A charity is trying to ban a type of UK rental property fee that takes advantage of people too poor to own a home

Fees paid by tenants to letting agents for admin tasks should be banned, according to consumer charity Citizens Advice.

Fees for tasks such as preparing the tenancy agreement, checking references and performing credit checks can cost tenants as much as £700, according to the charity, and are non-refundable.

Citizens Advice said the number of people aged 17-24 seeking help with with letting agents has more than doubled over the last two years.

Young people sought help 810 times last year, compared to 360 cases reported between July 2013 and June 2014.

And fees have rocketed. A survey of tenants found the median letting agent fee has risen from £125 in 2009-10 to £200 in 2014-15.

Letting agents have taken advantage of tenants’ need for housing and the tab should be picked up by the landlords, Citizens Advice said.

“Letting agents are hiking up their fees for a service that’s often not up to scratch,” Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said.

“With fees rising year on year for letting agents, many tenants will rightly be wondering why they are paying hundreds of pounds for a simple contract renewal or for management services that leave them waiting months for essential repairs.”

“Private renters shop around for properties, not for letting agents. Landlords are better able to choose agencies based on performance and cost and it should therefore be landlords paying letting agent fees, not tenants picking up these rising costs.”

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