The financial website thisismoney.co.uk has investigated the charges made by letting agents and come up with some disturbing stories. They found one agent who charged £30 to the tenant for leaving furniture out of place! There are wide variations in the amounts being charged to tenants for arranging tenancy agreements- thisismoney say that the fees in London range from £150 to £420, depending on the area.

In London, demand from potential tenants is high and so they have little option but to pay what is asked. Someone who needs a pace to live and is competing with other would be renters is not in a good position to haggle with the agent. Thisismoney suspects that high charges may be spreading from London to other areas of the country where demand is strong. Landlord insurance clients need to be aware of the fees charged because it could be that a property is empty because applicants have been put off by the agent’s high charges. A reputable agent who charges transparent and competitive fees is much more likely to attract good tenants than someone who treats applicants badly.

There is some evidence coming to light that rent arrears are rising as the economic gloom continues. In this climate it is more important than ever that your tenants are selected carefully and that the agent manages the property efficiently so that any problems such as late payment are dealt with as soon as possible. Finding a good agent is often a question of obtaining a recommendation from other landlords in your area.