Some letting agencies in Wales are charging new tenants nearly £600 in set-up fees alone, according to new research from a housing charity. Shelter Cymru carried out a mystery shopping exercise to investigate fees at different agents.
The charity found that some tenants could be charged as much as £594 in administration fees for a property at the average market rent. Tenants looking to begin renting usually have to pay the fees on top of a month's advance rent, and a deposit which is normally a month's rent.
Shelter Cymru's survey also found that many charges weren't well advertised, so people looking to rent were unable to discover the costs until they've started an application and have handed over some non-refundable payments. Some agents charge a flat fee to tenants, while others vary it depending on the rent level.
The Property Ombudsman's Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents, which around two-thirds of lettings agents are currently signed up to, stipulates that agents should flag up any potential liability for fees, charges and penalties 'prior to an applicant's offer being formally accepted'.