An online lettings platform is attacking agents for their fees, which it describes as a “waste” of landlord funds.
Hello Neighbour, a platform that currently operates only in London and some other southern England areas, says of the over one million rental properties in the capital, an estimated 760,000 use traditional high street letting agents.
It claims that with the average tenant in London staying in their rental property for two years, landlords are currently paying renewal fees on 380,000 properties each year.
The platform then claims the average fee is approximately 8.5 per cent including VAT “meaning that for an average London rent of £2,500 a month, landlords are handing over an additional £2,550 to letting agents for their current tenants to simply renew - literally money for nothing.” And a statement from the platform then accuses the industry further by saying such a fee is just for the second year and comments: “If a landlord is lucky enough to keep the tenant for a third year the cost just keeps adding up.”
The platform is launching a Stop Renewal Fees campaign - which people can sign only if they supply contact details.
Phil Shelley, chairman of Hello Neighbour, says: “For too long, high street agents have taken advantage of landlords by charging fees for things that just aren’t fair - especially renewal fees. It’s crazy to think that landlords are handing over this kind of money every time their tenants simply choose to stay in their home for another year.
“Punishing landlords for having a great property that people want to remain in is just absurd. Inevitably, these renewal fees get passed onto tenants through increased rents which many landlords need to do to make it viable for them. So in reality, both the landlords and tenants are the ones who suffer, while the letting agents’ revenues continue to soar.”
Hello Neighbour - founded in 2018 and currently operating in London, Brighton, Oxford, Guildford and Reading - says it is launching “a self-service offering” in January which will be available for the whole of the UK.