Tenants warned of agent hidden fees
A mystery shopping exercise by consumer group Which? has revealed letting agents are failing to provide upfront information about fees to potential tenants.
The exercise involved mystery shoppers posing as potential tenants at four different letting agents in London with results revealing:
- Failure to provide any information on fees in the property listings featured on their own website or on Rightmove.co.uk, or upon registration.
- One letting agent proactively provided information on the fees to one tenant when they registered in branch
- Failure to provide a written schedule of charges
- Failure to provide full details of fees in some case even when a tenant directly enquired about fees.
As a result, tenants are met with unexpected charges, often at a time when they have already committed to a property.
This could potentially bear a significant impact on a tenant’s budget which, naturally, will be of grave concern to landlords.
Richard Lloyd is the Executive Director at Which?:
“Renting is now the only housing option for millions, and with many households struggling to pay rent and bills, it is vital that letting agents are upfront about expensive fees in advance. People should know all the costs before they invest time and effort in viewings. Drip feeding fees is unfair and a major barrier to people comparing agents and properties.”
Which? is now calling for transparent fees for tenants with information readily available in adverts, on websites or upon first contact with the agents.
Content correct at time of publication