Last week we posed the question “What’s wrong with letting agents?” The response we received by email and on our Facebook and Twitter pages was huge.

Today we publish some of the comments we have been sent. Obviously we are not in a position to independently verify these comments and so we publish them with the warning that these are comments submitted to us and we hold no responsibility for their accuracy.

  • (The Letting Agent) tried to charge us £600 for not cleaning the bathroom when we moved out. We got legal advice and all of a sudden it reduced to £100, still much more than it would have cost to pay a cleaner for an hour.
  • In my experience they are lovely to you until you sign a contract then they don’t want to know.
  • High fees for tenants! and i have contacted 8 or so agents over the last 2 days about properties we are interested in viewing and only one has replied!
  • I think that landlords are as dismayed as tenants by the services that agents offer, and the high prices they charge for everything.
  • More like what’s wrong with the whole system it’s getting so the average person can’t rent property now all the charges etc was quoted nearly 3k the other day for deposit and associated charges
  • 3 words can describe what’s wrong with letting agencies; unscrupulous, moneygrabbing toerags
  • Paying for these searches and then house falls through but you can’t take the search with you to another agent and even if you could another agent would still want to do another!
  • Letting agents are a no no for me after a particularly bad experience. In fact the landlady regretted ever using them too. I’m now with a private landlord who simply is the best there is!!
  • I rang an agent about a house asked ‘THE’ question does the landlord take ‘pets & HB’ and was told put your application in which costs 50.00 an then we’ll let you know, the application fee isn’t refunded. I can’t afford to lose 50.00 on an application that isn’t going to go through.
  • Well there’s good and bad tenants. Good and bad landlords. And good and bad agents. I’ve always gone private but am with an excellent agents now. I must say i have dealt with some bad agents too though.
  • Greedy agents working with greedy/poor landlords on the whole
  • The one I’m with it cost me £180 for me and my daughter to be checked then £120 for the lease, then because I had no guarantor I had to pay the 6 months up front PLUS another month for a bond. Then they charge me £120 to renew the lease every 6 months.
  • They rob people blind! A thousand pound or more to move in!!!! This is Blackpool for God’s sake!
  • As far as I’m concerned every letting agent should be monitored and there should be a fixed fee that should be the same for all of them. I appreciate they have to make some money but this is disgusting!!!
  • On the day we moved into our house, we noticed that our shower didn’t work properly. On the second anniversary we left the house. Still no shower repair.
  • It might be easier to ask “what’s right with letting agents?”
  • We had a nightmare of a time with (Letting Agent), rudeness, unhelpfulness, lack of punctuality and customer service, coupled with a really bad landlord who actually aggressively started on me when i was with my children in B&Q.
  • We rent through an agent and couldn’t believe what we had to pay them upfront.

Time and time again the issue of fees came up, as we highlighted in our original article. The law states that agents have to publish their fees, the intention being that tenants can walk away if they consider that the fees the agent is charging are too high. The reality is that with limited availability of property and many more tenants chasing fewer properties agents know they can charge what they like and tenants have no choice but to pay if they want somewhere to live.

Many tenants told us that their agent simply wasn’t interested in resolving problems with the property. Requests for repairs go unanswered far too often or take far too long to complete.

Sadly, very few agents felt it worthwhile to defend their industry, none were prepared to explain high charges but as we said in the original article there are excellent agents out there, finding them is a real problem though. One agent said: “I think we may be in for a bit of a ribbing but I’d like to defend good practice by agents…” but that is hardly the robust defence we believe agents need to conduct.

Letting agents are a key part of the Private Rented Sector in the UK but it does seem that the majority of tenants feel they receive a poor and expensive service from them. Landlords also feel that they are being short changed by agents. There needs to be an open and frank debate about the future for letting agents and that’s currently not happening.

However, it’s not all one-sided as we will examine in future posts when we look at tenants and landlords.

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