MPs tell cowboy letting agents to skidaddle

18 July 2013

A group of MPs are campaigning to introduce tighter restrictions on ‘cowboy’ letting agents, who charge random and often illegal fees to line their increasingly overstuffed pockets.


Committee chairman Clive Betts called the letting sector ‘The property industry's Wild West’, and that they should play fair or saddle up and mosey on out. (Then he expectorated into a spittoon).

According to Shelter, the letting industry is ‘out of control’, and over a third of all complaints to the Office of Fair Trading relate to unreasonable fees and charges on top of deposits and rent. On average, tenants in England are paying £350 to letting agents for dodgy ‘registration’ or ‘processing’ fees.

Some have to pay up front, but there are other letting agents who slyly introduce charges after a contract has been signed.

The Committee’s report suggests that letting agents must abide by the same standards as estate agents, and that the OFT can kick their asses if they don’t. They also say that letting agents should be transparent about fees before a contract is agreed.

Anyone who is renting knows that the rot goes deeper than hidden charges and slippery extras – properties in disrepair, lack of support and communication, extortionate rents - but it’s a start.

Maybe soon we’ll be able ride off into the sunset on a nice 2 bedroom flat close to transport links - without having to worry that the landlord is a villain.

TOPICS:   Home   Complaints   Economy   Government


  • Justin A.
    Just been hit with one of these. £35.25 as a renewal fee to have another year's lease on a property/contract renegotiated and agreed upon. No idea whether it's legal or not, I just assume it's above board but resent paying it. What I found worse is when a year's rent amount has been agreed on and then they attempt to raise it mid-year. I explained that I only agreed to rent again based on the rent staying at a guaranteed level for a year and that was accepted. They then backed off. Shysters.
  • gulz
    When I initially rented my flat nearly 2 years ago, I was asked to sign the t&c. There was a £250 charge for a check-in, £250 charge for a check-out and £150 for renewal of contract. I told them that I wasnt gonna pay that. After negotiation with them, I struck out those sentences of the t&c and signed it. Last year when the contract was renewed, they tried to extort £150 renewal charge out of me. I showed them the t&c I signed and threatened to take the matter to OFT. They backed off. I bet the same thing's gonna happen this year again in a couple of months time when the 3rd year starts!
  • andy y.
    And we don't need to use some old actor flying upside down in a helicopter to sell you a Jerzy Home
  • shiftynifty
    A subject bought up time and time again, and as any renter ain`t never gonna change it`s even worse than they are trying to sell a shit flat with flowery comments...i.e stunning views...transport links...
  • fibbingarchie
    Everyone knows those who work in the Letting Industry do so because they're epic failures at everything else, and that includes Estate Agency. It's one of the least regulated sectors in the economy, so no wonder all the shady, fucktards gravitate there.
  • Keith C.
    My worst experience was with REB lettings in Rhuddlan, North Wales- they are complete con merchants. Despite having £10k in the bank and being willing to pay an entire rental contract up front, they said the landlord didn't want me as a tenant as I was 'inbetween jobs'. Surely complete bollocks as I had just finished a job in order to take a new one, hence me moving into the area. What landlord would turn down six months rent up front from a tenant with a good job! Of course, they kept the £300 fee, suggesting that they had a couple of landlords who would be willing to accept me, if I paid the fee again. Clearly they saw my bank statements as a way to make more money- after all, the ONE phonecall to my previous employer, ONE look over my bank statements, and ONE call to my previous landlord didn't take £300 of staff time, did it? No such problems with their competitors Peter Large in Rhyl! I've had my revenge- of the twenty odd staff who have moved here since I started work, I have told all of the to avoid REB so they've lost a lot of cash :)
  • property s.
    Its sad when rogue estate agents operate like this as it will make every ones job allot harder when dealing with the general public looking at these options when renting there needs to be an industry standard code of practice that these agents have to work by with regards to fees they charge when renting a property to safe guard people from sometimes over inflated fees.

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