are in my opinion a disgusting breed and in the words of Jeremy Clarkson (about other people) ...

"I'd have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families."

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Saul Hudson 4th April, 2016 @ 14:45

Seems to me there is a case of total apathy on the part of tenants and Landlords. They can both clearly see the alternatives through this thread and others on like it on the net yet they still continue, without any sensible reason whatsoever to use the rip-off high street agents. Openrent and other services are out there so USE THEM! Both the landlord and the tenant will save money. WHY are you still using traditional agents?

It has been posted here many times that credit reports can be obtained either completely free of charge or for a minimal fee. So why are agents charging the ridiculous amounts that they do? Simple, you all let them! If you keep accepting the status quo then how to you expect things to change?

Our total fees before moving into the apartment we are in at the moment, which is only 3 years old, super efficient, excellent condition and with all amenities was £40 for two of us. No massive credit check fees, no absurd admin fees and no contract renewal fees.

So folks, the options are out there if you are prepared to look for them. If your going to sit still and accept rip off fees then there really is no point complaining about them.

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Elizabeth 7th April, 2016 @ 15:29

I'm so mad at the estate agent I'm stuck dealing with. The rental market is desperately difficult in my area so I'm lucky to have snapped anywhere up at all.It was a 'two came along at once' situation where we had to chose within a hour between two agents. We picked the smaller house so less rent. The agent fees that were shared upfront were pricier but only slightly. THEN:
1. £400 referencing for 2 people. They 'accidentally' quoted the price for one. I confirmed for budgeting purposes between this, the admin fees, deposit and rent that there were no further costs until renewal time next year. Confirmed.
2. Incorrect moving date accepted then changed after we had committed to the property. This can't be negotiated (the tenants won't have moved out yet!) but it means we're homeless for 2 weeks and have to move twice, store our stuff, stay somewhere in commuting distance to work, etc. This costs loads and will impact on our ability to do our jobs properly for the two weeks especially when the weekends ether side of it are for moving. We'd obviously have taken the other house to avoid this.
3. Contract appeared, extra fees now! We have a cat and there is a £120 fee for that. I specifically checked the landlord was happy with a cat, any deposit adjustments for the cat, end of tenancy professional carpet cleaning etc but neglected to outright ask "are you going to charge me a made up fee at any stage for the cat" so here it is.

I am so angry that they can get away with stating new bullshit fees whenever they want, when I have repeatedly confirmed with them that I am in possession of the full list of fees. They can get away with it because there is no way I'd find another house in time and I'd lose the money I put in while they kept these fees hidden. HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE.

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Saul Hudson 7th April, 2016 @ 15:56

Actually Elizabeth they can't get away with it. If you have specifically asked them to disclose ALL fees before accepting the contract they cannot then add more fees afterwards.

If a moving date had been agreed then really it's the existing tenants that should be finding temporary accommodation not you.

And WTF you agreed to pay £400 for referencing I cannot understand! What were you thinking? It cost us just £40 for the two of us!

Don't let yourselves be blackmailed and bullied by this agent. For a start name and shame them because by not doing so you are allowing this bullshit to go on and others will fall into the trap. In any case any reputable agent...and I use the word "reputable" lightly, will want this bunch of cowboys out of business asap!

If you roll over and accept all this crap then things will remain the same and you will hit the same brick wall on your next move. Do what we did. Ditch the high street agents and go through somewhere like Openrent where the fees for tenants are almost non existant and you deal with the landlord direct. It works!

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David 8th April, 2016 @ 12:02

I agree with Saul

I would approach agent saying their fees are excessive and you will be taking things further.

Technically they entered into an agreement with you for a specific date and did not live up to their part of the contract.

You gave notice based on that and there is a consequential loss.

You could move in and then threaten the agent with legal action, inform the landlord as a courtesy of the incompetence of his agent and in fact you could say to him you can't afford to take property with all these fake fees

The Landlord may tell the agent they have screwed up and as such he is going to take you on directly without fees to either you or him as a way to avoid legal action against tenant.

Meanwhile inform prof. bodies agent is a member of that they made excessive charges, put a review on all agents and elsewhere.

The reality is if they are like this now they will be money grabbing maggots going forward.

I would seriously advise rejecting the property, something better will come along, they breached the contract so you can't be held accountable and you can demand your money back.

Do this via the landlord, I have seen landlord kick the agent to the curb and take the tenant on.

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Natasha 17th August, 2016 @ 22:09

Some agents in Manchester are charging up to 1,000 in Admin fees, Julian Wadden, Bridgefords to name but a few.
They are asking for half the rent for an admin fee, plus extras. If your rent is 900, then youre looking at thousands of pounds to secure a property. This has GOT to be illegal.
I'm shocked that they are able to get away with it.

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Saul Hudson 18th August, 2016 @ 07:20

They get away with it Natasha because everyone lets them. Until people stop using these rip off estate agents the whole scam will continue. Landlords are really to blame. If they start listing with the other online agencies who don't charge ridiculous fees such as Openrent then there would be no need at all for expensive High Street letting companies.

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David 19th August, 2016 @ 11:20

I suggest you use OpenRent, is good for landlords too!

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Regent Services 28th December, 2016 @ 18:17

Dear All,

I am thinking of opening a new agency and thought i would ask tenants and landlord views to know what makes them choose and agency.

i have worked in an agency before and i have read some of the comments here.

in stead of admin fees i think it should be a finders fee of a certain amount either for a land lord or a tenant.

taking full referencing it costs straight from the company an amount of £16.95 this adds another cost on top of finders fee. as this will be a service for landlords and tenants.

no one will do a job for free.

so taking comments and your reviews a finders fee + referencing fee if requested by landlord.

do let me know your views and comments as i can use some compliments and get closer to people in giving them good customer service.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 28th December, 2016 @ 18:48

@Regent Services
A new law is coming into play which will make it illegal for agents to charge tenants any form of 'admin fee', so you may want to base your pricing model around that...

