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What Tenants SHOULD and SHOULDN’T have to pay for

There’s a great deal of time and effort that goes into setting up and maintaining a tenancy, and the fees charged by property agents reflect this work.

However, we understand that the rental process can be daunting and occasionally confusing and will always endeavour to make sure our tenants are completely clear about what they’ll have to pay, both before and during their tenancy period with us.

But all agents are different and navigating your way through the varying fee structures can be confusing.

Which is why we’ve decided to put together a list of fees and charges you may be charged as a tenant, and a couple of things that you definitely shouldn’t have to pay for.

Application Fee

This is a fee required to process your application forms and is usually offset against any other administration fees charged by the agent. If you decide not to proceed with the tenancy or your references do not meet the required standard, this fee may not be refundable.

Drawing up a contract

Often referred to as the ‘tenancy agreement’ which is a contract between you and the landlord. 

The fee covers drawing up the contract (which will most likely be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement) as well as any other administrative tasks associated with this, such as the inbound inventory and the cost of phone calls and photocopying.

Credit Checks

This covers the cost of the lettings agent conducting credit checks, using a credit reference system such as Experian or Equifax.  If you’re in a couple, the agency may credit check both of you, even if only one of you is responsible for paying the rent.

Reference Checks

This covers the cost of the lettings agent obtaining references on any tenants named in the tenancy agreement/contract. The agent will usually contact your employer and previous landlords. Guarantors will also be checked.

Holding Deposit

This is a sum of money paid to a landlord or property agent to reserve or ‘hold’ a rental property before the tenancy agreement is signed, to take it off the market. Holding deposits are usually deducted from your main deposit, but are usually non-refundable if you were to withdraw your application.

Rent in advance

Prior to moving into the property, you’ll be required to pay your first months rent in advance

Tenancy Deposit

Tenancy deposits provide landlords with protection in case tenants were to leave the property without paying their rent, or cause damage to the property or its contents. The deposit is usually equivalent to one or two months rent.

Your deposit must be protected with a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme, and should be returned in full at the end of the tenancy, providing you’re up to date with the rent and haven’t caused any damage. Your landlord is entitled to make reasonable deductions from your deposit to cover certain losses.

Tenancy Renewal

This covers the cost of renewing a contract at the end of a tenancy agreement, should the tenants decide to stay on at the property. This is also the time at which the landlord is able to increase the rent if they choose to.

 

You should NOT have to pay for

 

Registering with a letting agent

It is a criminal offence for a lettings agent to charge you for registering with them, or for showing you a list of properties to rent

Routine inspections during tenancy

This is a cost covered by the landlord and should not be passed on to the tenant