Is your letting agent ripping you off?

Is your letting agent ripping you off?

We know that there are a lot of factors which influence your decision when choosing an agent to manage your property and price is certainly one of them.

Whilst legislation is constantly being updated - encouraging agents to publicly display their fees - there are some hidden charges which your current agent may be keeping from you and are worth taking into account when comparing their service to others.

It is common practice in the lettings industry, particularly among corporate and franchise agents, to charge commission for the maintenance works which they arrange on your behalf and quite frankly when you're already paying a monthly management fee, we just don't think that's fair.

What happens is that an agent will have an unwritten agreement with their contractors that they add 15%, for example, onto the invoice so a job which should have cost you £100 could be inflated to £115 instead. The agent takes this additional £15 for themselves so whilst the invoice is amount is what you are charged, the contractor doesn't receive it all.

It doesn't stop there, though. Some agents push their luck even further by adding even more extortionate amounts of commission and mark-ups, quickly turning a £50 job into a £150 bill.

As a landlord, you are well within your rights to ask your agent if they are adding any commission onto works which they arrange on your behalf and each agent has a legal responsibility to declare where your money goes.

First of all, check your landlord contract as that's where an agent should declare very obviously any additional commission they are charging. If not, we encourage you to ask them to tell you in writing if they are adding commission and/or mark-ups to their contractor bills. Agent refusing to answer in writing? You probably have your answer.