Investing in Property – Landlords, do you read your letting agent’s fine print?

Don't be caught out by the fine print

I was speaking with Karen over the past few weeks about lettings stories for the book we are writing and one of the things I realised was that many clients simply don't read the documents they sign, let alone the fine print that is attached.

Here's some examples:

UNSUCCESS FEE – In recent months we have had agents that in the fine print have a clause that says something to the effect that if you don't proceed with them, even if they take a year to find you a tenant, you will pay them £75. The same clause on another agent's says £300, another 50% of the original asking rent. All of these are ridiculous and you should never sign anything that has this.

FIRST LESSON – Everything is negotiable. So negotiate!

Don't be afraid to cross things out and make changes to their terms and conditions, if they don't like it then find another agent.

UPFRONT FEE – Another example is an agent asking for £200 fee upfront before they find you a tenant. Other examples are £150 upfront, yet another a full month's rent.

SECOND LESSON Never pay the letting agent anything until they find you a tenant for your investment property.

You should never have to do this. Until they perform don't give them a penny because you just know that once they get their money they can relax.

Gladfish is the answer

Sure it's a blatant plug but the team are trained to look out for all these things and will normally negotiate them away before you see them but on some cases the agent will forget and if you sign the documents they can then enforce them. This is why you need to read the fine print, this and because it's just good advice to always read it.

If you have any questions please call us on+44 (0)207 923 6100 option 3 and they can explain what to watch out for.

Live with passion,
Brett Alegre-Wood