Housing charity Shelter have recently called for landlords to pay the costs of setting up tenancies through letting agents, instead of tenants. In my opinion this is totally unrealistic … and somewhat naive.

What do Shelter expect to happen once agents and landlords are faced with the full costs associated with a new tenancy? It doesn’t take a genius to work it out. One of two things will happen. Either their business will be put under massive financial strain which may lead to them going out of business completely, or else they will simply increase the rent to cover the charges.At the moment a range of associated costs are not charge to tenants, including checks and certificates associated with services such as gas and electric and other repairs. Tenants would be left wide open to ruthless agents who will seek to exploit administration charges, damage claims, etc. Administration fees are probably the most divisive aspect often causing major problems with fees varying widely across the UK.

Agents fees must be transparent from the start of the tenancy and tenants need to be aware of exactly how much is payable and at when. Although letting agents can be expensive, tenants can choose which letting agent to use, but they are unlikely to be a cheap option?