A stand against estate agents?
November 15, 2012 8:21 PM Subscribe
UK Estate Agents - worth taking a stand?
We're moving to a new, rented flat in London, and the estate agent (Hamptons) is insisting we pay an 'application to rent' ostensibly to enter into negotiations with the landlord (though everything has already been agreed), and it contains some shocking extra fees, all in addition to the contract fees, and the management fees they charge the landlord.
They require a £54 reference fee per tenant (they use Letsure, which costs £32.40), a £30 fee for any changes to the tenancy document, a minimum charge of £30 to get a reference from Hamptons at any time, £30 'admin' fee for any changes to the inventory document, £60 if you extend or renew the contract, £420 to change the name of a tenant on the contract, and most surprising of all if you terminate the tenancy early you, the tenant, are required to pay Hamptons the rest of the commission they would have been paid by the landlord.
Is this normal? Is it just us who think it is excessive? Is there anything we can do - on this occasion specifically, and to try and stop this kind of thing more generally? Hamptons is an international firm who seem to be pushing the boundaries of fleecing landlord and tenant, which, if they get away with it, is eventually is going to trickle through the market.
I've had a look at the trade associations but they seem toothless and the complaint procedure is arduous and for cases of specific malpractice. Estate Agents in general have a pretty poor reputation, and agent consumer review sites are few and seem to have little traffic, and also require reviews for specific branches rather than issue with the agency as a whole.
Should we just deal?