Tenant fees divide public opinion, with 46 per cent of Brits believing that tenants should not be forced to pay any admin fees or charges beyond a security deposit and the first month’s rent.
The YouGov survey, commissioned by TheHouseShop.com, revealed that just 2 per cent of people were of the opinion that tenants should pay over £250 in fees in order to secure a property. However, research from Citizens Advice placed the average fees charged by letting agents at a sizeable £337 per tenant.
The results were more definitive from tenants in the private rental sector, with over 60 per cent arguing that tenant fees should be abolished, and that people should not have to pay admin fees to secure a property.
When excluding respondents who selected the ‘N/A’ option and focusing only on people who thought tenants should pay some sort of admin fee it was found that the majority of those surveyed felt that fees should be kept to a minimum. 61 per cent felt that tenants should not pay over £50 in admin fees. For those in the private sector, this figure rises to 74 per cent.
However, this does not mean that landlords should shoulder unnecessary costs. The results show that many people feel that tenants should pay a small fee to cover legitimate expenses during the tenancy application process.
Co-founder of TheHouseShop.com, Nick Marr, said: ‘Our latest YouGov survey results clearly show that there is little public support for the current system where tenants can end up paying hundreds of pounds in admin fees to secure a new property. In fact, the majority of people said that tenants should pay a minimal fee of no more than £50 – above and beyond a security deposit and one month’s rent – or should pay no admin fees at all. Our experience shows that more and more tenants are actively seeking out private landlords in an attempt to avoid the hefty fees charged by some letting agents. Many tenants are prepared to pay a small fee for legitimate expenses involved in securing a property, such as a professional reference check, as this has become common practice even among private landlords – but vague and undefined ‘admin charges’ that can total hundreds of pounds are tough to defend in the current market.’