Government to ban agents’ fees

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There’s some huge news for renters in today’s Autumn Statement. The government has announced plans to scrap all letting fees charged to tenants ‘as soon as possible.’

That means when you move, all you can be asked to pay is your first month’s rent and a deposit. No more charges for credit checks, inventories or admin fees. Those will now have to be paid by the landlord.

Unsurprisingly, when we asked SpareRoom users earlier this year whether you were in favour of this change, 92% of you said yes. Surprisingly, 75% of landlords also agreed.

Scotland already scrapped letting fees charged to tenants in 2012 – now England and Wales will follow suit, after the chancellor’s surprise announcement today.

We’ll update you when we know more about when these will come into effect. In the meantime, tell us your experiences of letting fees in the comments below.

Move over tuition fees, rent rises are the hottest topic for students

Tuition fees have been fiercely debated in recent years. But rising rents are having just as big an impact on student debt, with the university you choose making a huge difference to how much you owe when you graduate.

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There’s been an annual rent rise of up to 10% in some university cities, meaning students are up to £600 a year worse off. However this year students aren’t just battling rising rents, they’re also affected by a private rental market struggling to cope with demand – in parts of London and Edinburgh, 5 people are competing for every room available. Overall this means that where you go to uni can have a huge impact on your housing experience and post graduation debt (no one mentions that at the open day).

For example, the difference between rent for students at Imperial College in London compared to those studying at St. Andrew’s in Scotland is a massive £792 a month. Over a three-year course the difference is eye watering – over £28,500. Even choosing Durham over Oxford could save students more than £7,000 in rent over three years.

Durham students have one of the best chances of finding a student-friendly house share, with 92% of rooms available to students – over 20% more than the national average. Durham is also arguably one of the best cities to be a student as rents in the area have actually decreased over the past year – bet you’re feeling smug now Durham students!

Check out our table below for all the facts, figures and average room rents in 30 of the UK’s top university towns and cities:

Rank University Location Ave monthly room rent Q2 2016 (£) Annual % difference between Q2 2015 & Q2 2016
1 Cambridge Cambridge £541 6%
2 Oxford Oxford £557 10%
3 St Andrews Kirkcaldy £339 3%
4 Surrey Guildford £574 9%
5 Loughborough Loughborough £350 3%
6 Durham Durham £362 -1%
7 Imperial College London SW7 £1,131 4%
8 Lancaster Lancaster £371 5%
9 Warwick Coventry £388 5%
10 Bath Bath £448 2%
11 Exeter Exeter £434 4%
12 London School of Economics London WC2 £1,034 -5%
13 Birmingham Birmingham £405 -2%
14 UCL London WC1 £870 4%
15 Coventry Coventry £388 5%
16 Leeds Leeds £374 6%
17 Southampton Southampton £436 4%
18 City London EC1 £920 2%
19 York York £400 6%
20 Sussex Brighton £511 4%
21 Edinburgh Edinburgh £469 7%
22 Kent Canterbury £418 -1%
22 UEA Norwich £401 7%
24 Nottingham Nottingham £374 4%
25 Glasgow Glasgow £390 4%
26 Heriot-Watt Edinburgh £469 7%
27 Dundee Dundee £323 4%
28 Aston Birmingham £405 -2%
29 SOAS London WC1 £870 4%
30 Manchester Manchester £414 7%

Source: SpareRoom.co.uk

As usual we’d love to hear your stories. Are you struggling with the cost of renting? Did you choose your university based on the cost of housing as much as the course? Let us know in the comments.

Flatsharing heads to the Fringe

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We’re excited to announce SpareRoom’s partnership with Rent Girl, a hilarious and brutally honest comedy about the life of a renter, written for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Rent Girl is the latest project from actress and writer Maddy Anholt and follows the success of Diary of a Dating Addict, which enjoyed a sell out run at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe and transferred to London’s Soho Theatre this year.

Previews start this month and run across the UK throughout July, before the show heads up to Edinburgh for the Fringe.

Here’s what Maddy has to say about Rent Girl:

Hello, my name is Maddy Anholt and I am a rent girl. I’ve been a rent girl for the last ten years in London. I worked out the other day what I’ve spent on rent in London over the last ten years. £136,000. That’s not a typo… £136,000. Pretty vomit-inducing, isn’t it?

The fact is by 2025 only 26% of young adults will be on the housing ladder. That means 74% of us will be rent boys and rent girls by 2025. Rent goes up and up and our salaries stay the same so we don’t have much choice in the matter.

But is it possible to have an enjoyable renting experience? An experience where you could leave food in the cupboards safely knowing it’d be there when you got home? Where you didn’t wake up to your flatmate watching you sleep at the end of your bed? Where you didn’t find questionable hairs in your toothbrush?

It all started in 2009 when I first came to London from a remote countryside town to try and build my empire. I put up an advert looking for work: “Young, fresh girl seeks any part-time work… excellent typing and oral skills”. You can imagine the responses I got.

Rent Girl is Sliding Doors meets Pretty Woman … was I better off taking the job as a children’s entertainer ending up with two broken toes, or should I have sold my underwear for £800 a pop to afford my rent?

Rent Girl previews opened 26th June at The Comedy Room, Camden and run throughout July. For full dates and tickets see: www.maddyanholt.com or find Maddy on Twitter @maddy_anholt

Rent Girl will be at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Gilded Balloon, 17:30, 3rd – 29th August. www.gildedballoon.co.uk