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Purplebricks ramps up attack on "questionable" agency fees

Hybrid letting and sales agency Purplebricks is ramping up its attack on high street agents with a claim that prospective tenants “are being forced to pay over £1,000 in questionable fees” before they can obtain the keys and move in.

A statement from the company, accompanying research based on mystery shopping of 284 agencies around the UK, says existing charges from traditional letting agents “have spiralled out of control”.

The mystery shopping exercise was of agents chosen at random by Crosbie Communications, a marketing company acting for Purplebricks; it found the average fee for administration and referencing was £257 per tenant for a standard rental agreement.

It claims some agents charge as much as 60 per cent of a month’s rent - possibly over £1,000 - with additional optional costs including: 

- inventory fee up to £340;

- ID checks up to £9;

- additional fees for a partner or fellow lodger of up to £125;

- moving in on a Saturday, which can cost £130;

- additional charges and/or deposits for keeping pets at the property.

“Making small changes to existing contracts also mean more eye-watering charges. One agent wanted £300 to extend the tenancy while another asked for £320 to print and post a contract if a tenant did not have an email address” says Purplebricks.

When it comes to moving out of rented accommodation, the hybrid agency claims a final inventory check costs tenants up to £200. Losing a key can bring a £60 bill and forgetting the end of the energy and phone contracts costs another £50. Leaving any article behind can result in a £30 ‘clean-up’ charge, it says.

Wanting a reference for a new home from an agent is as much as £60, while paying by credit card can add another three per cent on the bill.

“The fees currently charged by agencies lack transparency and tenants are faced with an array of extra charges they simply can’t avoid if they want to rent a particular flat or house. Some of these are outrageous and bear no relationship to the actual cost of drawing up a contract or making a credit check” claims Purplebricks chief executive Michael Bruce.

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    Well they didn't call Martin & Co Bognor Regis. We don't charge tenants for the Inventory, end of tenancy reference, items left in the property etc. please don't tar all agents with the same brush because we're not. We find mainly corporate agents charge silly fees!

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    What do Martin & Co charge exactly??? Couldn't find Martin & Co fees on their website - googled Martin & Co fees and found a lot of gobbledegook, but no figures. Therein lies the problem I am afraid. Listing the exact amount a tenant will pay in agents fees for each property advertised is the only way forward. That way the tenant can decide if they want to find property through that particular agent. If this was compulsory (with heavy fines for non-compliance) and assisted by the portals, fees would come down very quickly indeed.

     
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    They didn't ask our agency either!!!

    We charge a maximum of £310.00 for 1 tenant to move into a property and that includes the check out fee.

    Not being funny, but most properties are usually put with more than 1 agent for lettings and all agents must display their fee's online so not hard for a tenant to find the right property with the cheapest fee's.

  • John Evans

    Hybrid - a thing made by combining two different elements.
    You are either 'high street' office offering full and complete service with no up front fees or a call centre agent charging up front sell or not fees. To be hybrid you would need to have high street offices and offer all types of service. I understand the is research saying purple bricks only sell 15% of what they take on.

  • John Evans

    Do purple bricks own or pay Letting today for this propaganda?

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    Quite frankly I think all the hype about excessive Agents fees somewhat 'generalised'. We are a small independent firm and our fees are very reasonable at £70 per applicant with a 50% contribution towards the Inventory and Schedule of Condition!

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    Lies. We charge £199 for two applicants with no extra charges for anything at all

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    Bit rich of Purple Bricks when they charge at least £849 up front for simply LISTING your property.

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    Purple Bricks charge £188.80 per tenant plus min inventory fee of £108.00, so three tenants would pay £464.40 well above the average outside of London. Landlord fees are advertised as 'No Commision' but when you check for a property valued at £750.00 Pcm there is a £425.00 one off fee plus management fee at £66.00 Pcm not sure waht they mean by No Commision !! And that does not include an inventory or inspections according to there website of wahts included.

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