I was recently celebrating my sister’s birthday and what would have been my Dad’s 65th birthday. Whilst doing so my brother-in-law pointed out the promotion on the pack of a popular crisp snack; “Collect 3 packs and get a free Bluetooth speaker**”
Except the ** referred to a host of terms and conditions including the fact you need to pay £3 towards postage. Why not just say: “Collect 3 packs and get a Bluetooth speaker for £3”.
And it reminded me of some letting agents’ promotions. 0% management fees to landlords, free management and free this and free that. All with the caveat that it’s only for a certain time frame or that other fees apply, making the saving completely redundant.
The simple answer as to why companies do this is it is attention-grabbing marketing, designed to get people to contact the promoter, who then has one foot in the door.
I feel there is a lack of transparency amongst some letting agents in regards to the fees they are charging (to both landlords and tenants), which was one of the reasons I started CRJ Lettings in 2013.
Even though it is now a legal requirement for letting agents to publish all their fees to both landlords and tenants on their website and in their offices, many don’t comply and the authorities seem to do nothing about it. Price on application or fees negotiable by property type is not permissible and contracts should be free of hidden nasties tucked away in the small print.
It was sad to hear recently from two sets of prospective tenants who were shocked to find their previous letting agent was withholding a reference unless they paid them a fee. I believe in the notion of charging a fair and transparent price for a great service and not trying to make a few extra quid in the short-term just because I could.
One London agent is in bother because of this; charging landlords a percentage on top of a commission for organising basic maintenance (isn’t that the point of already paying for a ‘full’ management service?).
You can find a full list of my services and fees on my website. It amounts to this: a full management service is just £99 per month. There’s no VAT, no setup fees, no renewal fees and no hidden extras. £1,188 per year to let and manage your property, whatever its rental value.
And that’s my business model – simple and transparent; take on nice properties (there’s lots of these around Chichester), choose good tenants (lots of them around Chichester too), keep my overheads low and my service levels high.
If you’re a landlord and wish to work with a letting agent who is passionate about providing a good service to everyone at a fair price, without the hidden complexities you sometimes find in the industry, please get in touch.