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Regent Services 28th December, 2016 @ 19:37

@the landlord

i am aware of the new law coming into play soon but as for the fees of referencing and finding a place required by a tenant would come at a fee which i am trying to conduct in these comments as a finders fee. as no one would work for free or do something for somebody with no fee unless its a charity organization. as everyone is aware insurance companies, suppliers of electricity, gas, and any other organisation giving services.

also as an agent finding tenants for a landlord is a service that a person conducts and using sources, time and money to make it easier for landlords and making sure he gets the proper tenants to secure an income for a long time of period.

as for tenants coming to register with an agency, obviously they will know there will be a fee for finding their right property to suit their needs that is mentioned above called a finders fee.

i do wish for comments and suggestions from landlords and tenants if this would be a right thing to do.

thank you.

Regent Property & Relocation Services

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Renter 30th December, 2016 @ 05:15

Hi everyone,
There is an estate agent in Crawley, West Sussex called HOMES FOR YOU. Please try and avoid them at all costs, they are a fraud, and here's my story why.

I saw their advert on RIGHTMOVE for a two bedroom property for me and my partner. I called them and they arranged viewing, I went to view the property, then called them afterwards and told them I want the property but will have to come to their office the following day for the paperwork and every thing. Then the guy at the agent called me twice asking me to pay by card £360 for referencing for the two of us other wise someone else was gonna take the property. In desperation I paid.
We went to their office the following morning, and he hand over the referencing forms to us in order for us to fill them and return them back. He never mentioned anything about whether it's non refundable, and on rightmove where I found the adverts it doesn't say the fees were non refundable. What's more confusing, it says on rightmove that the £360 include referencing, administration, tenancy agreement and checkin..

Any way , we filled the referencing forms, took pictures and send them. The guy called us instantly and told us the referencing has failed and we are not going to get any money back.
When I check the credit checks firm they used it cost about £5 for each credit check. So it appears they are charging us for both a tenancy agreement and checkin even though we were unable to secure the property. Please avoid them at all costs. The guy there is a fraud.

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David 30th December, 2016 @ 14:17

If you used a Debit card ask for a chargeback, if you used a credit card report a dispute.

It costs £25 to check a tenant, maybe £50 for the pair of you, this is why I hate letting agents, they are all scum.

I celebrate every time I hear one go bust but as you will see on all agents they start over under a new name.

Go place your review on All Agents, name the person you dealt with. Create the listing if it does not exist.

Also complain to Rightmove, the RLA and other people they list on their website.

Complaint to ASA they say they have 20 years of experience but Leo Luongo started the business in 2011.

They also say they are the LEADING agent in Area, ask other agents if they are, if not, add that to ASA complaint.

Do not get mad, get even.

At least someone else might benefit from your poor experience.

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Gav 20th February, 2017 @ 22:46

I need to move to the town I work in. I've been looking for a few weeks now. I rent out my own house, with minimal agent charges.

So, in my hunt I have found this town has three main agents.
Open rent have no houses in the area thus far. Nor gumtree.

Agent 1: £499 administration + £150 moving in fee, +£120 renewal
Agent 2: £600 administration + renewal fees
Agent 3: £600 administration + £150 inventory (for both f & uf) + £100 something else

How absolutely ridiculous. The problem is they are all doing it!

What approach would anyone suggest to get them to charge "honest" fees?

The problem I see is they just refuse to deal with me.

Happy to pay what is reasonable as everyone has a job to do.

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clive 11th January, 2018 @ 12:57

Its one big con I just paid £300 admin fee to hirer a property for my granddaughter and her partner they now want myself to go as guarantor for her and for me to supplier my bank statements for the transaction to go forward the are charging me £50 for supplying my own information its seems one big rip off where letting agents are jumping on the band wagon,the letting agents should be billing the landlord as her or she are the ones wanting the let the property out to put all the admin fees on the client is unfair the law should be changed so you can charge these letting agents and the landlords your admin fees ie for running back and for banks cost of statements transport costs for running back and forth letting agents ect then lets see them complain I expect they admin fee is sending a letter the rest of the process is part of there working day and they should charge nothing.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 11th January, 2018 @ 13:14

As a landlord, I agree with you! The burden of covering the costs should only be with the landlord! But the thing is, we already pay through the nose for letting agency services, so it's crazy that they charge both tenant and landlord.

Fortunately, the 'tenant fee ban' will soon be in place (unfortunately, no good to you right now, as you already paid a small fortune), so then the agents won't be able to charge tenants!

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David 11th January, 2018 @ 13:28


I have been through the draft legislation that is coming and it is very comprehensive, it will put a stop to these invented fees by agents and Landlord (yes there are a few that do).

The only part of the proposed legislation that it will be reducing the maximum deposit to a month's rent, I feel that this should be a maximum of two months.

I see tenancy claims regularly which run over £10,000 so I think it is reasonable to have 2 months deposit (protected in the Government approved schemes) to be held for the performance of the contract.

Otherwise the only way Landlords will be able to protect themselves is to increase the rent itself which will add to the problems for tenants finding affordable accommodation.

I would urge all Landlord to write to their MP expressing their concern at this one month limit and ask for them to raise their concerns in the House of Commons or with the Minister directly. If you ask for the limit to be increased to 3 months (all of which protected in a scheme) then it may be extended to 2 months in due course.

















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