Student survey finds over 44% claiming to pay 'hidden' fees to agents

A survey of students in Birmingham has discovered that over 44 per cent of respondents claim to have paid what the organisers call ‘hidden’ fees to letting agents.

Some 246 individuals from this group of respondents paid administration fees, 102 paid ‘hold the property’ fees, 53 late fees, and 31 ‘other’ fees.

The study was by Redbrick, the newspaper of the University of Birmingham students’ union, and looked at the Selly Oak area of the city; Redbrick says 49 per cent of the area’s residents are students, mostly privately renting.

The publication spoke with Patrick Garratt, managing director of the Purple Frog student accommodation agency, who said the increase in rents - between two and five per cent each year for the past decade - was down to increased demand and restrictions imposed on landlords by the local authority.

Gary King, managing director of King & Co Properties - a local letting agency - also noted the recent rise in prices, stating that “as an approximate estimate, [he] would say landlords increase rents annually by £1-2 per person per week on average” for their properties.

However, King told Redbrick that after letting student properties for over 17 years he has seen the whole sector move upmarket, with much improved properties and services to students in return for their higher fees.

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