Hate estate agents? Yes, you probably do — and if you rent, the fees you have to pay for every tiny little thing probably make you hate them the most.
Haringey Council has also had enough. It's set up the country's first lettings agency run by a local authority. It offers lettings and management services, but the thing that will probably most interest you, is that it promises to keep fees to a minimum.
It's not doing away with fees altogether. But fees for admin, references and credit checks are £172 per tenancy plus £72 per tenant, with another £50 per guarantor if that's necessary.
Compare that to some fees spotted by campaigners in Walthamstow last year, which were hitting over £730 for two people. A comparable flat under Haringey's scheme would cost £316 — and no renewal fees if tenants extend the lease.
The non-profit agency, called Move 51˚ North, also promises to sign up "responsible" landlords and offer the kind of service that's so often lacking in letting agents.
One problem: you can search all you want on the website, but it's launched without any properties to rent. A spokesperson for Haringey tells us the team is actively contacting landlords in the borough — if you own a property and are sick of your agency, you should give Move 51˚ North a call.
Haringey councillor Alan Strickland, Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, said:
Private tenants in London are too often forgotten in the noisy debate about the housing market in our city. Haringey is fast becoming one of London’s most popular places to live and work, and we know many people prefer the flexibility of the private rented sector — which is why it's vital we do more to protect them from rogue landlords and unscrupulous lettings firms.
Mayoral candidates Sadiq Khan and Caroline Pidgeon are planning to set up a non-profit lettings agency based in City Hall if they're elected, so this is definitely an idea that has traction.