The latest evidence is from the English Housing Survey, which revealed in July that up to 69% of tenants living in unsatisfactory homes are discouraged from moving out because of the cost of agent fees. It also suggests the scam is worth around £115m a year.*
The Survey also found that:
- The proportion of private renters charged a fee is up from 34% in 2009-10 to 40% last year.
- 18% of private renters reported hidden charges
- 11% say their deposit hasn’t been protected (that's against the law and they could get compensation)
- The proportion dissatisfied with their landlord has increased from 10% in 2004-5 to 14% in 2014-15
- Net landlord satisfaction ratings are higher for tenants who didn’t pay a fee (the difference between those who are satisfied and those who are dissatisfied is 64.4) than those who did (54.0), suggesting that problems arise more often when letting agents are involved
- Net satisfaction ratings are also much higher where charges were transparent (59.7) than where they weren’t (32.8). Not entirely surprising that sneakiness is also associated with general rubbishness.
The need to end fees is not lost on our members of Parliament, though – a cross-party group has signed an “Early Day Motion” which calls for a ban. The move comes after a private member’s Bill designed to ban fees cleared its first legislative hurdle in the House of Lords in June.
We now need more support in Parliament for the motion, and that’s where you come in. We have set up a template email to your MP which asks them to sign up to our cause. Sending it will only take a minute, unless you want to add in your own experiences – which always makes an email more powerful.
*That's based on official English Housing Survey numbers: a mean £223 fees paid by 40% of private renters who moved in the past year, which is 30% of 4.3m households.
Also covered in: