Landlord's 'back door' letting fee angers tenant groups

  • 10/01/2019

An Auckland property management company has reversed a "back door" letting fee, but only after the outgoing tenant complained.

Impression Real Estate tried to charge a tenant $250 when he left his Glendene rental and asked for it to be transferred into his niece's name, NZME reports.

Suspecting it was a letting fee in disguise, he complained - and they quickly reversed the charge.

Letting fees were recently banned by the Government in an effort to ease financial pressure on renters.

Tenants' rights groups were stunned by Impression Real Estate's original $250 fee.

"It might be legal but it is against the spirit of the ban," Tenants Protection Association chair Anthony Rimmell told NZME.

Renters United spokesperson Robert Whitaker said they would be keeping an eye on property managers to ensure "they are not trying to sneak in by the back door by calling the letting fee something else".

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment confirmed the fee was legal, since it was a variation on his existing contract, and not a new one.

Now that there's no fee, the man's niece will have to apply alongside other potential tenants, the property managers said - but no letting fee would be charged.