Estate Agents used to strut around when selling houses as they couldn’t shift them fast enough. You snooze, you lose was the general feeling. These days in the UK the property sales market is v. v. weak yet the Lettings market is incredibly robust. Rents are high reflecting high demand and limited supply much as you learnt in Economics 101. As the estate Agents are no longer wallowing around in fat sale commissions and are relying on income from their lettings side they have decided that they obviously can’t keep sticking it to the Landlords who have the power to choose who represents them but instead they will screw the person with no options. To whit: the renter.
I am renting a property right now and not only do I pay a deposit – very understandable – but I pay a mixture of other non-refundable fees that are the Estate Agents cost of doing business. They have worked out that they can not only pass these costs on for things like reference checks but hell, why not skim a bit on the side and round it up a little? They farm out reference checks to a third party on-line but it is apparently £60 per check. £60, give me a break. After all, they want the house, we’re the agents, demand is high, it’ll rent regardless…drop your trousers sir. The “screw you” attitude gets better. I pay a deposit over the phone with my Debit Card and they even want to pass on the 30 pence (50 cents) handling charge on a £320.00 transaction. Talk about being nickeled and dimed to death.
The complete absurdity of the total lack of business acumen (not my job ‘guv, rules are rules) displayed by the chap in the office that obviously isn’t his? When I ask about my receipt the clown offers to post it. At least a £1 operation. I declined and tried to make the point that I wasn’t going to be petty and he could staple it to the inevitable hard copy of the rental agreement. Deaf ears, he just didn’t see.
When I go to the supermarket I don’t stand at the till and pay a further cleaning charge, staff pension supplement, stacking fee etc etc. What you see is what you pay. All those things are the cost of doing business. estate Agents are always mystified as to why they are considered in such a poor light. I wonder why no-one wants to sit by them at a dinner party? I wonder.
PS: Kiss me first in the title stems from the crude but apt saying; I like to be kissed when I am screwed.
3 thoughts on “Kiss me first Mr Estate Agent”
I found your blog post following a Google Alert and, as another local letting agent, I’m always interested to read what applicants/tenants think. Out of interest, did you have any contact with other agents? What did you think of their customer service?
You can either reply here, or you can email me. I’ll put my email address in below and assume that you (as the author of the blog) can see it? Let me know if not!
The situation deteriorated today when the agent sent paperwork allegedly pertaining to the property but all the fields that only they and the Landlord know answers to are blank leading us to have to waste loads of time chasing them for the info. Especially galling when it is things we have already discussed.
I have emailed their Director to give them the opportunity to sort out their shabby act. If so then nothing more. If not, expect them to be clearly named (after we are ensconced in property!).
Just to let you that it only cost 10 pounds only to do credit check. You could do it your self and send the paper work into the agency. There are a number of online websites for credit checks. Also there are some online rental agents that are far cheaper than Lettings Agents.
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