Need a new place to rent? Try Dodgy Lettings.

Did you know there’s a brand new lettings agent website for people needing a new home?

Dodgy Lettings cuts through the jargon, shows renters what to look out for and what to avoid. This video also shows the kind of service you can expect from their friendly staff.

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…

Fees.

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.

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8 Comments
  1. ” the majority of lettings agents, like the majority of landlords, run good businesses and provide a good service for both landlords and tenants.”

    Do they? How do we know that?

    1. The way to interpret that is Shelter not wanting to rustle the feathers of landlords, it’s like they’re afraid of them. It’s very sad some people at Shelter have that attitude because as you allude to the quality of housing is very low in the private rented sector and rents are ridiculously high, there is very little professionalism and compared to similarly wealthy countries in Europe, we get a very raw deal.

      There is also a lot of tax avoidance and even blatant tax evasion by landlords (like the wear and tear allowance) and that has serious knock on effects for the rest of society. It feels as though Shelter sometimes cosy’s up to private landlords just because they for want of a better term ‘provide shelter’. Also only a tiny proportion of landlords want anything to do with vulnerable tenants, the very people Shelter should be representing most.

      1. Do you expect anyone to take anyone seriously who calls themselves “Rent Rebel”?

      2. Yes again Shelter waste their money on creating videos to mock landlords. In the interest of fairness, why does the website have a gallery of photos properties wrecked by tenants?.

        If Shelter care about housing conditions, then they should help to defend landlord from bad tenants who wreck properties. When stuff is wrecked it ends up in landfill but also the condition impacts the next tenant who has to live there.

      3. “There is also a lot of tax avoidance and even blatant tax evasion by landlords (like the wear and tear allowance) and that has serious knock on effects for the rest of society.”

        You dont know what you are talking about. The wear and tear allowance is not tax evasion. If you don’t have a clue about accounting, then there is no need to explain things to the ignorant. They were put in for good reason.

        George Osborne has got rid of mortgage tax relief, it means some landlords could end up paying £1.20 in tax for for every £1 in rent. It is an attack on ‘good’ landlord who follow the rules and pay tax. Do you know any business which gets taxed at 120%??? It is a bit of a joke facebook pays nearly 0% tax, whilst ‘some’ landlords are subject to 120% tax.

        Rents will have to be re-priced to cover the tax or many landlords like myself who follow the rules will decide to sell up.

        The tax change will have a huge impact. Landlords will have to decide whether to pay the tax or carry out repairs. I have never bought second hand furniture for my tenants, but I may have to go down that route. Those who campaigned for more taxes on landlords won, but the price has to be paid by tenants.

        I have not increased rents in many years, but I am frustrated, I have to increase them to pay the higher tax or sell-up.

        Many landlords are frankly fed up with changes to housing regulations every few weeks. if you miss one item, you will be labelled a rogue landlord.

        ” there is very little professionalism and compared to similarly wealthy countries in Europe,”

        In Germany, tenants are much better, they don’t go round bashing landlords or wreck property.

        No German feels inferior if they are renting. UK landlords should sell up and operate in Germany.

        There is automatic rent rises. (In the UK I have not increased the rents in years).

        In Germany, after 10 years if the property is sold at profit there is no capital gains tax (unlike the UK). There is greater respect for landlords. Tenants have to supply their own kitchens and bathrooms, so less burden on a landlord.

        1. Honestly you are so arrogant. You think you set the rents? No the market is supposed to determine the rents not you. It’s not meant to be some sort of protection racket,. If people aren’t willing to pay the rent you want then you reduce it or you sell up, in this case I’d encourage you to do the latter before you go bankrupt.

          And no I wasn’t saying the wear and tear allowance is tax evasion I was saying that the allowance has encouraged tax evasion because some landlords can claim it on unfurnished properties because the chances of that being checked is pretty minimal..

          Your tax calculations are frankly a load of shit. Perhaps landlords should factor in the capital gains tax that isn’t paid when they use equity from another property when they buy another.

          1. “It’s very sad some people at Shelter have that attitude because as you allude to the quality of housing is very low in the private rented sector and rents are ridiculously high, there is very little professionalis”
            Are you saying public rented – housing assoc or council, is good. Then you need to rent with them. most people i know say its basic and no choice and you do know its excempt from all crap private rental market has to endure – minimal room size, minimal people in the house. one rule for the piss takers who have ‘made the law’ and harsh other rule others. what happened to a fair society – sorry its gone down the bog.

            “If people aren’t willing to pay the rent you want then” get your own place and if you fall behind payments, get ready to be thrown out on the streets, as the ‘banks are protected’ by the likes of you and me by the people you voted in.

            And if one thinks the rent to too high, go somewhere else, best ask the council or housing assoc, if they give a shit about you, that is.

  2. ” the majority of lettings agents, like the majority of landlords, run good businesses and provide a good service for both landlords and tenants.”

    I must be very unlucky.

    Four out of the four lettings agents I have dealt with have conformed to the very worst stereotypes discussed in this article, as have 3 out of the 4 private landlords I have rented from.

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