Generation Rent calls for compensation for tenants who are ripped off
Renters will be an average £404 better off every time they move if the next government bans letting agent fees, Generation Rent reveals today.
Research of more than 1000 agents around England finds that upfront fees cost the typical two-adult household between £40 and £813, with several agents already charging tenants nothing.
With the consultation on the government’s proposals closing on Friday, Generation Rent is calling for a blanket ban on fees to tenants, to stop agents exploiting loopholes, and compensation for tenants who continue to be ripped off.
Currently, letting agents charge new tenants fees that can include administration, reference checks, the tenancy agreement and inventory. The average fees for two adults are £404, but there can be additional charges if the tenant doesn’t earn enough and needs someone to guarantee the rent (average cost £152), or simply needs to move in on a Saturday (£62).
There are further fees for tenancy renewal, which costs an average of £117 every 6 or 12 months, check out at the end of a tenancy (£120), and references for the next tenancy (£60 for two).
A particularly egregious fee is for protection of the deposit, which is already a legal requirement, yet is charged by 34 agents at an average of £39. Because many agents hold on to the deposit (and collect interest on it), this is the equivalent of giving someone an interest-free loan and paying for the privilege.
Thirteen agents charge tenants who accidentally overpay their rent an average of £25.
Government measures to force letting agents to publish their fees have not been wholly successful, with one agent in eight (12%) still not publishing fees on their website two years after the law was changed. Failure to comply is punishable with a fine from Trading Standards of up to £5000.