Private tenants are paying £1,193 upfront – and that’s not including rent

Figures uncovered by Labour show the extortionate amounts letting agents are charging their tenants

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There’s more bad news for Generation Rent today, as figures released by the Labour party reveal that, even before they start paying rent, private tenants in Britain are paying an average of £1,193 in upfront fees and deposits. Including rent in this takes the average upfront costs for tenants to £1,913.

In a survey of letting agents, Labour found a disturbing lack of transparency among letting agents; half did not reveal their fees on their website, and two in 10 failed to reveal their fees when they were contacted.

And the prices they are hiding are enormous. Labour found that some letting agents charge as much as £606 for administration fees, £234 for check in and inventory, £180 for a new contract and £354 for changing the name on a contract.

In London, upfront fees can reach a staggering £2,529 without rent, and £3,990 with rent added.

Labour is calling for a ban on letting agent fees for tenants, new legislation for three-year stable tenancies, and a ceiling on rent rises over the course of these contracts. Labour is also pressing for more transparency regarding fees, calling on the government to ensure that transparency is ‘robustly enforced’.

Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister Emme Reynolds MP said of the findings:

“Renters face thousands of pounds in upfront costs but in return they get no stability, poor standards and they have to pay hundreds of pounds in rip-off letting agent fees.

“The Tories have nothing to offer Generation Rent but empty promises and more of the same polices that have delivered the lowest levels of house building in peace time since the 1920s.

“Labour has a better plan for working families. We will give private renters a better deal. A Labour Government will ban letting agent fees on tenants, introduce three-year stable tenancies, and put a ceiling on rent rises over the course of the contracts. Labour will also tackle the root causes of this crisis by getting at least 200,000 homes built a year by 2020.”

Below are the regional differences in upfront fees, with the second column showing the average deposit and fees, and the third showing this figure with upfront rent added:

 

London £2,529 £3,990
South East £1,500 £2,364
South West £1,086 £1,779
East of England £1,269 £1,959
East Midlands £893 £1,430
West Midlands £957 £1,524
Yorkshire and the Humber £919 £1,454
North West £737 £1,269
North East £772 £1,254
ENGLAND £1,193 £1,913

 

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

11 Responses to “Private tenants are paying £1,193 upfront – and that’s not including rent”

  1. Leon Wolfeson

    …Creating the *expectation* of rent rises during a contract. And at a level well above housing benefit rises. (And obviously, a higher up-front ask)

  2. Phil Watson

    What complete nonsense, average fees in our town are between £150 to £250 for a couple. Sensational headlines from the Labour Party desperate for tenants votes. Pass these fees to landlords as Labour intend and all they will do is put up the rent.

  3. Christopher Chapman

    I feel like including a deposit in the headline figure is a bit deceptive. A deposit is there to protect the landlord’s investment, and must be held in an independent arbitration scheme to ensure it is not misused by the landlord. It’s one of the few things in private renting that isn’t particularly unfair.

    By including that figure you are actually taking away the impact from the 400 odd quid average in agents/referencing fees which, while as not impressive for a headline, is still extortionate.

    Unless it is the point of the article that private tenants should be able to pay rent in arrears and not need deposits, but it doesn’t seem to be.

  4. dene

    The Labour Party would of been far better suggesting a cap on letting fees to a reasonable amount such as £150/£200 instead of alienating itself from all estate agents/letting agents with this ridiculous idea. Have the Labour Party forgotten how much agents pay in tax and how many decent hard working people in this industry will be affected by this? I will never vote Labour again!

  5. Daniel Bourke

    “Private tenants are paying £1,193 upfront – and that’s not including rent”

    What exactly is this supposed to prove? A tenant in the Private Rented Sector must pay a deposit and
    1st months’ rent so remove these figures and publish the fees charged by letting Agents for their admin services which is the real story here.

    The story is regarding tenant fees and the next line also distorts this ‘Labour found that some letting agents charge as much as £606 for administration fees, £234 for check in and inventory, £180 for a new contract and £354 for changing the name on a contract’. Some might read this as £840 fees for admin, check-in and inventory. Don’t take the worst case scenario and tarnish all Letting Agents with the same brush. Tenant fees in our area average £250 and cover everything.

    ‘In London’ ! It’s always ‘In London’. How about publishing an article about ‘In York’ instead and publish the cost there? Not such a big story I suppose ?

    The Labour Party is pushing a policy which is good PR to a growing population of renters but Agents provide a service and it’s not free of charge. If they continue to push this policy and ban Letting Agent fees the costs will be passed onto the landlord who will increase the rent to cover the extra cost for the following 6 months. If the tenancy continues after 6 months the tenant will continue to pay the higher rent so will be out of pocket.

    Let’s hope whoever is in charge of this pushing this policy for the Labour Party is calculating ongoing costs and not just immediate costs.

  6. Daniel Bourke

    “Private tenants are paying £1,193 upfront – and that’s not including rent”

    What exactly is this supposed to prove? A tenant in the Private Rented Sector must pay a deposit and
    1st months’ rent so remove these figures and publish the fees charged by letting Agents for their admin services which is the real story here.

    The story is regarding tenant fees and the next line also distorts this ‘Labour found that some letting agents charge as much as £606 for administration fees, £234 for check in and inventory, £180 for a new contract and £354 for changing the name on a contract’. Some might read this as £840 fees for admin, check-in and inventory. Don’t take the worst case scenario and tarnish all Letting Agents with the same brush. Tenant fees in our area average £250 and cover everything.

    ‘In London’ ! It’s always ‘In London’. How about publishing an article about ‘In York’ instead and publish the cost there? Not such a big story I suppose ?

    The Labour Party is pushing a policy which is good PR to a growing population of renters but Agents provide a service and it’s not free of charge. If they continue to push this policy and ban Letting Agent fees the costs will be passed onto the landlord who will increase the rent to cover the extra cost for the following 6 months. If the tenancy continues after 6 months the tenant will continue to pay the higher rent so will be out of pocket.

    Let’s hope whoever is in charge of this pushing this policy for the Labour Party is calculating ongoing costs and not just immediate costs.

  7. pip

    The point is that people who desperately need a home are having to find a huge amount of money up front even though it includes the first months rent. Some landlords want one and a half months rent up front, in addition to a months rent in advance then the agency fees on top. One landlord locally (outside London) wanted £3000 up front on a modest 2 bed flat that was £750 a month rent. A lot of people are finding it impossible to find such large sums of money in one go.

    It’s a landlord’s market out there and they are exploiting tenants in order to lower their own risks. A terrible situation and it’s causing worry and despair, especially for people with children. The agency services are there to protect the landlords. They are in it for profit so maybe they should take some of the risks rather than the tenants.

  8. Guest

    If it’s in the rent, at least it’s not stopping people from being able to move at all.

  9. Guest

    So very little and very few.

    And you never were, so…

  10. Guest

    So you’re using anecdote against facts.
    And you’ll raise the rent anyway, don’t bother pretending otherwise.

  11. Leon Wolfeson

    It’s got to be found by the person moving in, and it’s increasingly common to demand 6-8 weeks rather than 4.

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