• More than four in 10 (43%) tenants pay fees, forking out an average of £298 each
• It means renters have to find £1,700 each time they move
• The most commonly charged fee is for 'admin costs'
As well as forking out a typical deposit of £840, plus stumping up the first month's rent, 43% of renters are also having to pay, on average, £298 each in fees to letting agents and landlords. That's according to a survey of more than 4,000 flat and house sharers by SpareRoom.co.uk.
It means tenants are looking at upfront costs of £1,700 each time they move, including their refundable deposits. It explains why the vast majority, almost nine in 10 (87%) tenants, would rather deal directly with landlords – who typically charge lower fees than letting agents, or none at all.
The most common fees are for 'admin costs'. Two thirds (66%) of those who paid fees when moving into their current home were forced to cover admin costs. And, of those who paid fees, half (50%) said they had to pay to reserve a room or property once they decided to take it, while almost half (47%) said they were charged for drawing up tenancy agreements and/or inventories.
The table below shows the most common fees applied, and the percentage of tenants who paid them on their most recent move:
Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk, comments:
"Nothing unites renters quite like a shared hatred of unexplained tenancy fees. So much so they've already been made illegal in Scotland.
"Most tenants have to find a deposit before they get their last one back from their previous landlord, so adding almost £300 in fees to the equation can make the difference between being able to afford to move and having to stay put.
"In the wider world, consumers get to choose which supplier to use based on a variety of factors, including price and service but, when it comes to renting, tenants have no choice but to use the agent marketing the property they want. This means most have little choice over whether they pay fees or not.
"As of April 2014, agents must, by law, publish a full tariff of their fees. Although this means greater transparency for tenants, the government still isn't doing enough to clamp down on excessive or unfair fees. Always ask landlords and agents about fees upfront and negotiate as early on in the process as possible."