How to avoid letting agent renewal fees for landlords

How to avoid letting agent renewal fees for landlords

If you use a letting agent, then you’re probably charged a ridiculous fee every time your tenant renews. This can range from 6% – 12% of the annual rental income. Winkworth currently advertises a 9.6% fee for the 1st renewal and 8.4% for the 2nd (what a generous reduction!). From my experience, this has meant paying over one month’s rent every time a tenant has renewed. This translates into serious erosion of your profits. Needless to say, these letting agent fees for landlords are extremely unpopular.

What are letting agent renewal fees?

Since the 1st of June 2019, nearly all tenant fees were banned but this hasn’t stopped letting agents ripping off landlords. Landlord renewal fees are an admin fee letting agents charge for the renewal of a tenancy. Landlords are paying a large sum for a letting agent to email a tenancy agreement with new dates to be signed (close to no effort).

How landlords can stop paying renewal fees

I wish I’d known about this years ago — it’s this simple: make sure your letting agent doesn’t renew the tenancy and stipulate that you’re happy for the tenancy to become a statutory periodic tenancy. This just means it becomes a rolling month-to-month contract and no renewal fee applies.

It’s rarely the tenant reaching out for the renewal anyway, it’s always the letting agent pushing because of the fee. Moreover, your tenant often likes the flexibility of a periodic tenancy. If your tenant doesn’t know you then they *might* be wary of moving onto a rolling contract. This is another good reason to do the property management yourself so you can alleviate any concerns.

Three more ways to stop paying

There are three other ways you can stop paying letting agent renewal fees as a landlord:

  1. Choose a letting agent that doesn’t charge a tenancy renewal fee. Although the majority do charge a fee, not all letting agents do, but I’ve found these agents generally charge a larger “set up fee” so often you pay more in the first year.
  2. Don’t use a letting agent! And use an online letting agent such as OpenRent (this is what I do).
  3. Refuse to pay the renewal fee. I have spoken to several landlords that have done this and avoided paying them. If you’re already paying a management fee, then they probably don’t want to lose you as a customer.

Summary

Letting agent renewal fees are a rip-off fee for landlords. Letting agents can no longer rip-off tenants so they concentrate their efforts on landlords. The high-street letting agents’ days are numbered after too many years of terrible service and shady practices. Do what you can and accelerate their demise by not paying these ridiculous fees.


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4 thoughts on “How to avoid letting agent renewal fees for landlords

  1. Wow, that renewal fee is a rip off! My agent charges a flat £75 renewal fee which, although still annoying that I have to pay for them just drafting out a new agreement (changing the dates of the old agreement) but seems quite reasonable in comparison to what you’re paying!

    1. Hi Weenie,  it’s the high street letting agents; Foxtons, Winkworth etc that charge these stupid fees. £75 in comparison sounds bearable! I don’t pay anything since moving to OpenRent. I’d advocate all landlords self-managing but understand it’s not for everyone hence writing this post. There might be a day that I need to use a letting agent, for example, if I move oversea, and I’ll definitely be doing everything possible not to pay a renewal fee!

  2. I wish it was just a £75 fee, I wouldn’t even think or renewing with them!
    My tenant just told me that wish to stay in the property but I am with a high street letting agent charging a ridicolous 6%+vat just for the renewal….. how can I get out of this?

    Would be sufficent if both my self and my tenant say to them that we don’t wish to renew the tenancy because we have other plans for the future?
    HELP!!

    1. Yes, that’s an option. I did something similar and then gave my tenant a contract through OpenRent. Not renewing the contract and letting it become a rolling contract is another option. Best thing to do is get in touch with your tenant.

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