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Posted on February 28th 2013 by admin-movingin

Agents divided over charging for tenant references

How widespread – or otherwise – is the practice whereby you are charged by another agent for a reference for one of their outgoing tenants? The subject has been entertaining an ARLA forum and dividing opinions. Some agents describe it as the norm, with prices ranging from £20 to £50, while others say it is a restriction of trade, holds things up, is a practice that should be on the way out. Some agents, it appears, charge the fee even though it does not appear in the terms and conditions. Others put the facility in the agreement but rarely enforce a charge, regarding it as something that should be a matter of goodwill between agents. David McMaster, a former ARLA president, says it is a growing practice among the big corporate agents, but is it really ethical, he asks. One Leeds agent says that there are a few in his city who now charge for an outgoing tenant’s reference: “My opinion is that this is the final nail in the coffin and I refuse to do it. Bad tenants don’t usually ask for a reference and good tenants deserve a free of charge reference.” Others think that supplying a reference is work for an agent, and charging for it is fair, so long as it is spelled out. Agents also point out that local authorities are in the habit of charging – in the case of Reading Borough Council, apparently £60 – for providing a reference for former council tenants moving into the private sector. “Read more”: