What is the campaign?

The private rental sector remains a market in which consumers are under-protected. We want this to change. Citizens Advice is campaigning for better protection for private renters. We believe that no renter should ever have to pay excessive and inexplicable fees for the basic service a letting agent provides and be at the mercy of rogue landlords (the minority of landlords who consistently and deliberately break rules). We want to see an end to extortionate fees levied on renters by letting agents and see all local authorities in England participating in landlord registration to tackle the specific problems in their area.

What research did Citizens Advice Plymouth carry out?

In August and September 2015 we conducted research about letting agents’ fees in Plymouth. Our team did an online survey of 49 letting agents’ websites in Plymouth. From May 2015, letting agencies in England and Wales must:

  • All of the fees that they charge for renting a property privately, including those that may not be calculable at the time
  • Who you can complain to if the letting agent provides poor service
  • Whether they are a member of a client money protection scheme or not.

As a result of this, we gathered information from letting agents operating and letting properties in Plymouth to see if city’s letting agents were complying with this new law.

What we found out?

  • Two agencies in Plymouth were not a member of any compulsory Redress Schemes
  • Only 2 in 5 letting agencies provided a clear information about their fees on their website, alongside the advertisement for the properties, and ten per cent did not provide this information
  • If agents apply all fees total average cost before moving into two bedroom property could be £1,814 for a single person.

Action taken

Information has been shared with Plymouth Trading Standards who have looked further and they are working to tackle the problems.

Renters’ Rights Film Project for the Devon area

Information and links

Citizens Advice provides information about how to go about renting or buying a home or just finding somewhere to live. You can also find advice on handling problems with your landlord and help to avoid losing your home.

How to rent: the checklist for renting in England serves as a helpful checklist for anyone searching for a house or flat to rent, offering guidance through every step of the letting process.

House-hunting can be very stressful and confusing. To help you we’ve put together a checklist which identifies some of the key things you should be looking for.

In certain circumstances it may necessary for a tenant or group of tenants to have a guarantor. Being a guarantor may bring some risks. Download our Guide for Tenant Guarantors to get more information.