A petition opposing lettings agents’ fees in England and Wales has now gathered over 245,000 signatures.
Vicky Spratt, features editor on the online youth magazine The Debrief, started the petition after claiming that her latest move - into what she says is her sixth or seventh rented property in nine years - is likely to cost her and her boyfriend over £500 in fees.
In total, throughout her various moves, she believes she has paid over £2,000 in fees.
“This is money I’ll never get back. It turns out renting is a lucrative business if you’re on the right side of it - which I’m not” she says.
Spratt says letting agency fees in England are “totally unregulated” in contrast to Scotland, where they are banned.
“Walk down any high street in England and you could go into five different letting agents who would all charge you a different fee. You have to pay for the privilege of dealing with them, to secure a property and even to change the name on a piece of paper? You’re then also charged an inflated fee for a credit check, which actually costs as little as a tenner” she claims.
She cites one fee apparently charged by Foxtons - £210 to change a name on an existing tenancy - and then says that in her various moves she has paid charges varying from £80 to £552.
“How is it possible that fees can vary so much from agency to agency? It’s a rip off and the agents are getting away with it” she claims, adding that legislation should be introduced to ban fees in England.