One in four tenants 'ripped off' by letting agencies, says charity

By staff writers
September 4, 2012

Almost one in four people have been charged unfair fees by a letting agent, says the housing and homelessness charity, Shelter.

A YouGov survey of 5,379 adults commissioned by Shelter, showed 23 per cent have been charged unfair fees by a letting agent in England, equivalent to 10.9 million people.

The most common fees were for ‘administration’ (14 per cent), credit checks (10 per cent) and for renewing a contract (eight per cent).

More than half (52 per cent) felt the fees were unfair because they were disproportionate to the cost or amount of work done by the letting agent.

Shelter is extending the investigation and encouraging renters and landlords to share their own experiences of unfair fees, charges and poor service.

Kay Boycott, Shelter’s Director of Campaigns, Policy and Communications, said: "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.

"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."

In Scotland, rent laws are to be clarified later this year to prevent letting agents charging private tenants unlawful fees. All charges, other than refundable deposits and rent, will be considered illegal.


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