Tenant referencing and insurance firm FCC Paragon says its own referencing sector, as well as independent letting agents and smaller corporate agencies must be included in the government’s much-publicised consultation over a ban on letting agency fees levied on tenants.
Janie Gaston, the firm’s operations director, says her company is concerned that a lack of consultation with these parts of the industry will mean the eventual ban will not win significant support.
“To disclude them and those organisations integral to the referencing process, we believe, would be a missed opportunity to get the support of the masses” she says, adding that it is widely believed that the proposed ban - first mentioned by Chancellor Phillip Hammond in his Autumn Statement last year - “could pose a real threat to the quality and quantity of housing stock, which we all know is in scant supply.”
Ahead of the consultation period - thought to be most likely in March and April - FCC has contacted the government expressing its concerns.
Housing minister Gavin Barwell has given the now-standard response, saying: “Whilst most letting and managing agents provide a good service, a minority of agents offer a poor service and engage in unacceptable practices. ... The government is keen to see tenants receiving a good service from their landlord and letting agent and that is why we announced in the Autumn Statement regarding a ban on upfront letting agents fees paid by tenants in England.”