Like the rest of world, London estate agents aren't always the most honest or trustworthy of folk. There are things that ring alarm bells when speaking to 'agents' in Thailand that make you question their validity. Unfortunately however, we usually dismiss our 'alarm bells' when we are shopping abroad. Why? Because we don't know any different. We don't know how much things should cost, and guess what? The agents are very aware of this and often take huge advantages...
If you are considering moving into student halls, have a read of my previous article where I broke down the costs and comparisons of Student Halls Vs Private Rents:
Getting to the main issue
There are things that are always true when shopping for anything. Usually, if it sounds too good to be true or they tell you it's a'really good deal', it most probably IS too good to be true and will definitely NOT be a really good deal!
A few major problems that students face when shopping for private accommodation in the UK are:
UK estate agencies are unregulated. Anyone can create an estate agency in the UK
This means that there are a lot start-up agencies
Make sure you check the credibility and history of the agency before using them
The agencies may use contracts that are very unfair for a foreign renter. Perhaps, because you don't understand or because you can't negotiate the terms properly
'Fake Agents' will charge you much higher - This is becoming a large problem among foreign students. As many do not know the costs for private rooms, many fake agents have started to surface and will offer you a room at a much higher rate to obtain commission
Many registered agencies do not offer a commission split to these people. So 'Fake Agents' will add up to an additional 10,000 THB PER WEEK to rental costs in order to secure themselves a commission
Also, if the rental cost is higher, they may charge you additional Property Deposit Costs and only pay a partial amount into the the secure Tenancy Deposit Scheme. (You may loose more deposit if they choose to add hidden charges)
Agency Processing Fees
This is unfortunately a thing in the UK. UK agencies charge the tenant a processing fee to sign up (depends on the agency as to how much they charge)
Unfortunately, most agencies see foreign students as easy pickings and they will more often than not overcharge in order to obtain more money
Additionally, if a 'Fake Agent' is processing your property request. They may charge you additional funds in order to gain further commission from your rental request
Fee's vary per agency, but most are around 10,000 - 20,000 THB (per application)
Considering the amount of money you are paying and the fact that this will be your home, you most certainly want this to be fair!
Be careful of agents and 'Fake Agents' with tenancy agreement terms. Ensure you read the contract in full. Some contracts will have conditions where your tenancy rolls over to renew for another year if you do not choose to cancel it before a certain 'agreed' time written in the tenancy agreement
Contracts can be very lengthy and will be in ENGLISH. These can be very confusing and can potentially contain LATIN wording. Read carefully before signing to ensure that you fully understand what you are agreeing to
IMPORTANT: Deposits for properties can be very high, as a result if you sign into the wrong contract, the landlord / agency can demand large payments from deposits if you do not meet certain conditions
TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEME
In the UK they have what is called a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. By law, all landlords must deposit all Property Deposit funds into the scheme
Again, 'Fake Agents' can and have been known to just as easily not deposit these funds into the scheme and instead deposit the funds into their own accounts (to gain money from interest)
This is not the end of the world (providing you receive the money back), but the problem lies when they choose to 'invest' your money elsewhere and lose it on the gamble. They may invent additional charges to cover any losses they have incurred
Not all is doom and gloom (I'm sorry if I have scared you!). There are good agencies in the UK that are very fair and will treat you properly.
I unfortunately became victim to some of the above practices and I vowed never again that an agent would take advantage of a student! Thus KRE was born...
I created a company dedicated to helping students relocate and ensuring they are safe. I partner only with agencies that I have pre-vetted, use the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, will treat my clients fairly and have 100% NO AFFILIATION with 'Fake Agents'.
I fully check every contract, ensure your transition to the UK is as smooth as possible and that your new home is just that - a home :)
The link below will explain more. Be sure to contact me if you wish for more details or just have a query about moving abroad!: