By Steve Roulstone

Shelter part 2

The Shelter perspective:

Shelter answer many questions within their report, far too many for me to comment on in these pages, but clearly they see high fees as the issue, but do not support a reasonable charge, rather preferring that all Tenants should be able to rent property at no charge. I do not understand why and see the reasoning behind their assumption as a strike against any organisation that has to be able to make a profit rather than a conclusion that makes any sense.

They fail to recognise that many Agents are reasonable and charge fees far lower than what they call unfair, making charges easily visible and making it possible for Tenants to remain within the property of their choice with very little financial impact for the life of the Tenancy. At Castle Estates, as a Franchise organisation, we were all taught the need to have fees which are justifiable. We are now independent offices, but the replies I received to my question of fees before writing this Blog from our offices, all confirmed rates around half of the average quoted by Shelter.

Whilst on this tack, what about the information they make this judgement upon? Where did that come from? They state on two occasions in the report that 1 in 4 people in England and Wales have complained about being overcharged by Agents. But then, if you read carefully, confirm that the 1 in 4 is actually based upon those who responded to a request for information in the first place and so forgive me, but in my opinion, it is better described as from the complaints received, 1 in 4 related to Agents fees, because unless Shelter can tell me differently, people who have nothing to complain about, would rarely respond or contact them? Perhaps they can confirm to the contrary?

They also state that a complete ban on Letting fess is the best solution, because they have conducted many surveys and mystery shopping schemes around the Country, but do not actually give any other figures or conclusions about the surveys other than the 1 in 4 figure. I would like to see this figure clarified and further proof of why  a total ban is the only solution, because the impact they see from what has happened in Scotland is clearly only considered from the Tenants point of view and for any change to be fair, surely all sides need to be considered?

The implications I know of, without having to check many sources, is the that many Tenants are now aware that they can pursue more than one property at no cost to themselves and decide which property is more suitable as the process continues. In one case, a Landlord paid for four sets of referencing fees before finding a Tenant that would complete. In one case, being advised the day before a Tenancy was due to start that they were not preceding. The result in another case was the property was taken of the market in support of a prospective Tenant, for four weeks and yet they still advised the Agent concerned, that another more suitable property had become available.

There are those who would say so what to these details, but Landlords, who Shelter clearly agree are desperately needed in the housing market, are having to now respond to the whim of Tenants. Is that what Shelter wish to propose through the whole Country?

I could go on, but will just restrict to asking again, why are reasonable fees not an acceptable solution? Shelter state because they could be challenged through the Courts! Well forgive me, but I thought the point of the Courts was for all practises to be able to be challenged? Rather, legislative restrictions to fees would be created through the Courts. Is that not a fairer way rather than a total ban?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation