Letting agencies 'chancing their arm' and charging extortionate fees in Cork

Letting agencies 'chancing their arm' and charging extortionate fees in Cork

SOME letting agencies will try to get away with extortionate administration fees if they are not questioned, Threshold’s regional assistant manager Conor Lynch has said.

Mr Lynch said it is a “landlords’ market” at the moment and some agencies are attempting to get away with charging “crazy money” for simple tasks such as changing the name on a lease.

The regional assistant manager of the National Housing Charity said that often agencies are chancing their arm and get away with it because people don’t question it.

Mr Lynch said that tenants and prospective tenants are afraid to contest anything a landlord or letting agency asks for or requests because of the rental crisis and the lack of housing in Cork at the minute.

Despite this, Mr Lynch said tenants need to be assertive.

“Know your rights and if you get an unreasonable admin fee charge or a notice of termination, give us a call,” he said.

In terms of administration fees, Mr Lynch said Threshold has in the past taken cases to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) for high charges. “We had a case where there was a €200 administration charge and we took it to the RTB,” he said. “They decided €56 was reasonable.”

Threshold’s regional assistant manager also said that there was a ‘catch 22’ situation in relation to references that was causing issues for a number of tenants .

Agencies and landlords are perfectly entitled to ask for a reference from your previous landlord, however, a landlord is not legally obligated to provide this vital document.

“We have had many cases of people who always paid their rent and never caused trouble in here (Threshold) tearing their hair out over trying to get a reference from a landlord,” Mr Lynch said.

In terms of what a landlord can ask for from a prospective tenant, Mr Lynch said a landlord can ask for a PPS number, employer reference, landlord reference, photo ID, bank statements and payslips.

Threshold has a 9am to 9pm hotline number for anyone who has a housing query.

The number is 1800 454 454 or you can email advicecork@threshold.ie.

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