Watch out for Edinburgh letting agents with hidden fees

When choosing Edinburgh letting agents, landlords should look for agents with high Google customer reviews and those with the ARLA Propertymark service guarantee. For many landlords, price will also play its part. Some Edinburgh letting agents will catch landlords’ attention with attractive low monthly management fees or claims of ‘no upfront fees’. However, dig a little deeper and it’s likely there will be other fees worth watching out for. Here are some of the hidden fees Edinburgh letting agents charge.

Exit fees – when the time comes for a landlord to take their property back, some agents will charge a hugely inflated and unfair fee to “compensate” for advertising and marketing costs from the start of the tenancy (often the shorter the length of the current tenancy the higher the fee).

Charges for serving notice at the end of a tenancy – Some letting agents will charge landlords when serving notice papers when bringing a tenancy to an end.

Change of Agent Fees – If the landlord-agent relationship breaks down and the landlord decides to manage the property themselves or appoint a different agent then some agents will attempt to charge a high fee to the landlord on their way out of the contract.

Marketing charges regardless of whether the property rents – instead of a ‘no win-no fee’ guarantee, some agents will charge landlords a marketing fee if the landlord decides not to proceed with letting or if the agent is unable to secure a suitable tenant.

Minimum management fee level – Some agents will hook landlords in with an eye-catching low management fee but will have a minimum fee regardless of property size (i.e. if the rent is £600 a month, a low management fee of 9%+Vat will be superseded by the agent’s “minimum fee” of £80+Vat per month).

Ad-hoc charges – it’s not uncommon for letting agents to have a ‘catch all’ charge for any work carried out by their team that doesn’t fit into their standard charging structure. Charges will vary depending on the experience of each member of the team with director level input upwards of £150+Vat/hour.

Charges for additional inspections – under their management agreement a letting agent may state “a maximum amount of X property inspections each year” and any additional visits will be chargeable. Some agents charge for their time assisting with 3rd part visits to the property including surveyor visits (for mortgage valuations) or for giving access for furniture deliveries or service contract inspections (i.e. Homecare).

Deposit Dispute Reporting fees – Some letting agents will charge a fee if they need to apply to a Tenancy Deposit Scheme to make a deduction from the tenant’s deposit (which is a very common occurrence, for example when tenants have not cleaned a property to the required standard or have marked a carpet or piece of furniture).

Charges for handling insurance claims – Some agents will charge a fee for dealing with insurance claims relating to a managed property.

And if that’s not enough – Some agents even charge landlords over 3 times the price of a stamp for posting out a monthly rent statement!

Looking at the list of charges above, landlords might well wonder what is actually included in their monthly management fee! When comparing letting agents it’s worth looking at agent’s management agreements to be sure they know of all fees chargeable. At Umega Lettings we have a very straightforward, completely transparent, fee structure comprising of a monthly management fee and a marketing fee, payable once a tenant moves into a property.