Letting agency standards and fees Agency fees, Retainer fees
Letting Agency Standards
If you have chosen to rent student accommodation through a letting agent, you should be aware that there any many different organisations that agents can become part of. They set standard levels by which agents must adhere too.
We would recommend you choose agents who are members of the following organisations:
- The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
- The Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers
- The Association of Residential Letting Agents
- The National Association of Estate Agents
In addition to these organisations, letting agents who are accredited with the National Approved Letting Scheme have also agreed to meet the National Agency Letting Standards.
Can the letting agents charge a fee for finding student accommodation?
Many letting agencies charge a fee for finding you a property that you choose to rent. They cannot charge you a fee for simply providing details about student accommodation on the market.
Fees vary from as little as £30.00 per person to over £200.00 and are generally non-refundable, so choose the right accommodation to keep your outlay low. When we chose our accommodation the letting agent would not negotiate the fee, but some agencies will. It’s worth a go, particularly if there is little interest in the area or property.
A retainer fee is a fixed amount of money that a tenant agrees to pay in advance of the tenancy start date to secure the accommodation. There are two instances in our experience where a retainer could be paid:
- To stop the accommodation being let to anyone else just before you sign your tenancy agreement, i.e. taking it off the market.
- To keep the accommodation over the summer break if your tenancy is for 9 months only (the student academic year) – you may wish to pay a retainer fee over the summer period to keep the property for you to rent next year.
Are there any other fees that agencies may charge?
Additional fees may be charged, such as a fee for renewing your tenancy agreement. If you are moving in with people you are likely to remain friends with after your first year, it’s worth asking the letting agents what this fee will be – it could be over £200.00 per tenant, so it is worth knowing and trying a spot of negotiation. If you agree to a 2 year letting period you could save on any rent increase.
These are the main agency fees, but we would recommend you clarify all the fees the letting agency may charge. Including the amounts and circumstances under which other fees could be imposed.
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