Why renting in London is a nightmare
Long deposits and agents’ fees are now prolific, says UK flatshare site SpareRoom.co.uk has found.
The cost of moving to a new rental property has hit an average of £1,175 – including a four-week deposit, the first month’s rent, agents fees and removal costs. This figure rises to £2,043 in London, where a deposit equal to six weeks’ rent is now the norm.
Across the UK 95% of those who used a letting agent paid fees and over half (51%) had to pay a six-week deposit. Compare this to just 46% who paid fees when arranging their new rental property via existing tenants and only 29% paid a six-week deposit.
Against a backdrop of rents rising 4% annually, letting agents are charging UK tenants £201 per move, rising to £205 in London, according to the new data, which also reveals that ‘admin costs’ and fees for tenancy agreements and credit checks are the most common charges.
Almost three quarters (73%) of UK tenants and 76% of London tenants must budget for fees, most non-refundable, with more than a fifth (22%) charged holding fees for reserving a room. Almost three in ten (29%) Londoners pay upwards of £300 in fees, while 15% pay more than £400.
Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk, said: “The high cost of moving means that flexibility – one of the main benefits of flatsharing – is starting to suffer. Six-week deposits are becoming common, especially in London, and as deposits are linked to rents they’re getting more expensive across the board as rents rise.
“With renters having to find a new deposit before they get their old one back, many simply can’t afford to move. That can mean missing out on employment opportunities or having to put up with rent increases.
“One option to avoid longer deposits and high fees, or even to avoid fees altogether, is to deal direct with the landlord or rent a room from a homeowner looking for a lodger.”