Make Renting Fair In England
My name’s Vicky – I’m features editor on The Debrief and I’m also part of what people refer to as 'Generation Rent'. We are a generation of young people who are likely to be renting throughout our adult lives. I’m about to move for what I would say is probably the 6th or 7th time in 9 years – and my boyfriend and I just handed over £552 in letting agents' fees in the process.
In fact, over the last 9 years, agency fees have probably cost me over £2000 - and I’m only 28. This is money I’ll never get back. It turns out renting is a lucrative business if you’re on the right side of it – which I’m not.
Letting agency fees in England are totally unregulated. However, in Scotland they’ve been completely banned since 2012!
Walk down any high street in England and you could go into five different letting agents who would all charge you a different fee. You have to pay for the privilege of dealing with them, to secure a property and even to change the name on a piece of paper? You’re then also charged an inflated fee for a credit check, which actually costs as little as a tenner.
For instance, the fee charged by Foxtons to change a name on an existing tenancy is £210. ‘For what?!’ one friend of mine protested recently, before she called them and offered to go in and print off the documents herself.
I have paid as little as £80 and as much as £552 in agency fees on different properties. How is it possible that fees can vary so much from agency to agency? It’s a rip off and the agents are getting away with it.
This is why we, at The Debrief, are calling on the Housing Minister to pledge to take action on agency fees.
The legislation needs to change and reflect the reality of our society now – we are becoming not just a generation, but a nation of renters, and the system is stacked against us. Renting is the new normal but the market in England is broken.
Step one for fixing it? Let’s start with banning these unfair letting agency fees. Let’s get a better deal for Generation Rent, we’re frozen out of the property market and nobody should be cashing in on that.
Thanks for your support. Let's ban letting agents' fees and make renting fair!
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