LETTING fees that force renters in York to fork out hundreds of pounds on top of rent and deposits have been slammed in a national report.

Generation Rent, a UK wide campaign group for people who rent their homes, has surveyed renting hotspots across the country about the fees.

Charges for things such as tenancy agreements, reference checks, and renewing agreements can add hundreds to the cost of moving house, the campaign group has said. It has warned that desperate house hunters can feel they have no choice over the fees, while some letting agents are still not obeying laws which should force them to be more up front about the fees they levy.

The organisation's director Betsy Dillner said: "Competition for homes is fierce, so tenants aren’t in a position to avoid paying letting fees, and agents often charge what they like."

York, Manchester, and several London boroughs were all included in crowd-sourced research into how much letting agents charge and how well they publicise the charges.

Average fees among the 24 agents surveyed in York come to £419, with a range from £210 to £694.

Although not the most expensive area in the report - the London boroughs of Bromley and Croydon have average fees of £435, while in Waltham Forest the average was£461 - York was above the wider average of £386.

The prices are based on a setting a tenancy for a typical two-person household, and show charges that come on top of rent, deposit and moving costs.

Letting agents have been required by law to publish their fees since the Consumer Rights Act 2015, but Generation Rent are pushing the Government to go even further than the 2015 law, and ban letting fees altogether.

Ms Dillner added: "If tenant fees were banned, agents could start competing properly for business, and tenants wouldn’t have to dip into their savings to be able to move home.

"This project draws on the energy and enthusiasm of our volunteers and their hunger for a better deal from the rip-off lettings market."

Last August, City of York Council's housing boss Cllr David Carr agreed the council could use the strongest powers available to crack down on rogue landlords and agents, charging them the highest allowed fine of £5000 for breaking regulations about installing smoke alarms or for failing to publish their letting fees.