This morning we have published six more areas on www.lettingfees.co.uk – Manchester, York, and four more London boroughs – Bromley, Camden, Lambeth and Wandsworth.
Flathunters in those areas can check to see which letting agents are charging the least, and which charge the most. These areas join four already in London, and bring the total number of letting agents covered by our website past 700.
The most charged upfront to a two-person household is £780 by Skampi in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, while the average is £385.
This is an ongoing project and we want to gather data about letting fees in all parts of the country to give renters a way of easily comparing local agents. If you want to help out, please register your interest on the site. Volunteers are already working on another five areas.
Unfortunately a site like this isn't going to bring fees down dramatically as renters desperate to find a home are still a captive market and are unlikely to say no to a high-fee agent who has the right flat.
Along with the latest research, we have published a report on the findings so far and set out the case for banning fees in their entirety.
Handing over hundreds of pounds is a huge barrier to moving - tenants just won't move out of a grotty flat or will accept a rent rise because they don't have the money for letting fees. If these were abolished we'd have a much more efficient lettings market and tenants would feel a lot more confident demanding repairs and negotiating rent.
The fees would have to be borne by the landlords, but because they can choose the letting agent they use, letting agents won't be able to get away with overcharging, so the impact on rent (if any) would be minimised.
Support the campaign to ban fees by signing the petition our friends over at The Debrief are running here.
Thank you to Alex Parsons and Inkleby who put together the Letting Fees website and wrote the report, and to all the volunteers who have spent time compiling the database so far - a full list is in the report.