There is new legislation governing property agents which states that all fees must be openly displayed to customers and all commissions clearly identified before someone enters into an agreement with the agent.
Why then would some Agents decide not to comply with this? Legislation does not and never has implied a choice after all. Moses for instance was not given the Ten Suggestions!
Sadly the reasons are obvious and one of the major issues that we have in the industry is trust. I believe that if you offer a good service to people and look after their best interest they will pay you a reasonable fee.
Agents who advertise a low management fee and then bump up their charges to landlords in other ways can often end up being more expensive. Thankfully, this is all changing.
At Belvoir we have always advocated a transparent fee structure as far as our landlords are concerned. Most people don’t mind paying for a service as long as they know exactly how much they will be expected to pay and why.
In the same spirit of transparency, as a Franchisor, we do not “mark-up” any additional services to our Franchisees, or ask for commission or “kickbacks” from our suppliers. Our main insurance provider contributes to some of the costs of us being directly authorised by the FCA which is incredibly expensive. Apart from that, our Franchisees know exactly where they stand 100% of the time. Our commitment to treating the customer fairly starts right at the top.
It always saddens me when a new Agent opens in the market and immediately joins the race to the bottom with their fees. They work very hard and realise quickly that certain aspects of the service they want to give must be sacrificed to stay in business. They then start to let their clients down and guess what, their reputation continues to spiral downwards!
The new fee-related legislation is very clear and has come to pass primarily because some agents are not being transparent and could as a consequence be misleading landlords. Before you decide where to place your business have a careful look at your agent and decide not simply on the management fee but on the service that you wish to receive.
Also take a moment to recognise that you could be part of the problem as well as being key to the solution. It is simply unfair to complain about a lack of service when you decided not to pay for one!