Renters ‘ripped off’ by letting agent fees

letting agent fees

letting agent feesAlmost a quarter (23%) of people feel they have been "ripped off" by letting agents' fees at some point in their lives, with some renters being charged up to £540 in non-refundable "administration" fees, according to research.

A survey by Shelter shows that more than half (52%) of respondents who felt they had been ripped off or knew someone who had said this was due to fees being "out of proportion" to the true cost of the work done.

The housing charity revealed that in some cases renters were being charged more than £150 for repeat credit checks every year, which it said actually cost between £8 and £25 to perform, while others were charged £100 just to view a property.

"With costs like these, on top of the sky-high rents that families already face, it's no surprise that many dread the day they have to look for a new place to rent," said Kay Boycott, director of campaigns, policy and communications at Shelter.

"It's scandalous that some letting agents are creaming off huge profits from the boom in private renting by charging both tenants and landlords fees that are totally out of proportion to the service they provide."

Worrying findings

The top three fees affecting people who feel they have been ripped off by letting agents, according to Shelter, and the proportion of people affected were:

1. "Administration" fees (14%)

2. Credit check fees (10%)

3. Fees for renewing a contract (8%)

And the top three reasons why people thought fees were unfair were as follows:

1. The fee was disproportionate to the cost or amount of work done by the letting agent (52%)

2. The fee was unexpected (17%)

3. The fee did not reflect the level of customer service received (10%)

Shelter also found that some letting agents had been double-charging landlords and tenants for the same services.

Soaring rents

Rents have reached new heights over the last year as the sector continues to experience high demand from existing tenants who have found themselves trapped in the market.

Some would-be buyers are also deciding to rent instead as home buying is now out of reach for many.

If you're renting and want to put a bit more cash away each month then check out this guide to saving.