New research has revealed that “double dipping” – charging landlords and tenants for the same services – is a common practice among letting agents.

Direct Line For Business recommends shopping around to get the best rates from letting agents.

One letting agent was found to have charged a landlord £670 to change the date on a contract, alongside charging £90 for the same service to the tenant.

The figures, published by Direct Line for Business (DL4B) showed a staggering disparity between charges set in place by agents, including inventory charges ranging from £65-£300 and property visits at £20-£100.

Fees for landlords also vary markedly, from 5% to 17%. Whilst the average is 11%, charges take the annual expense much higher.

Direct Line comment:

“Taking into account agents’ fees, taxes and unbudgeted costs such as emergency property repairs, landlords can easily pay out expenses of 25% of their annual rental income for a property.”

Additional research from website Spareroom has found a renting costs around 10% more than 5 years ago, whilst renters’ budgets are down by 0.5%. This gap is even wider in Scotland, where rents have risen by 24% but budgets have shot down by 22%.

If rising living costs and personal circumstances have driven you into difficulty, Harrington Brooks are here to help. Our advisers can help you find the best financial solution for your debts, whilst our legal team are on hand to help you deal with any contractual disputes you might have with your landlord or letting agent.