Agent to the Landlord and Agent of the Tenant - hmm!


  1. Andrew and Steve - it is easy to see why confusion of terminology arises.  
  2. The letting agent assists both landlord and tenant; but is only agent to the landlord.  
  3. Both are owed a duty of care - if you asked a tenant about the relationship they would respond "my agent is XYZ letting agent." albeit the converse would not be true.  
  4. The service provided to landlord and tenant is very different - agents are unashamedly in business to make a profit.  
  5. How agents allocate admin fees is their affair, without suggestion of impropriety or amorality.  
  6. I do, however, sympathize with tenants in penury and anything that can be done to assist them is both kind and commercially sensitive.
  7. I also agree with the valid points of Aston and Kathy that commitment is best secured by some consideration, i.e. payment - a legal requirement together with offer and acceptance to ensure a contract is formed and that prospective tenant-motivation causes countenance before contracting.  Go-it-alone-landlords are generally not subject to the level of overheads endured by agents.  
  8. A one-man-band will always undercut a firm for this reason.  This is healthy competition with no fault implications for those choosing to charge or waive admin fees.  
  9. I started out as a landlord 26 years ago with minimal overheads and commensurate legal understanding.  Whilst my fees were zero my risk of non compliance was great!
  10. With increasing legal responsibility to tenants and ultimately to landlord clients comes the need for trained staff and thus increasing costs.  
  11. 26 years later we now have letting shops to fund and hundreds of tenants to vet and manage.  
  12. Whatever costs an agency charges to function, must be paid by someone.  
  13. Some suggest the landlord.  The landlords will say pass it onto the tenant in rent.  Can you see where this is going?  
  14. As surely as the clock strikes 12 it will strike again in the same way whatever position you place the hands meantime.   
  15. The percentage of rent payable in fees to an agent is unlikely to cover both the costs of servicing the landlord and the tenant - unless restructured to do so.  
  16. Go-it-Alone Landlords can rightly pat themselves on the back for frugality but cannot take a rod to the back of agents - who are merely acting for landlords who choose not to manage their own portfolios.
  17. There is a no-fault place for both charging and waiving fees.