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NALS-led forum asked to consider how fees ban could operate

The Fair Fees Forum, a platform for letting agencies and trade bodies set up by the National Approved Lettings Scheme, has been asked by a government representative to concentrate on considering how the proposed ban on fees levied on tenants could operate.

The forum, launched by NALS last October shortly before the government announced it wished to ban fees on tenants in England, met last week.

A minute of the meeting says the representative from the Department for Communities and Local Government, which will effectively draft the proposed ban, reminded the group of the government’s policy. 

“Therefore, the excellent work of the group should be focussed on continuing to provide evidence and data to help inform government on the fee ban and how best to make it work” the minute continues.

The forum was attended by agents including Belvoir, Chestertons, the Connells Group, Countrywide, Hamptons, Hunters, LSL Property Services, Northwood, Savills, Spicerhaart and Winkworth as well as trade bodies, redress organisations, the DCLG and even Shelter. 

The forum also discussed the implications of the fee ban in terms of loss of service to tenants, possible increased cost for tenants in accessing a tenancy, the potential decrease in choice of agent for consumers, and an increase in self-management by landlords - all against a backdrop of a lack of regulation in the sector.

The group also backed a call from NLAS - reported here in December - that the Competition and Markets Authority should be asked to review fees and charges in the lettings market.

The forum is to meet again after the start of the government’s formal consultation process on the proposed fees ban - no date has yet been given by DCLG for this.

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    why No Independent letting agency ?

  • Robert Ulph

    In short the ban:
    1) Forces agencies to close as they will become impossible to operate profitably.
    2) Open the door for more rogue agents and Landlord to operate under the radar.
    3) Tens of thousands of redundancies in the industry as the remaining companies cut costs to survive.
    4) Increase rents to tenants as costs get transferred to Landlords
    5) Reduces stock further as Landlords sell up due to the new tax laws and increased costs due to fees being transferred to them.
    6) Increased rents via rent reviews at every available opportunity to balance the extra costs to Landlords when the property becomes available again.
    7) Drop in service from agents due to the extra workload would put on a company with fewer staff trying to do the work of 2 as companies cut back to take in the losses.

    I could go on and as someone who worked out that we as industry we spend 17 hours per application from start to finish. How can the government say that the fees are not justified. I am all for a cap on fees but also to be paid for what we do. Maybe we should look at charging the government for the right to rent checks we do. Forget Landlords even having the first clue what to do to comply with that law.

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    8) Can no longer take tennants fees in Cash and pocket the money rather than putting it through the books........ Bummer!!!

     
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    Couldn't have put it better myself. I shall use your comments at my appointment with my MP next week. Don't forget to lobby yours

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    Robert ...spot on

    Central government trying to take control of the private rented sector again,

    Never mind letting agents...how did / do Councils , Housing Associations, or now pension fund backed build to rent, fair in the past

    Highest ever complaints records...expensive salaries to Council and Housing Association staff , political bias, drop in private investment...

    The government is going to fall into the traps of the past...fair rents...longer tenure devaluation of let property values will knock on to lending....expensive ' subsidised Housing ' big salary Housing bosses...

    The attack on letting agents is planned and targeted for political reasons nothing to do with fair standards....let the private sector build the housing stock especially in our city centres...let private landlords buy the stock.....then let the government take it over and control it to satisfy the pension funds and government ratings.

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