Council claims that letting agents extort fees from tenants

Cambridge council is considering setting up its own letting agency because it wants to protect private sector tenants from what it calls ‘extortion’ by some letting agents.

This follows a survey of 91 letting agencies which revealed that tenants in Cambridge had to pay an average of £902 in upfront fees covering deposits, administration charges, and payments for reference checks and credit security.

“All Cambridge renters deserve the option of a letting agent that will not profiteer and will prevent people having to put up with the scourge of all these fees and inappropriate practices,”according to Cambridge councillor George Owers.

He says letting agents can in some circumstances, “extort as much money as they possibly can in hidden fees and charges” and believes that the Council’s intervention may force some letting agents to change their practices.

It is for this precise reason that Walton & Allen never, ever charge upfront fees – no admin charges, no fees for handling deposits, reference checks or credit security. Like the majority of letting agents, we work hard to protect the image and reputation of our industry and abhor the actions of the minority who act in this fashion.