Agents and landlords secure higher returns by focusing on towns and cities with a younger population willing to pay for furniture to be provided, rather than rural areas and smaller towns where renters are typically families with their own furniture.
Over a third of landlords pay no set-up fee at all to their letting agent - in stark contrast to a small number who pay in excess of £300.
The Guardian newspaper has made an outspoken attack on the industry claiming that “anyone can set up as a letting agent, without qualifications or licensing” and that once established their work is effectively “to own a printing press of made-up fees.”
The easyProperty online lettings service already has 10,000 homes pre-registered by landlords and aims to let between 4,000 and 5,000 homes each month.
Around 30 lettings agencies have started using a scheme which allows individuals to ‘earn’ positive online reviews that demonstrate they would be responsible and low-risk landlords and tenants.
Letting agents have “unrealistic expectations” on deductions that can be made from tenants’ deposits for the cost of wear and tear, according to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks.
Letting agents are being accused of double-charging - levying fees on tenants and landlords for the same service - by an insurance company.
Property sharing website SpareRoom claims that UK rents have risen far beyond the income of tenants, with Scotland and London becoming the least affordable locations.