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Kingston letting agencies wish to ban landlords from charging extra fees and “taking advantage” of private renters

By Soile Ntutu Feb 1, 2017
photo: Rex Features

Local letting agencies in Kingston Upon Thames believe there should be a ban on agent fees while Kingston students think this will lead to a rise in rent.

The ban is to stop agencies charging up to £300 pounds for simple things like a tenancy agreement.

The Autumn statement announcement by chancellor Philip Hammond was to stop agencies from taking advantage of private renters.

Sarah Clayton from Latimer agency in Kingston said: “There should be a capping on fees rather than [a ban on] all fees. The fact is banning all fees will increase costs to landlords which increase costs to tenants.”

Latimer, which is linked to Kingston University’s student accommodation website, stated that their fees were not excessive and they charged £150, which they deemed a reasonable amount.

Residents in the local area believed the ban would have a huge impact on landlords because agents would have to recoup money by charging higher rents.

Lylah Drummond, a KU biology student, said: “I think the ban is a good thing to some extent because it will allow room to save money. However, in the long run it will affect students because landlords will raise housing rents.

“In Kingston most agencies are not expensive. They don’t charge on check out and check in, unlike other agencies.”

International students in the local area felt like they would be affected the most since they were already paying double in tuition fees.

Priyanka, an architecture student, said: “Housing is still expensive whether the ban on the letting agency plan is put forward or not. Renting costs increases every academic year by a certain percentage.”

Kristina Cossey, manager at Host One Penrhyn Road, believed that the ban would not raise housing rents.

She said the agents would struggle to make money and were likely to work more for other people than the property owners on a commission basis.

She said: “The ban is a positive thing. It will cut out the middle man between the tenant and the owner. I also think letting agencies will cover their costs by working on finding tenants that are serious.”

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