How ethical is your property management company?
Will you get your referencing fees back if you are unsuccessful in securing a tenancy?
NFJ has always prided itself in being upfront and honest about fees. We run an ethical business. Unfortunately that hasn’t always been the case across the property management sector as a whole.
As of October 1, the Government has introduced new protections for prospective tenants to ensure they don’t lose money if they are unsuccessful in applying to rent a property. NFJ fully supports the new Property Redress Scheme https://www.theprs.co.uk/, which is now mandatory for businesses in the residential letting sector to sign up to.
At NFJ, we believe this kind of action has become necessary to combat the abuses we have heard about over the years that have resulted in people losing money hand over fist. One common scam that unscrupulous letting agents practiced was taking referencing fees to check references for three or four prospective tenants without taking a property off the market. The landlord then chose their preferred tenant, and the others were left out of pocket after each paying referencing fees to the agent to chase up their references. This is something we have never done at NFJ – as soon as we take referencing fees from an applicant we take the property off the market while the checks are carried out. We’re pleased to see that the rest of the industry is finally being forced to play by the same ethical rules designed to protect consumers from hidden fees.
NFJ has signed up the enhanced PRS, so we are 100 per cent compliant with the regulations. But this won’t change the way we operate: we have never taken more than one deposit or referencing fee on one property at once.
As letting agents, we want to help people find new homes with as little hassle as possible. Generally, we will make phone calls on our prospective tenants’ behalf before we take their money for a referencing check if they are worried they may not pass. We don’t like the idea of people walking into a shop, handing over their money and walking out with nothing in return. If a landlord turns down our tenant through no fault of the tenant, we refund their referencing fee without a quibble.