Everywhere you go, be it Madrid, Barcelona and other parts of the world including the UK, you visit an estate agent to find a property to rent, he will show you what is available on his books and, if you like something, you pay one month rent as a deposit and one month¬ís rent in advance on signing the contract. It has always been so. With so many more empty properties than tenants, they actually should pay you for finding them.
It has come to our notice that some estate agents have now reverted back to the old, bad habit of charging tenants and would be tenants with ¬ďfinder¬ís fees¬Ē. They just don¬ít learn do they?
Before the property boom, when house sales were low, there started to develop the habit of charging two months rent deposit instead of one. The agent would keep all of it and he would fight for dear life in order not to keep the lot at the end of the term. Because of this, tenants became smarter and at the end of the tenancy they would stay two months, or two months extra, without paying any rent in order to recover their money. People need their deposits back to be able to move and pay a deposit elesewhere.
So the nature of the charge was changed to a non refundable finder¬ís fee, which is not really ¬ďcricket¬Ē and unprofessional to say the least. This invented charge was adopted by many agents on the Costa del Sol, particularly in the Manilva and Estepona areas.
As the level of sales of properties rose, the controversial charge was put on the back boiler and so was the argument, therefore it is disappointing to see that they are at it again when there are so many agents who now make the point of stating that they do not charge finder¬ís fees.
Why would anyone agree to pay a finder¬ís fee when all you have to do is look around, wherever you may be standing, and observe the hundreds of empty properties looking for tenants? Many even show a poster with the owner¬ís telephone number.
The estate agent is employed by the landlord and earns his money from the landlord not from the tenant; therefore do not sign any agreement with the agent as you may be signing an agency agreement accepting to pay a finder¬ís fee. All you should sign is your tenancy contract with the landlord and what the agent agrees with the landlord is of no concern to the tenant.
It is strongly advised that you check your contract with a lawyer to avoid any pitfalls.