Letting agent fees are one of the most painful aspects of renting. Every time you move, whether into or out of a home, you’re hit with a ludicrous list of fees. And they don’t come cheap either.
One of the most ridiculous, is the dreaded administration fee for changing the name on a tenancy agreement when people move out of a shared rental property. This can cost anything up to £300.
Driven to despair, I’ve developed an ingenious, fool-proof method for reducing this fee. Renters rejoice!
Unbelievably, it’s cheaper to change your name by deed poll to the previous tenant’s name, than pay the admin fee.
*Inspiration for this idea goes to Adam Armstrong, the heroic student who changed his name (and passport) to avoid a £220 Ryanair admin fee.*
And it’s easier than you think. There’s no complicated legal process involved. You can even do it yourself for free. For free – and eliminate the letting agent fee entirely!
But if you’re feeling lazy, or want an official looking certificate as proof of your new name, many websites will provide the service for a small fee. The cheapest I’ve found only charges £14. Bargain!
When you’ve found your dream home, simply change your name via deed poll to that of the tenant that’s moving out. Unfortunately you’ll have little choice over your new name; it will have to be exactly the same as that on the tenancy agreement. So no ‘Rebel Wolf’, ‘Gordon Alistair Darling-Brown’ or ‘Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined.’ Unless you’re moving into their place of course.
Then smugly present the deed poll to the letting agent. Since you share a name with the previous tenant, the agent won’t have to go through the onerous process of editing a couple of lines in a word document. They’ll be delighted. So delighted that they’ll be sure to waiver the administration fees. Everyone’s a winner!
Simple, right? Yes, but don’t forget the practicalities. You’ll need to change the name on your passport, driving licence, bank account and all those customer loyalty cards that you never use.
Is it worth enduring this bureaucratic nightmare for sake of £300? Given that private renters in London spend on average of 59% of their gross income on rent, I’d say that it would be time very well spent.
But there is one other important consideration… what if you hate your new name!?
If you hate it, don’t worry. With over a third of renters in London moving 3 or more times in the last 5 years, it won’t be long until you have to change it again in order to avoid the next set of fees.
But there’s a simpler way to stop paying letting agent fees. Instead of the madness of changing your name by deed poll, you can support our Fix Renting Campaign.
We’re calling on the next Mayor of London to Fix Renting. And we want them to ban letting agent fees in the capital.
Many people say that this is isn’t possible. But the Scottish Government successfully did it in 2012, despite resistance from letting agent bodies and landlords. And Shelter found little evidence in Scotland that letting fees were passed back to tenants via a rent hike.
So it is possible to ban letting agent fees in London and the rest of the country.
But we need your help to make this happen. Sign our petition or share it with your friends. Just don’t get carried away and draw up a deed poll in order to sign it again…
Please join us. And together we can fix private renting.