Following yesterday’s vote by MPs to reject a ban on letting agent fees to tenants and the government’s announcement regarding greater transparency of fees, research by the UK’s largest online letting agent sheds light on just how urgently the reform is needed, including how £210 million is charged by agents to tenants in fees each year.
Last month Upad asked 740 tenants who had recently moved about their experiences. They found that a third rated high street lettings agents as either ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’ and only a third rated their experience ‘good’.
On average, those tenants surveyed had been charged £210 in “admin” fees. With over 1 million tenancies created in the UK each year, tenants are being charged at least £210 million in “admin” fees. Many agents charge further renewal fees on the anniversary of the tenancy.
The research also revealed that half of all tenants were not made aware of the costs of letting before they viewed a property and that 70% had not met their landlord before moving in.
The importance of today’s announcements was further highlighted by the research’s additional findings, which revealed that 29% of tenants think getting rid of the administration, reservation and contract writing fees charged by agents is the No.1 element they would change about renting. A further 19% said the cost of renting was the most important issue. The third most important issue, highlighted by some 17% of respondents, was ‘poor agents’.
“Our research shows that the high fees charged by letting agents to tenants are seen by many of today’s ‘generation rent’ as unacceptable, particularly given the already high costs of paying rent and providing deposits upfront.” says James Davis, founder and CEO of.
The company, which lets over 1,000 properties a month and enables landlords to manage their properties directly, offers the services of a traditional high street lettings agent but at a fraction of the cost for both tenants and landlords.
Note: Amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill voted on yesterday in parliament and tabled by Labour follows last year’s OFT reports into the lettings industry which examined nearly 4,000 complaints by landlords and tenants about letting agents. Some 30% of these complaints were about fees and charges while 23% were complaints about poor service from agents.
OFT Report: http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/markets-work/lettings/oft1479.pdf
Notes to editors
Upad has taken the traditional high street lettings agent model and deconstructed it. Like the dating and travel categories before it, Upad empowers the customer with all the tools and support they need to self-manage their properties. Upad.co.uk offers immediate cost savings over using a traditional agent and offers landlords the largest online property distribution platform, ensuring extensive exposure for their properties – thereby maximising tenant leads. Tenants find a great choice of properties from professional landlords, and are treated openly and fairly throughout.
In September 2013, Upad reached its 6,000th transacted landlord and continues to grow exponentially every quarter as it drives true change in the lettings market.