Generation Rent is strengthening its calls for letting agent fees charged to tenants to be abolished in their entirety.
After researching 718 agents, it says it could not find any fees published anywhere for 99 of them, and that one third did not publish fees on their websites – as required by law.
Generation Rent’s Letting Fees website is now reporting on letting agent fees in ten locations. Eight are London boroughs, with the other being Manchester and York.
It names a firm called Skampi in the London borough of Tower Hamlets as charging the highest fees, at £780.
It says the average is £385.
A further five areas are now being researched.
Generation Rent says that its new report makes out the full case for banning letting agent fees “in their entirety”.
Generation Rent says: “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.”
It asks its supporters to sign the ‘ban fees’ petition launched by young women’s consumer website The Debrief, which yesterday was nearing 250,000 signatures.
Generation Rent director Betsy Dillner said: “Competition for homes is fierce, so tenants aren’t in a position to avoid paying letting fees, and agents often charge what they like.
“If tenant fees were banned, agents could start competing properly for business, and tenants wouldn’t have to dip into their savings to be able to move home.
“This project draws on the energy and enthusiasm of our volunteers and their hunger for a better deal from the rip-off lettings market.”