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Steve Peckham
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Steve Peckham
The response whenever anyone complains about agent fees is usually to say that banning them will simply result in rent being put up to compensate. But that would actually be a substantial improvement on the current situation as far as tenants are concerned. The cost would presumably be the same as it is now to tenants, but there would be a clear choice available as to where you choose to rent. At present what we have is a situation where the majority of rental properties all have large agent fees so there is no choice available. You generally just have to take it on the chin and pay the fee regardless. If the fees get rolled up into the rent, however, then tenants can simply pick whichever property matches their budget. In essence we'd have genuine market forces at play - some properties being more expensive than others, tenants choosing to go to the ones that are best value - rather than the status quo, which is essentially an arbitrary tax on renters that exists almost independently of the nature of the property. There's also a degree of insincerity about the way agents have to operate in this context which tends to annoy people (hence why you end up with petitions like this). We know agent fees are there to cover overall costs, yet they're obliged to write a list of tasks that are supposedly being directly paid for by the fees - as if it really does cost hundreds of pounds to print off a standard tenancy agreement. If it's rolled into the rent then it might not change the overall cost for tenants on average, but it would take most of the heat out of this issue (which isn't going to go away any time soon).

From: Steve Peckham 05 May 2016 15:41 PM

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