Letting agents accused of ‘fraudulent listings’ and ‘treating renters like students’

Almost 30,000 London tenants claim they have been a victim of lettings fraud, research claims.

A poll by The Urban Collective, which provides a rental search service, claims 7% of renters in the capital have been fooled by listings with fake photos.

This number is then applied to the 955,000 privately rented homes in London and divided by the national average number of renters per household, which is 2.3. This gives a figure of 29,065.

It is not clear if, how and why these tenants would have still moved into the properties if the pictures were different from the initial listing.

The research also found that 29.5% of renters have given up plans to ever buy a home and 51% believe the property ladder will be reserved for “the elite” in 15 years’ time.

Almost a fifth of respondents also said they felt that letting agents treated them like students, while 22% have put up with a property they are unhappy with as they can’t bear the hassle of moving.

Mayank Mathur, co-founder of The Urban Collective, said: “Fifteen years ago, renting was a stop-gap until people could save enough to buy.

“Today, owning a home is a long-term goal and in 15 years’ time it might just be an impossible dream. If we’re going to become a nation of ‘forever renters’, then clearly the experience has to improve.

“No wonder the thought of renting forever makes Brits so unhappy.

“To date the rental market has been lagging behind the customer service found in other industries and geared towards serving landlords, not the tenants. Having personally experienced this ourselves, we’re trying to prioritise tenants for the first time and revolutionise the rental experience, bringing it into the 21st century.”

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  1. Votta583

    And guess what? It only stands to get worse when the fee ban is brought in and tenants no longer become customers paying for a service!

    heres an idea….. wait for it because it might blow your mind……


    Now there’s a thought.


    1. ALT10092

      As a landlord, when I pay commission to the agent, to find me a tenant. I don’t expect agents to fleece the tenants, with outrageous lettings fees.  I first noticed this around 2005, when my tenants were angry at me, because they thought I had fleeced them for ‘check-in’  ‘referencing’  etc…. I told them not a penny of this money came to me.. I apologised to them.    It is n’t a great way to start a relationship.

      Letting fees has hurt me, I had a proeprty for let, which was empty for two months.  I meet the agents to show the property to prospective tenants, who seem enthusiastic, but never follow up.  Until one day, I found a note through the door, from prospective tenants who told me, they were interested in the property , but the agent had wanted £900 in fees. The letting agent, never told me they found a tenant. Nor did they declared their fees to me. The agent had cost me two months in rent. I am sure, some of the other people who had seen the property would have been interested, but balked at the fees.

      I reluctantly use agents to find tenants. One big name firm, charge one couple £300 for referencing. When they sent it to me, it told me nothing about tenants. When I started to dig deeper, they did not have a written landlord’s reference (just a verbal conversation). No proof they were renting, as they were paying the rent in cash. They were not on the electoral register. The agency, would not give me copy of their bank statement or payslips because of data protection. Not even the address of their employer.

      I rejected the tenants and told them to refund them to referencing fee.






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