URBAN's tenant fee research

With the Autumn Statement focussing the nation's attention on tenant fees, take a look at URBAN's recent research on the subject

  • Tenants fees in the UK range from £72 to £1,198
  • Basingstoke boasts the priciest average tenants fees, while
  • Habrough, in Humberside, is the cheapest on average
  • Data reveals some unexpected agency costs

Urban.co.uk, the national online estate agency has collated a cross section of national data that gives renters 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 high street and online letting agents, from 150 towns across the UK, Urban.co.uk found that the average tenants fees varied greatly.

On 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

These costs include:

  • Setup costs to prepare a tenancy agreement;
  • Contract fees;
  • Referencing for two people;
  • Guarantor fees.
  • Also provides the overall cost for an unmarried couple to move into an average
    rental property.

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

Costly bolt-ons

What renters may be unaware of is the sometimes costly ‘bolt-ons’ that some agencies charge their tenants and inconsistency in fees between varying letting agents. This research highlights a variety of additional charges that may not have been budgeted for.

Examples include:

  • Pricey photocopying. At one agency getting photocopying done customers can be charged £5 for a copy of the tenancy agreement, whether they want to receive the copy or not!
  • Copy of tenancy agreements. If multiple tenants require more than one copy of an original tenancy agreement from one agency, the duplicates will cost £25 a copy.
  • A weekend move. Moving in on a Saturday will cost an additional £90 by one letting chain.
  • Speeding moving. Moving quickly could incur an additional fee of £144 from one agency.
  • A key to your new front door. One agency charges an additional £7.50 to get hold of the key to the new rental property.

Perhaps most surprising is the fact that personal circumstances can also influence tenant agency fees.

For instance:

  • At one agency, getting married or divorced and changing a surname on a tenancy agreement costs £200.
  • If a tenant is co-habiting but not married, some agencies in certain areas will charge an additional ne-off fee of £40.
  • Many agencies across the UK charge extra if a couple have only been living together for nine months or less when embarking on a joint tenancy.

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. This data looks to offer greater transparency to the varying tenants fees, even in the same geographic region, encouraging people to shop around for the best deal and also double check what additional fees they may need to budget for. 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 comparing them with others in the local area to ensure they get the best deal. With that said, many high street agents do not fully reveal all of the fees that tenants may have to pay. We hope this latest data encourages more agents to be more transparent with their fees, and that will help reduce the negative opinion that some may have of the private lettings industry

Adam Male, Director URBAN.co.uk

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