Renting in the dark

Tenants are being let down by an unregulated lettings market, with significant upfront costs, variable fees and a lack of transparency around charges. In a mystery shopping exercise of letting agents in three cities, the range and type of fees charged varied significantly; for example, administrative fees ranged from £95 to £375.

Unlike estate agents, letting agents are unregulated and under no compulsion to hold membership of an ombudsman service, leaving dissatisfied tenants with no access to redress. The Resolution Foundation is calling for greater regulation to improve transparency and create a more competitive market.