Citizens Advice Cymru has called on the Welsh Government to ban letting agent fees in Wales. New analysis from the charity reveals that renters in Wales pay at least £3 million a year in fees when they move into a privately rented home, with charges averaging £178. The total figure could be even higher as this does not take into account charges people may be charged during their tenancy, such as a contract renewal fee.

Currently, letting agents can charge tenants for tasks such as signing contracts, checking references and renewing tenancies. These fees have to be paid on top of rent and deposits. Citizens Advice Cymru wants the charges banned as they can make it hard for renters to manage their money, and can push people into debt as they’re hit by unexpected fees.

Letting agent fees were banned in Scotland in 2012, and a ban in England was announced by the UK government in November 2016.

As a Welsh Government consultation considering the banning of fees charged to tenants in the private rented sector closes, Citizens Advice Cymru is calling for all fees charged to tenants, other than rent in advance and refundable deposits, to be banned. The charity has also called for the ban to be watertight so that letting agents can’t get around the rules.

Fran Targett, Director of Citizens Advice Cymru said “Banning letting agent fees would help thousands of renters across Wales. Moving house can be expensive and renters are currently at the mercy of letting agents who set their own charges. Excessive fees can make renting a home prohibitively expensive. Landlords can choose between letting agents, so they should be the ones who pick up the bill for any charges, not renters.

“In order for the ban for be effective, it must be enacted fully and without loopholes. This means that renewal fees and other charges must be included in the ban.”