Agencies are responding to the latest criticism of their fees on tenants, levied by the pressure group Generation Rent.
The group - which gave the comparative fees to London’s Evening Standard newspaper - assessed the 14 largest agency chains in the capital. The fees were for administration costs, tenant referencing, drawing up the tenancy agreement and checking-in, buit did not deposit or rent.
In the Generation Rent data the Countrywide brand Bairstow Eves charged two people an upfront fee of £622 to move into a property; the second highest fee was Barnard Marcus at £612 and then Haart on £540.
Dexters had the lowest fee, £300 for two adults, while Winkworth charge an average of £303. Some others, including East & Co, did not charge upfront costs.
A Bairstow Eves spokesman told the Standard: “We constantly review our fees across all of our products to ensure we’re competitive and crucially to be sure that we are serving our tenants and landlords well.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Barnard Marcus is quoted as saying: “In line with current legislation, we comply with fee transparency requirements across our branches, therefore giving tenants a choice whether they use our services or not. We believe our fees are reasonable for the service we provide.”
Paul Smith, chief executive of Haart, says: “Our upfront fees cover all costs of administration, references and inventories. These are clearly stated on our website, so renters know exactly what they are signing up for.”
Generation Rent director Dan Wilson is cited in the piece throwing his weight behind the Conservatives’ pledge to introduce a ban on letting agents’ fees. “With a ban on fees, letting agents will have to start charging landlords instead, who will find it easier than tenants to shop around for a cheaper agent” he says.