A campaign from charity group Shelter concerning the abolishment of tenants’ fees has come under fire from the Residential Landlords Association.
This claim is based on the proposal that landlords should fit the bill for costs of setting up a tenancy agreement.
Alan Ward, head of the RLA, was scathing in his attack of the charity’s campaign, saying that, “once again we have Shelter peddling the same anti-landlord rhetoric, seeking to place yet more costs on the shoulders of landlords.”
He went on, saying, “with almost 90% of landlords being either individuals or couples renting out just a few properties, Shelter seems to think that landlords have a bottomless pit of money to spend.”
Campaign on letting fees labelled anti-landlord
Ward points to an ill-fated scheme north of the border for one of the reasons for his concern, stating that, “a similar scheme in Scotland has put many letting agents out of business, thereby reducing choice for tenants and landlords.” Furthermore, Ward believes that the Shelter campaign will introduce, “excessive and unneeded red tape,” for landlords and associated costs will “drive up rents for the very same tenants them try to serve.”
Jonathan Monjack, is media lawyer and founder of landlords’ collective Happy Tenant Company. The group operates a £500m portfolio in Greater London and utilizes group-buying power.
Monjack observes that, “many landlords-particularly those who aren’t professional property investors-get ripped-off by letting agents who not only charge huge commissions for finding a tenant but also huge renewal fees simply for keeping the tenant in the property.”
One landlord has suggested that landlords are paying agents roughly £1.7bn per year. Monjack though, fears this figure could be even more. He says, “the £1.7bn figure relates only to the amount that landlords are paying to secure and keep a tenant. In actual fact, they often end up paying significantly more to agents via management fees, ambiguous and ubiquitous administration fees and hefty mark-ups on any maintenance works that need doing. Agents often earn yet more revenue via fees charged to tenants and backhanders from contractors.”
He goes onto suggest that landlords need to get out of the mind-set of seeing agents as a “necessary evil.”