What to Expect from UK Tenant Fees


Property marketFor tenants in the UK, moving house is not as simple as having enough income to pay the rent and having enough on the side for the deposit. The cost that is often overlooked until the last minute is the estate agent administration fees. Estate agents will need to take their cut and they’ll be taking it before you move in. Here’s what the tenant fees will cover two main services:

1. The Cost of Referencing

To ensure they find a suitable and trustworthy tenant, the lettings agent will run a series of checks on potential tenants. These include checking credit status,  current/previous employment checks and checking current/previous landlord references. All of these will be taken into consideration prior to arranging the tenancy agreement.

2. Providing a Tenancy Agreement

To ensure both the landlord and the tenant are protected in the case of any disputes, the lettings agent will provide a tenancy agreement for both parties to sign. If there are any issues with the property it is commonplace for the estate agents to make some decisions on behalf of the landlord or consult them on behalf of the tenant. This ensures the landlord does not a have to invest too much time into the property and gives the tenants any attention they need.

Are the Tenant Fees Reasonable?

As there is no industry standard cost and no regulation, the large profit margins that agents often make on these fees has always been questionable. More recently, the fees have become a topic of conversation as the government has recently announced plans to crack down on unfair costs in the near future. Unfortunately, we do not always have the luxury of choosing a house based on our estate agents but where possible you should look for an estate agent that is part of a professional body and charges reasonable fees for this service.

What is a Reasonable Tenant Administration Fee?

Some estate agents have been known to charge up to £600 in administration fees! This is why it is very important to check the fees prior to viewing houses. Rentify is one agent that is out to expose these fees, the following infographic shows average estate agent fees in various regions of the UK.

rentify prices

Tell us about your experiences with tenant fees. Do you think they are too high?


  1. I can’t comment on how high tenant fees are but as a landlord, I get charged a high fee by the letting/estate agent for finding me a tenant. I think the fee is high but I pay it because it generally means that the tenant has passed all the required credit checks etc and will be less likely to default on rent payment. I would hope that once the fees are regulated for tenants, similar fees for landlords will also be regulated.

    I’ve come here via theFIREstarter – you have a great blog here and it’s brilliant that you’ve started so young towards your financial independence goal (if only I had the sense or foresight at your age!)

    Good luck to the both of you!

    • Hey Weenie,

      I think the concept is sound and I suppose from the tenant perspective there is often security on their side from a well-written contract. Regulation should certainly be in place here and there should also be more information out there about how to protect yourself as a tenant.

      Unfortunately we’ve been on a rough ride from an inattentive landlord and incompetent (yet well known) estate agents. Despite being in a nice apartment complex, in the past 9 months we’ve endured theft, break-ins, 24hr+ fire alarms, incorrect meter readings(accessible only by e-agents), personal property damage by the e-agents and threats against retrieval of rent that we’ve paid before it’s due! Despite raising all of this frequently, none of our issues were ever resolved. When neither the landlord or agents are willing to play fair it’s often a very difficult position to be in as a tenant.

      Thanks for stopping by, great to meet another UK pf blogger!

      • Eeek… that sounds like a harsh 9 months Joe in terms of your tenancy!

        My worst experience was in student digs, I think a lot of landlords who rent out to students really don’t give a hoot about their tenants, but I can understand why (I bet they get a lot of agro from their side as well, and missed rent payments for example!). Anyway, the landlord started converting the basement into a flat without even telling us, which mean extremely loud drilling, hammering, digging, and so on happening right underneath our Living room floor, for about 3 months. Never good, but it was also the 3 months at the end of the “school year” so doing assignments and studying for exams was an absolute nightmare. Needless to say we didn’t pay our last rental payment, unfortunatley I’d paid most of mine on time like a good boy but some of my housemates were a few months in arrears which they never bothered paying, and the landlord didn’t really have a leg to stand on (despite the usual threats from “lawyers” and so on).

        I rented in London briefly and that seemed ok though. I think it is partially luck whether you get a good agent/landlord combo but obviously doing a bit of homework first never hurts! Good luck for your next place, I hope it is a better experience for you.

        • That sounds rough, one of the many disadvantages of renting; the invasion of privacy, but to start converting basement without telling you?!
          So far so good in our new home and we have more space than we know what to do with! Fingers crossed for the next few months!

          • Ha ha… You’ll soon fill it all don’t worry!

            That would be my main advice in fact, try to keep it as minimalist as possible and only buy things you reaaaaaally like. Otherwise you will no doubt go through the massive waste of time and money that is the cluttering/decluttering cycle that most people (including myself) go through when you get a new/slightly bigger living space.

  2. Gosh, I’m really sorry to hear about how incompetent the estate agent has been and what you’ve had to put up with. Do you deal mostly with the landlord or does the e-agent manage the property on behalf of the landlord? If the latter, do you know if they are a member of any of the following associations?

    ARLA (the Association of Renting and Letting Agents) – http://www.arla.co.uk/
    NAEA (the National Association of Estate Agents) – http://www.naea.co.uk/
    NALS (the National Approved Letting Scheme) – http://www.nalscheme.co.uk/
    UKALA (the UK Association of Letting Agents) – http://www.ukala.org.uk/

    If so, perhaps reporting them will improve their services.

    If they’re not a member of any of the above, in damaging your property etc, they’ve acted without due care and skill, so that could be a breach of the Supply of Goods and Services Act which can be reported to Trading Standards.

    I hope things improve and your issues get resolved.


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