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06 June 2016
Letting Fees: Just Say No
Letting Fees: Just Say No

Letting Fees: Just Say No

Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to move around a lot, living in Australia, Asia and a variety of places up and down the UK. This has meant that the short term rental property has been my home and as a result I have become pretty used to dealing with landlords and letting agents and developed a far more intimate understanding of their fees systems than I had perhaps desired. The good news is that there are a multitude of ways of avoiding some of the major costs that you can incur as you look for a property to rent, whether you are looking for somewhere to crash for a couple of months or a place to set up home for the foreseeable future.

The ‘agent fee’ is that extra bit of cash that can often be the really gut wrenching part of moving into a new place. You realise that you are going to have to pay a bond and the first month up front but then you get hit with the agent fees and the admin fees and suddenly what you thought you could afford has you desperately short of cash. The most frustrating thing is that it feels like you are being charged for simply being a customer, on top of what you are already handing over but you can get round this problem with minimal difficulty.

The easiest way is to avoid using agents altogether. The purpose of the the agent is twofold; firstly to get the landlord in touch with tenants and secondly to maintain that property for them. Despite the initial fees it is through the years of maintenance fees they get from their landlords that letting agents make their real money, so while the landlords may feel that they need agents, you certainly don’t.

The reason for this is simple. The internet has cut out the need for a middle man because you can go straight to the landlord and they can come straight to you FOR FREE. Gumtree is just one UK based site which can put you directly in touch with landlords up and down the country completely free of charge, just like the used to in the newspapers.

I say ‘used to’, but of course there are still plenty of properties for rent advertised in local rags by landlords. In fact what we are seeing now is a real mix of old ideas with new technologies and you can use that to your advantage if you want to avoid paying through the nose for fees. Not only can you use word of mouth directly with your friends and family but with your chums on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. If a friend tells a friend of your need for a new place, they might know another friend who has just the place you are looking for. Play on the notion of six degrees of separation and shorten those distances with the internet.

Now it should be noted that there are a few letting agencies which offer properties without any agents fees. Usually this means paying a small amount up front which is then tacked on to your deposit and returned to you assuming everything is completed at your end on time but these places are few and far between. Over the last 6 years I have used this advice to rent 9 properties in all corners of the globe and it has saved me well over
?1,000 so avoid the agents fees and you can enjoy a bit more of your money for yourself.