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Letting Agents- Fees to tenants

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Sunday 29 October 2006 8.53am
My nephew has recieved a letter from the letting agents of the house he rents asking him to pay to renew his tenancy. 35 for 6 months and 45 for 1 year. I thought that only the landlord pays fees to letting agents. Can they do this? The agents he previously used also made this charge and with this agent, he was also charge a fee when taking on the tenancy. Again I thought only the landlords paid the fees. I would be very interested to know if these charges are allowed.
Monday 30 October 2006 11.53am
there should be a clause in his tenancy agreement that states he will be charged an admin fee for this service and how much it is.
Monday 30 October 2006 1.05pm
Fees like this are usually under the guise of preparing a tenancy agreement/renewal, or having references taken up. Eg not for the letting itself, which would be illegal. That said they can build up.

I am always astonished when I let through one of the larger agencies (OK then, Foxtons) how many additional charges there are, and how expensive each item is. My understanding is that tenants face similar treatment. The figures you quote sound cheap.
Monday 30 October 2006 4.20pm
It sounds as though he's being asked for a fee to renew his assured shorthold tenancy (AST) but as far as I'm aware, if he doesn't wish to renew, his tenancy will automatically convert to - I can't remember what it's called - the type of tenancy which gives the tenant the right to quit the property with one month's notice, and the landlord/letting agent to serve the tenant with two month's notice to quit. Not renewing his AST means he won't be protected by the certainty of at least another 6 months in the property, but it also means he'd be free to leave with one month's notice.

I am no expert on tenancy law and I don't know whether the landlord/letting agent can force the tenant to sign a new AST. But I do know that charging a fee for the renewal is perfectly standard practice.
Monday 30 October 2006 4.27pm
that is called a periodic tenancy, its what happens when an agreement ends, with no new contract in place, it seems like a fair price for admin and it is a legal document, i should imagine there was a fair bit of twoing ond froing before the new arrangement was arrived at, i wonder how much a solicitor would charge.
Monday 30 October 2006 6.04pm
Thanks for the replies. It is to renew his assured shorthold tenancy. If the cost seem quite cheap it is worth noting that it is not London prices and if it is just administration cost whydoes it cost more for a years lease afterall the only diffrence is the date not extra work involved.
Monday 30 October 2006 6.32pm
it does seem pointless to charge more for the longer term when its an admin fee, maybe he could opt for an extra year with a break clause at 6 months to save paying 35 twice
Monday 30 October 2006 6.59pm
Presumably because if he renews in two six month chunks the agent makes even more.

The agent has a fixed cost in terms of getting a standard tenancy drawn up in the first place, and a small variable cost of printing it off. So may want to make sure they make a certain amount at least out of a year's tenancy.

If I find a tenant myself I get a friendly agent to do the agreement for me at a cost of about 70 plus VAT. (No work involved as I have done the negotiation, but saves me involving solicitors who would probably charge more.) It is considered normal to share the cost between landlord and tenant, so 35 is very reasonable.

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