LONDON — UK lettings agents are charging households an average of around £800 in fees when they rent a new home, a report from campaigning group Generation Rent claims.
Generation Rent — which campaigns for “professionally managed, secure, decent and affordable private rented homes in sustainable communities — says in its report that the typical two-adult household can expect to pay fees of as much as £813 when moving into a new place to live.
“No one moves house for fun, and letting fees make an already stressful situation worse. Landlords appoint their agents, so should be paying their costs — landlords can also shop around for the best deal more easily than tenants can,” Dan Wilson Craw, Generation Rent’s director said in a statement alongside the research.
“As the sheer range of fees being charged demonstrates, some letting agents are squeezing as much from tenants as they can.”
The findings, which were released on Thursday, came just one day before the end of a consultation on plans put forward by Chancellor Philip Hammond in last year’s Autumn Statement that would see such fees banned.
Letting agents currently charge tenants fees for things like reference and credit checks, or immigration checks. Under the new system, landlords will pay these fees, which could create more competition in the market by encouraging them to shop around.
“Our main findings are that the government’s proposals will save the average tenants £404 when they move, and an average £117 every 6 or 12 months to renew the tenancy,” a Generation Rent statement said.
While the plans have gained support, many in the property industry argue that the ban on fees will, in fact, lead to higher rents for tenants, as landlords pass on the cost of meeting the fees.