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Website accuses agents of "pocketing" fifth of tenants' moving costs

Individuals must find an average of £1,175 to move into a privately rented apartment or house across the UK - or £2,043 in London - according to a website.

SpareRoom says the cost comes from a combination of a typical deposit of four weeks’ rent, plus agents’ fees and removal costs. The London figure is higher not only because rents are more expensive in the capital but because a typical deposit involves six weeks’ rent, the website states.

The site claims letting agents are charging an average of £201 per move, rising to £205 in London.

In a breakdown of letting agents’ charges, SpareRoom says that across the UK some 91 per cent of agents charge an admin fee at the moving stage, 65 per cent levy a charge for drawing up tenancy agreements and 65 per cent again charge for credit checks.

Some 53 per cent charge for employer and/or bank references, 46 per cent charge for the drawing up of an inventory and 13 per cent are said to charge a non-refundable holding fee to reserve the room of property.

SpareRoom claims some 29 per cent of London tenants pay upwards of £300 in fees when they move - and 15 per cent pay over £400.

  • Rob Bryer

    What you mean companies are charging for their services? This is shocking news. How do they get away with it? Next you'll be telling me that Tescos is charging for Tomatoes.

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    Pocketing? That's a bit strong. It sounds like you are accusing us of stealing!

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    Our £199 all inclusive fee is earned. Should a tenant hand the place back in good order then they get the 'deposit' back therefore this isnt a cost its exactly what it says deposited for return.

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    Of course agents are entitled to charge for their services, and of course requiring a deposit is reasonable. The big issue is that agents are charging prospective tenants, who have no opportunity for control of costs, and often with a no-refund clause, when the prospective tenant has no contract with the agents and the agent has no incentive to provide a fair and sound service to the prospective tenant. Yes, the tenant expects to pay costs eventually, but he is looking for a contract with the landlord and would be happy to pay expenses as part of that contract. The Agent is contracted to the Landlord, and the landlord should pay their costs. That's just fair practice.

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