Residential Property Letting - How Much Does It Cost the Tenant?


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In every industry, in every market there is so much choice, this is certainly true of the property lettings market in the UK. Reportedly there are now over 10,000 letting agents in the UK so the choice is out there. So what can be expected to be paid before you move in to the property?

This article will outline the most common charges made by letting agents to tenants.

What are the most common charges before move in?

  1. Retaining Deposit
  2. Administration Charges
  3. Referencing Charges
  4. Tenancy Deposit

(1) Retaining Deposit

So you have found your ideal rental home and have said to the agent that you would like to rent it. Often you will be asked for a retaining deposit, this is basically covering the agent in case you change your mind or fail the referencing checks. If you have any doubts as to what the policy of the agent is regarding the retaining deposit then it is advisable to ask to see the agents retaining deposit guidelines.

(2) Administration Charges

Often agents will charge for their time with respect administration, this is something to look out for and would be advisable to ask about before handing over a retaining deposit. It will vary from letting agent to letting agent depending on their policy.

(3) Referencing Charges

The agent will run through a reference check in order to ensure that you do not have any known outstanding arrears. This check is performed using third parties and will normally take no more than a few days to complete. Usually this will be charged back to the tenant and also be aware if the reference check is failed then it is highly unlikely that the retaining deposit will be received back.

(4) Tenancy Deposit

The tenancy deposit is payable to cover the agent in case the property is damaged during the tenancy. It is normally 1 months rent value and is payable up front at the time of move in. Ensure that any damage that is found in the property is made clear to the letting agent before the tenancy agreement is signed in order that this can be noted that it was not caused during the upcoming tenancy. Any damage that is found when you move out will be taken out of this deposit. Normally you can expect to receive the deposit money back 1 month after your move out date.

In Summary

The 4 points listed above are the common upfront costs that can be made by letting agents. Usually it is possible to find this information on the letting agents website or they will provide this from the branch office. Often rental hunters will use letting agents that are affiliated to the industry authorities in order to get more peace of mind; these include RICS, ARLA and NALS.

Agents may have other charges so be sure that you are clear of all charges before signing or handing over any money. The best way to gain peace of mind is by word of mouth. If you know someone who has had a good experience and can tell you up front what they were charged then this is invaluable in your search. Ensure that the funds are available to cover all of the agents costs before you undertake your search for a property.

Chris Courtis is one of the co-founders of Rentright Property Letting Directory . Use the site to search for property, click through to agents websites or send email directly to agents. If your looking for Property for rent then look no further than


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