A “lettings agency with a conscience” that wants to put £30,000 into the local community over the next two years has launched with a claim that it will charge only “fair fees.”
The Ethical Lettings Agency in Redcar is a community interest company and a spokeswoman says: “There is no other agency that does what we do. We want to make a positive impact on the sector. We’re committed to reinvesting all our profits into the local community, through a grant programme for community groups.”
ELA’s schedule of charges to landlords includes £195 for finding a tenant or £250 for the finding service and sign-up. Income Management is nine per cent of monthly rent, while all-inclusive management is 14 per cent.
The more radical schedule is the one for tenants.
There is a £50 holding deposit when a tenant expresses an interest, to fund checks. £175 is charged to the tenant once a property is found and offered - this is a set figure, irrespective of the number of tenants named on the tenancy agreement. Unusually this £175 is waived if the tenant is in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
Other charges to tenants for one-off events range from £15 for a replacement copy of the tenancy agreement to £100 for an emergency repair call out that turns out to be a non-emergency.
"There are hundreds of thousands of landlords and over nine million people now living in privately rented homes, and yet there is no agency offering what our company will do” says Carla Keegans, director of the agency.
"Our ethos is to be transparent with tenants and landlords, where we will provide brilliant services, written agreements and have no hidden costs."