The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) has called for a cap on excessive letting fees charged to tenants, instead of a blanket ban.
The organisation, which represents letting and management agents, says a cap is an appropriate way of curbing excessive fees, which are only charged by a minority of agents.
Chief Executive of NALS, Isobel Thomson, says it is time for the industry to act before an outright ban becomes a 'real option' for the government.
The Renters' Rights Bill, which proposes an outright ban on fees charged to tenants, is currently making its way through parliament – having received two unopposed readings in the House of Lords.
Earlier this year, a petition against fees received widespread media coverage and was supported by Baroness Grender. The petition, 'Make Renting Fair in England', now has over 250,000 signatures.
Thomson says that efforts to explain to the media and the government why upfront fees are often fair and necessary are 'hampered' by 'sensationalist headlines' which are sometimes based on 'spurious research'.
"We believe a cap is an appropriate way of curbing any excessive fees and offering protection to the consumer," explains Thomson.
"By offering a cap calculated and enforced at a local level, we still allow agents to be paid for the work they do in setting up a tenancy, while also ensuring a fair, set rate for tenants."
The NALS chief is now urging all industry bodies to come together to offer this 'proper solution to an all out ban'.
Last week, research from Upad claimed that the majority of tenants would rather a rent cap than a ban on letting agent fees.