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Bid to ban letting agents' fees on tenants in another part of the UK

Letting agents’ fees levied on tenants - already banned in Scotland and now likely to be banned in England according to Chancellor Phillip Hammond - are now under threat in Wales, too.

Two Welsh parliament members, are separately applying to introduce private legislation which, if passed, will ban the fees.

Jenny Rathbone and Mike Hedges will know if they are successful in the ballot on January 25; if one or both is ‘drawn’ to introduce legislation, debates on the issue are expected to take place in the early spring.

Rathbone, a Labour representative, says many of her constituents in Cardiff Central suffer “really quite extortionate letting agency fees” - although BBC Wales says that in 2015 she opposed a Plaid Cymru proposal to ban such fees, thinking at the time that the Welsh Government did not have the delegated powers to enforce such a ban.

Douglas Haig, owner of Cardiff property management firm James Douglas Sales and Lettings - and director for Wales and vice-chairman of the Residential Landlords Association - has told the BBC that he does not condone unreasonable charges but he is warning that banning fees may make it harder to professionalise the industry.

"If we just outright ban fees, then we're going to have a number of consequences. The most important is around the professionalisation of the sector... If you are taking away money from the sector, that's going to be very difficult to continue providing quality.

"I don't think the vast majority of agents out there are actually profiteering. There are costs in running these businesses that people are unaware of and as increased state regulation comes in, those costs continue to rise."

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