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Fees ban - timetable suggests it won't be in place until 2018

The government says the formal consultation on the proposed introduction of a ban on letting agent fees levied on tenants in England will be held in the spring.

In a House of Lords debate it was announced that “The government is committed to introducing legislation as soon as possible to implement the ban on letting agent’s fees for tenants and we will consult in March and April on the details of the ban and will consider views of property [letting] agents, landlords, tenants and other stakeholders before introducing legislation.”

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says there are two probable routes to implementation - full consultation and primary legislation, which would be unlikely to be completed within 2017 or what it describes as “curtailed consultation and secondary legislation under existing statute” such as Competition & Consumer Regulations, which might be more possible within 2017. 

However the fact that the consultation may now not happen until the spring, along with the RICS’ belief that the government favours the primary legislation route, suggests that a ban is now unlikely to see the light of day in England until next year. 

Baroness Grender, the Liberal Democrat peer who has in recent months been calling for a ban on fees levied on tenants in England, was told by a government spokesman in the Lords yesterday that: “It’s important that we have a detailed consultation. Government officials were in Scotland ... to learn lessons from there, but I do have sympathy with a wide ranging ban on fees, although we do have to be careful in terms of the consultation in ensuring that we get it right.”

David Cox, managing director at the Association of Residential Letting Agents says: “The [government] has acknowledged the importance of a detailed consultation into the proposed ban on letting agent fees and that an Impact Assessment will be carried out. We cannot stress the importance that an assessment must look at the ban in a wide context which includes tenants, landlords, agents and the wider housing market; it is essential the government [is] completely aware of the full range of practical implications the ban on fees would have both in the short and long term.”

Last week a representative of the Department of Communities and Local Government - which would preside over the probable ban - told the NALS-led Fair Fees Forum that it should concentrate on considering how a ban could be enforced.

  • Simon shinerock

    Just pandering to a new electorate, nothing to do with efficiency, fairness or effectiveness. We are seeing this all the time now, political strategists using alogithms and big data identify what the people want to hear, feed it to their masters who mindlessly represent it as considered policy decisions. This kind of vote catching appeals only to popularism and left unchecked will lead to a dumber, poorer society. I would like to think there is a solution, just not sure what it is but what it isn't is engaging with a consultancy process predetermined to ignore common sense. Having said that, even although engagement isn't the solution, it's still essential, if for no other reason than to maintain selfesteem and go on the record with the rational counter argument. You can't strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

  • Robert Ulph

    I am confused as to what they actually want to ban now, Baroness Grender wants ALL fees that are related to anything a tenant has to pay THROUGHOUT the tenancy. This is just not correct as agents have legitimate costs to cover in doing these jobs. I worked out with the assistance of ARLA 17 hours per property of time is required to get someone moved in. OK we accept a ban is going to happen. I would be happy to agree to a reference fee ban to tenants, but not a tenancy fee charge ban which tenants pay to draw it up. If tenants want an extension to the tenancy instead of going periodic, they should have to pay for this as well NOT the Landlord. As long as the Agent/Landlord gives them a choice to roll over periodically for no charge. The check out fee Ok this is not much money for us £60 and maybe we can look to include this in a Landlords package or shared equally with both parties. Now this is what I call a consultation and not a blanket BAN on everything as this will just further affect stock as Landlords decide that these extra costs plus new tax legislation makes letting out property non profitable. What is the government going to do with these extra hundred of thousand of homeless people when there are not enough homes being built to house them. The government needs the Private rental sector, when will they understand this instead of constant attacking the profitability of the private investor. Banning all fees with increase costs to Landlords FACT and this WILL increase costs to tenants via the rent or lack of stock pushing rents up if Landlords leave the market.

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    ................Now this is what I call a consultation and not a blanket BAN on everything as this will just further affect stock as Landlords decide that these extra costs plus new tax legislation makes letting out property non profitable.......................

    How can you state such a thing landlords will just offload the costs onto a higher rent as suggested by letting agents who will still need to make a living. Non profitable my backside! You are talking out of what you should be sitting on.

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