Public opinion split on tenant fees

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Half of Brits say tenants should not pay any admin fees, survey finds

With the proposed tenant fees ban causing concern in the lettings industry, property marketplace TheHouseShop.com have commissioned a YouGov survey to get some insight into public opinion on the issue.

Research from Citizens Advice places the average fees charged by letting agents at £337 per tenant, however TheHouseShop’s new survey results show that just 2% of people thought tenants should have to pay more than £250 in fees to secure a property. 

In fact, the results show that 46% of Brits think tenants shouldn’t pay any admin fees or charges, above and beyond a security deposit and first month’s rent. When excluding respondents who selected the “don’t know” option, this figure rises to 54% (as shown in the table below).

Question asked:

Approximately how much, if any, do you think a tenant should pay in admin fees and/or charges to secure a new rental property?

The results for tenants renting from a private landlord showed more definitive support for an outright ban on fees, with over 60% (61% when excluding “don’t knows”) saying tenants shouldn’t have to pay any admin fees to secure a property. 

How much is too much? 

By excluding respondents who selected the “N/A” option and focusing only on people who thought tenants should pay some sort of admin fee, we can get a better sense of the public opinion on pricing. 

When the results are broken down in this way we can see that almost two thirds of these respondents (61%) thought tenants should pay no more than £50 in admin fees to secure a property. This figure increases to three quarters (74%) when looking at the results for private renters only.

The results show that many people are happy with the idea that tenants should pay a small fee to cover legitimate expenses during the tenancy application process, but less than 10% of respondents thought tenants should have to pay more than £150 to secure a property. 

Co-founder of TheHouseShop.com, Nick Marr, comments on the results“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.”

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