One in four ripped off by letting agents

Updated on 04 September 2012 | 9 Comments

Shelter study finds letting agents are cashing in by overcharging.

A quarter of us have been ripped off by a letting agent.

That’s the finding of a new survey by housing charity Shelter, which says a succession of unfair charges are levelled at tenants.

‘Administration’ fees were the charges most respondents said they had been unfairly hit with (14%), while fees for credit checks (10%) and renewing a contract (8%) were also highlighted.

Letting agents overcharging

The main reason for feeling the fees were unfair was that respondents felt they were out of proportion to the cost or amount of work done by the letting agent.

Here are some of the worst examples identified by Shelter:

  • Renters charged over £150 for repeat credit checks each year, checks which should cost no more than £25 to perform.
  • Letting agents double-charging fees for the same service to both landlords and tenants.
  • Renters charged more than £500 in non-refundable administration fees.
  • Prospective tenants charged £100 each time they viewed a property.

Shelter is currently conducting an investigation into the fees charged by letting agents and has called for those with experience of unfair charges to join its fight for change. You can find out more about the Letting Away With It campaign on the Shelter website.

Are letting agents a rip off?

Landlords can do most of the jobs carried out by a letting agent themselves, if they have the time and the energy. Check out Ditch your letting agent and save £1,000s.

So what do you think? Are letting agents cashing in on both landlords and tenants? Have you been ripped off by a letting agent? Or do they get an unfair rap? Let us know your thoughts in the Comment box below.

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