There are reports that list the number of Letting Agents over the 10,000 mark in the U.K. So you can imagine how different each agent handles their own business ventures. In all cases make sure you contact the letting agent you plan on working with to find out their policies and rates.
Here are a couple of the more common charges you can expect prior to moving in:
- A Retaining Deposit may be required by the letting agent once you’ve voiced your intent to rent in order to cover the agent in the event that you change your mind or the referencing check does not pass. Always ask first as to the amount, the policy for returning the deposit and how long you can expect before receiving the returned deposit.
- The agent may ask for you to cover Administration Charges. As this will vary from agent to agent, make sure you understand the cost and what that cost covers before you hand over a retaining deposit.
- Generally a Referencing Charge will be expected to be paid by the tenant, as the reference check that most agents run through are usually performed by a third party. If for some reason you fail the reference check you can expect that the agent will not be returning your retaining deposit.
- And of course there will be the Tenancy Deposit which will amount to approximately one month’s value of rent. This deposit will be kept by the landlord in order to cover any damages found at the end of tenancy. Avoid any discrepancies at the end by informing the landlord and/or agent of any damages found prior to moving in. You need to have this documented so your Tenancy Deposit will be returned to you.
These common costs can usually be found in detail on your letting agent’s website or by asking the agent for a copy of their policies and rates. By choosing an agent who is affiliated by an industry authority such as RICS, ARLA or NALS, you can rest a little easier knowing they follow the industry standards.
Of course nothing beats the personal referral. If you know someone who has had a successful and enjoyable experience with a particular letting agent, they will also be able to give you a better idea of any upfront costs that you should be aware of. Before you start your letting search make sure that you have the funds available to cover these upfront expenses as you will need them almost immediately.