Q I’ve been looking around for a rental flat but different agents seem to quote different admin fees. What should I be asking?
A ADMIN fees are all of the charges made by agents. There’s a lot being said on this subject at the moment. Given that renting is becoming more and more common, I think a standard needs to be set. But, as lettings agents (sadly) aren’t yet regulated or required to be part of any redress scheme, you’re better off using an agent who is at least a member of ARLA or another professional body, which will give you more protection.
Agents are supposed to tell you about admin charges up front, so make sure you ask if your agent doesn’t volunteer the information.
Most good agents will charge around £200 for the agreement and £45 per tenant for referencing. The problem is that renting is an immediate process and emotion gets in the way, so unscrupulous agents will take advantage of this.
To protect yourself, you should ask for the drawing up of the tenancy agreement, the checking of references and a week’s rent as a deposit that is then refunded against the first months rent.
The supply of rental property is increasing so my advice is to take it easy, have a good look around and ask lots of questions.