Did you know there’s a brand new lettings agent website for people needing a new home?
Ok, you’ve got us – it isn’t a real lettings agent website, just a spoof one we’ve set up to show how bad renting can be.
There are no sunset filled pics of Georgian living rooms, no posh-sounding name and you certainly can’t rent the properties – and, to be honest, why would you?
Dodgy Lettings is actually a collection of some of the most shocking properties actually let to tenants in England. In fact, the website completely consists of real-life pictures and accounts people sent to Shelter.
They show properties that are barely fit to live in being let to tenants who are presumably either unaware of the problems when they move in or simply don’t have much of a choice – 48% of renters say it’s difficult to find a choice of homes they can afford, in area they want to live in.
The Dodgy Lettings website shows renting at its worst. Thankfully, most of it isn’t like this – the English Housing Survey shows most tenants are satisfied with their accommodation. But that’s not good enough. Shelter will always stand up for people facing bad housing and that includes highlighting the shocking things renters put up with, shown on Dodgy Lettings.
Sadly, bad conditions in the private rented sector are rife and are not improving at any great rate. The recent English Housing Survey still shows 3 in 10 rented properties fail the government’s Decent Homes Standard.
Poor conditions aren’t all tenants can look forward to either. Something that sinks the hearts of all renters is the dreaded f-word…
69% of renters using letting agents pay fees and we know the average cost for letting agents’ fees alone is £180. I was shocked at this and, just out of interest, I had a quick look at lettings agents in my area – I found some whopping fees: £300 for a tenancy agreement; reference checks at £156 per person; and a £180 continuation fee.
In case you missed it, that last one is a fee for staying put…honestly.
Remember that landlords pay lettings agents’ fees as well. So in many cases lettings agents will be charging both landlords and tenants hundreds of pounds to let the same property. Very cushty Rodney.
Then of course there’s the absurd charges we’ve heard of from tenants, including – and we’re not making this up – £400 for replacing a fridge handle and £50 for a lightbulb.
Obviously, we’re not saying all lettings agents are charging ridiculous or unjustifiable fees – the majority of lettings agents, like the majority of landlords, run good businesses and provide a good service for both landlords and tenants.
But that’s not enough – as long as we see persistently bad conditions and examples of extortionate fees, Shelter will carry on bringing them to attention and keep campaigning for them to be eliminated.
Thousands of Shelter supporters are asking the next Mayor of London to do this, and take action to make private renting more affordable, secure and safe. Join our campaign here, and together we can fix private renting.