The chancellor Philip Hammond may have announced in the Autumn Statement that letting agents in England will be banned from charging fees to tenants “as soon as possible”, but until the ban is officially introduced where currently are the cheapest and most expensive tenant fees across the country?
A cross section of national data recently collected by online estate agents Urban.co.uk offers a clear picture of the costs that UK tenants need to budget for when they move into a rental property.
Having assessed costs from over 400 letting agents, from 150 towns across the UK, Urban.co.uk found that the average tenant fees varied greatly with agents in Basingstoke, Hampshire, commanding the priciest average tenant fees, at an average of £621.67.
These costs include set-up costs to prepare a tenancy agreement, contract fees, referencing for two people, guarantor fees.
Based on the overall average, the five most expensive areas for tenant fees are:
1. Basingstoke – £621.67
2. Slough – £543.33
3. Cirencester – £535.00
4. Reading – £530.62
5. Alwick – £530.31
In contrast, the five cheapest areas on average for tenant fees are:
1. Habrough - £136.67
2. Worksop - £139.00
3. Market Harborough - £153.00
4. Lees - £162.98
5. Newham - £164.00
Priciest individual agencies
Breaking the research down to individual letting agency costs, the most expensive agencies are based in the following towns:
1. Slough - £1,198
2. Basingstoke - £1100
3. Cirencester - £950
4. Didcot - £756
5. Reading - £723
The cheapest individual agencies are based in the following locations:
1. Worksop - £72
2. Cleethorpes – £95
3. Newquay - £100
4. Harbrough - £105
5. Lowestoft - £110
Adam Male, founder of Urban.co.uk, commented: "In today’s turbulent property market, more and more people are turning to the private lettings market. Moving home – whether renting or buying – can be an expensive business, and often people aren’t aware of all of the costs that they may be subject to."
The study also found that some agents charge tenants costly ‘bolt-ons’, including extra for photocopying, extra copies of the tenancy agreements, additional keys for the front door, while one letting chain even charges £90 for a weekend move in.
"The additional costs that some tenants are required to pay can often be easily explained however, and this is something that letting agents often struggle to get across. For instance, speedy moving and name changes on tenancy agreements can be due to additional solicitors fees, so we recommend tenants ask up-front what fees they might be subject to and compare them with others in the local area to ensure they get the best deal," Male added.