How often can a letting agent increase fees?

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    How often can a letting agent increase fees?

    Hi there
    In August 2019, my letting agent wanted to increase my fee by 1%. I negotiated a 0.5% increase instead.

    Today (end of November 2019) they have written to me (and other landlords in a generic letter) stating the fees will go up to 13% (this is an increase of 2.5% of what I currently pay them)

    I assume two increases in a few months is not allowed? Was the THAT generic they didn't realise that I had already received an increase?


    #2
    What is allowed depends entirely on what is in the contract. A lot of agents have lost a big revenue stream from fees to tenants and are trying to recover those from landlords, even though their contracts often don't allow them to make such changes.

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      #3
      Yes I agree about clawing back the lost revenue
      i’ll have to dig out the contract
      Just wondered if there was a limit (such as me as a landlord raising the rent only once per year)

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        #4
        I don't think there is any statutory protection of landlords from agents; it all depends on the contract.

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          #5
          Super - thank you. Checked the contract and it does not appear to display any clear explanation. I'll give them a call!

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            #6
            You can always threaten to walk away and use a different agent.

            The problem being that you'll find that any other agent you go to will have already have increased it's fees to new clients.

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              #7
              Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
              I don't think there is any statutory protection of landlords from agents; it all depends on the contract.
              The Consumer Rights Act 2015 may help. The following may be regarded as unfair terms:

              A term which has the object or effect of giving the trader the discretion to decide the price payable under the contract after the consumer has become bound by it, where no price or method of determining the price is agreed when the consumer becomes bound.

              A term which has the object or effect of permitting a trader to increase the price of goods, digital content or services without giving the consumer the right to cancel the contract if the final price is too high in relation to the price agreed when the contract was concluded.

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                #8
                Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post

                The Consumer Rights Act 2015 may help.
                I've never understood why buy to let landlords are considered consumers, and immune from the principle that businesses are assumed to have fully agreed to contracts, but I gather they can be.

                However, the chances are that there aren't actually any of these sorts of terms in the contract, anyway, and the agent is just trying any means, fair or otherwise, to restore their income level.

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                  #9
                  Because most BTL landlords are consumers.
                  They know about as much about contracting with a letting agent (who is more expert than they, in contracting at least) as most people in Carphone Warehouse know about mobile phone contracts, or someone in a dealership buying a car.

                  At a certain point, some landlords are probably considered experienced enough to be outside the definition of a consumer, but there's so little recorded case law about consumer legislation, it's hard to know what that cut off point is.

                  In areas outside their field, businesses can be consumers, sole traders and small businesses particularly.
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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