Some student households in Liverpool are being forced to pay on average £403 in up-front lettings agency fees and people are being ripped off across the country, according to Labour.

Ed Miliband’s party conducted a “mystery shopper” survey and they say the results show fees are “out of control”.

Today, letting agents can charge renters whatever they want and student households are charged an average of £555 for a four-bedroom house.

In Lancaster the average sum was just £175 but in Bristol and Canterbury it was £966 and £899, respectively. In Manchester, the sum was £406.60.

Across the North West, letting agencies charge on average £328.20. This was lower than London, where the average sum is £883.40.

The fees are paid in addition to a tenancy deposit and usually one month’s rent in advance.

Labour state that “agencies should not be charging fees to students and other renters in the first place” and has made a manifesto commitment to scrap the charges.

Hilary Benn, Labour’s Shadow Communities Secretary, said: “A Labour Government will scrap the extortionate lettings fees that many student households and other renters are being forced to pay across the country. This Conservative-led Government has failed students and Labour is determined to make sure they get a much fairer deal, so we will also cut tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 a year.

“Ending rip-off fees will save student households £555 on average and will also mean big savings for families that rent their homes across the country too. Labour’s plan will make sure people are better off, not ripped-off.”

A recent National Union of Students report stated that fewer than one in four students thought the fees they had been charged were “fair and proportionate” to the work carried out. Letting fees in Scotland were banned in 2012.

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