London Scotland

Shelter want an end to agent fees

Written by RLA

Commenting on the launch today of Shelter’s new campaign to stop letting agents spreading their fees between tenants and landlords in favour of landlords shouldering all of the costs, Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association has said…

Commenting on the launch today of Shelter’s new campaign to stop letting agents spreading their fees between tenants and landlords in favour of landlords shouldering all of the costs, Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association has said:

“Once again we have Shelter peddling the same anti-landlord rhetoric, seeking to place yet more costs on the shoulders of landlords.

“With almost 90 per cent of landlords being either individuals or couples renting just a few properties, Shelter seems to think that landlords have a bottomless pit of money to spend.

“A similar scheme in Scotland has put many letting agents out of business, thereby reducing choice for tenants and landlords.

“Shelter’s campaign to impose on landlords excessive and unneeded red tape and costs will only serve to drive up rents for the very same tenants they try to serve.”

The majority of housing agents provide a quality and professional service that enables tenants and landlords alike to confidently enter into contracts and agreements which result in safe and affordable housing for tenants, and income for landlords. Expecting landlords, who may not operate as just landlords, to take on this extra responsibility is an impossible task for some.




About the author



The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.


  • As a letting agent in Scotland I could not agree more with this article. Shelter have long had a very aggressive anti-letting agent ethos. The problem in Scotland is that we (and our representing bodies) did not do anywhere near enough to fight our own side and let Shelter trample all over us.
    I hope if they are trying this in other parts of the UK that agents dont sit back and let it happen.
    This article has completely correctly identified that landlords do not have bottomless pits of money to spend and the vast majority of landlords and agents work very hard and do a great job despite what Shelter would like you to think

  • I do think Shelter do not understand matters fully. They hear one side of the argument from tenants with the poor quality landlords in many cases and then knee-jerk campaigns follow. They forget there are many good landlords with good tenants who would never even think of going to the Shelter web site! However, some agents do use sharp practise and charge excessive fees to tenants and these agents will provide the fodder for Shelter to run their campaign against you as a good landlord lumping you in with the poor landlords. Just maybe landlords should be more careful in their appointment of agents that use sharp practise or charge their tenants excessive fees but saves the landlord a little money or avoids them paying a fee. Using an agent who charges excessive fees to your tenant will not set up the relationship between landlord and tenant favourably. I stopped using one agent when more than one of my tenants told me how arrogant the agent was to them. Act responsibly, think about your tenants position and it will be self rewarding in most cases.

  • The sad facts are Shelter will force rents upwards.
    Afterall, what happens to the costs we landlords have incurred as a result of licensing fees, extra H and S costs, etc, etc.
    We slowly lob it onto the rent.
    It really is the tenant that ends up paying for everything.
    Just doesn’t pay it all today.
    The tenant ends up staying trapped as a tenant.

    Shelter MAY claim to have the interests of the tenant at heart but, sadly it’s more of a hatred of landlords that it is displaying.

    And that will eventually cost the tenant. Regardless.

  • Of course, Landlords do not have bottomless pits of money and neither do tenants when trying to set up a home.
    Some letting agents do go too far in milking tenants for excessively priced and oft repeated fees which reflects badly on the private rental sector and leaves tenants coffers drained with other set up costs and the next rent day fast approaching.

    Skinning the tenants, evicting and skinning the next lot is not in the interest of the vast majority of well intentioned decent landlords, tenants or agents. Fair agents who take a long term view will be around to serve their clients for longer.

    P. Turner, Residential Landlord

  • I agree with the Shelter campaign. We are in the 90% – a couple with two properties to let. One of these is let through an Estate Agent who only charges us; the other through a Letting Agency who charges registration fees to (in come cases) very poor tenants in desperate need of housing.

    With the Estate Agent, I get good service and can remind him that he works for me. Whereas the Letting Agency has a conflict of interest because they also have a duty to fight the tenant’s corner. I far prefer the Estate Agent model. The money has to come from somewhere and potential tenants can only afford a certain amount. I would far rather that the chunk going to the middleman is under my control, rather than having been taken out before I have any say in the matter.

  • Surely the answer is that all agency fees chargeable to the tenant should be advertised clearly in the property details. If fees are comparatively high tenants will favour alternative agencies and their properties, leaving landlords to make their own choices about who to list with.

    Personally, I find agencies fairly poor value (although I live close to my lettings and they are quite modern so they are easy to manage) so use online advertising and vetting services. I have been surprised to hear of the fees some agencies are charging.

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