This is the letter we sent to the London Assembly ahead of today's second meeting regarding the drafting of the Tenant Fee Bill...
Dear London Assembly,
We are terribly unhappy about the tenant fee ban coming into place next year because of certain agencies that have misused the lack of regulation surrounding it. We at Rickman Properties have always had moderate fees over our fifteen years in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. This fee accounts for the work put into liaising with landlords on the applicants' behalf and putting the paperwork together for tenants as requested.
We urge you not to forget that an offer has to come from the applicant and in a sense, despite the landlord being the client, this means the tenant drives the deal and constitutes a customer. Therefore, customer service towards the tenant is a necessary and unavoidable part of our industry and one we actually enjoy. Please look at the testimonials on our website at rickmanproperties.com to see the numerous tenants (and landlords for that matter) who have had a wonderful experience working with us over the years.
The property industry in the UK has seen a significant downturn in recent years and the tenant fee ban is another difficult adjustment to make as it will affect profits which are already suffering. We have seen in the press that the online estate agent industry has many flaws as customer service is poor compared to the high street agent, and the public still need a friendly face with both industry and local knowledge to work with. Not having the customer services we offer to applicants acknowledged by enacting the tenant fee ban feels remarkably unjust. You are penalising everyone instead of those who deserve it for misuse. Regulation and standardisation of the tenant fees as an alternative measure would be a far better solution and justifiable.
I would relish the opportunity to talk to any of you regarding this matter before it is too late.
Susie Robinson MARLA MNAEA MA (Oxon)