Written by rosalind renshaw

A Labour government would crack down on letting agent fees, after a survey by the party found that tenants are paying upfront fees averaging £902 – and £1,700 in London.

Labour leader Ed Miliband is calling for mandatory regulation of the lettings market, following the survey of 91 letting agencies in England.

The survey found that the lowest fees charged to tenants are in the north-east at an average of £642. Across the country, administration fees were anything between £40 and £300. Where check-in fees were charged, the rate ranged from £60 to £150.

More than a quarter of letting agents surveyed charge extra fees for each additional adult, and Labour claims that six out of ten did not mention tenancy deposit protection on either their website or in their correspondence.

The survey also claims that three-quarters of the agents were “not transparent about fees on their websites” and that fewer than half agreed to reveal their fees via email.

Shadow housing minister Jack Dromey said the figures “expose the level of rip-off fees and the lack of transparency for consumers”.

He went on: “Labour has called for effective regulation of letting agents to force them to be transparent on their fees, and we’re assessing the size and level of fees that can be charged.

“Tenants need proper protection against being ripped off.”

Meanwhile, Dromey has denied that Labour would bring in statutory rent controls if it came to power.

He had been reported in the Daily Mail as saying that he would bring in “a form of rent control to end ever-spiralling upward rent” without hesitation.

However, a spokeperson for Dromey said: “We have made it clear we are not talking about traditional rent controls, but a new model that works for both landlords and tenants.”

Meanwhile, Labour is not the only party with plans for the private rented sector. See next story.


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    Bloody brilliant, sums up labour... They have not got a clue!

    • 23 August 2013 18:03 PM
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    Agree with practically every other commentator on here.

    It's obvious they are talking about up-front costs (which include a deposit) instead of fees.

    • 22 August 2013 17:15 PM
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    Average of £642 in the North-East?

    We're based in the North-East, and I've never heard of anything like that anywhere near us.

    • 22 August 2013 11:00 AM
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    On a serious point. We are all part of a rental market explosion since end 2007/2008. New rental companies have set up almost overnight and are generating millions throughout the country. We will all suffer the consequences of any government in power to dabble with the industry for the express benefit of the tax man.
    The big issue for me is that there is no clear direction from the so called letting industry leaders and added confusion from the toothless tigers ARLA etc.

    • 21 August 2013 11:35 AM
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    Well for us we are clearly not charging enough!! I am now going to increase our tenant fees in line with Labours recent survey - thanks Mr Milliband & Dromey.

    • 21 August 2013 11:13 AM
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    Jack Dromey = trade union moron = Mrs Harriet Harperson

    Wet fart Cameron & his aristoliberal chums just as bad.

    Vote UKIP.

    • 21 August 2013 10:06 AM
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    Unreal how incorrect they can get it. But you know what leave them to it, it's funny to watch

    And just one thing, the inventory is charged by the inventory company and not by the letting agents!!! - well not at my firm anyway

    • 21 August 2013 07:39 AM
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    I have looked at our fees and those of our competitors in and around Docklands.

    The ONLY way I can get to a figure of £1700 is either include the Holding Deposit (which can in NO WAY be described as a fee as it is just a pre-payment of the part of the rent) or assume there are 17 tenants.

    Either way, Labour are being disingenous and rubbishing agents unfairly.

    This needs to be addressed.

    • 20 August 2013 12:29 PM
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    When you rent a car, you pay a deposit which is returned. Its not a fee.

    Next it will be "Outrage at up front fee for buying a house"

    Its not just Miliband who has egg on his face

    • 20 August 2013 11:58 AM
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    £1700?? Utter nonsense. Do these people know what a fee is? Associated costs such as referencing and inventory are not fees. They protect contracting parties. A fee is a charge made by an agent for the service they provide and I have never heard of anyone paying anything like Labours claim - anywhere.

    • 20 August 2013 11:43 AM
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    Why doesn't the Government go the whole way and take complete control of the private rental sector by NATIONALISING all letting agents. By doing this they would bail a few out and at the same time soon know what it is all about! ;0)

    • 20 August 2013 10:16 AM
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    It sounds to me as if the 'up front' fees quoted also include the deposit paid by the tenant which is refundable to them at the end of their tenancy subject to any dilapidations.

    Hence the saying 'lies, damned lies and statistics'!

    • 20 August 2013 09:38 AM
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    A 'survey' of 91 letting agents

    And TPO estimates there are over 12,000 in the country.

    So a sample of 0.75% of the industry and itds practices if my maths is correct?

    What a load of tripe.

    • 20 August 2013 09:21 AM
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    Well, even Labour MPs have been asking for their leadership to actually tell people what their policies are.

    This is obviously the first.

    What a complete load of horsesh*t.

    The problem is that there will be an awful lot of people (read tenants) who feel that they might have been overcharged a bit, OR (more importantly) didn't enjoy their rental experience and blame the agent and therefore think that they didn't DESERVE the fee.

    On that basis, there will be a huge number of people saying "Hear, hear" and falling in line.

    Considering that you can't tell whether the Tories are more Labour than Labour (or vice versa) we might even find that which ever government gets in next time we could all be screwed.

    • 20 August 2013 09:15 AM
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    Don't know why I let myself read these posts as all it does is raise my blood pressure! Where on earth have they got these figures from? Shelter?!

    Completely absurd.

    I do not know how any government has the right to dictate what a company can charge someone for their services. I understand some charges imposed are immoral but tenants and landlords should do their due diligence and choose another agent.

    By the way my fees are the most competitive in the area but I still believe if Joe Bloggs next door wants to try and charge £1000 in fees he should be allowed to and on his conscience be it... free world and all that!

    • 20 August 2013 09:14 AM
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    So who conducted this survey for the labour party?

    The average figure given sounds ridiculously high.

    It is annoying that we as letting agents are subjected to a barrage of unofficial statistics as official statistics do not exist.

    • 20 August 2013 09:07 AM
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    Most ridiculous figues I've ever heard. The sort of fees they're talking about are admin fee and deposit. No wonder Labour aren't in government. Bunch of clowns.
    Maybe I'm wrong and I should try putting our fee up from £180 to £900 odd. Not sure we would let one property though.

    • 20 August 2013 08:59 AM
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    As you say, absolute bullshit. Fees are nothing like as high as that. we charge £100 plus £75 per adult for referencing and rent guarantee.

    • 20 August 2013 08:53 AM
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    I call bullshit.

    Mainly because there is no way that average lowest fees are £642 in the northeast. We are in the northwest and charge tenants an application fee of £50 / £100 / £150 / £200 depending on circumstances and that is it.

    So... Bullshit.

    • 20 August 2013 08:34 AM
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    Good enough reason to not vote labour then!

    • 20 August 2013 08:28 AM