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Fees Ban: MPs will soon start scrutiny of government proposals

The Communities and Local Government Select Committee says it is to begin “pre-legislative scrutiny” of proposals to ban tenant fees imposed by agents on tenants in England with a series of oral evidence hearings in the New Year.

This will involve experts, tenant, agent and landlord associations, and trading standards authorities all giving evidence to the committee; this will happen in tandem with an existing process, already underway, for the committee to look at the wider performance of the private rental sector as a whole.

ARLA says that during the oral evidence sessions the committee will scrutinise the policy objectives, key provisions and likely impact of the Draft Tenants Fees Bill, revealed at the end of last month. 

This will include assessing:

  • the government's stated objective is to deliver 'a fairer, more competitive, and more affordable lettings market where tenants have greater clarity and control over what they will pay and where the landlord is the primary customer of the letting agent.' Do the provisions of the Draft Bill enable this objective to be achieved?
  • Are the draft Bill's provisions necessary, clear and workable?
  • What are the resource implications for local authorities?
  • What is the likely impact of the legislation on key stakeholders including tenants, letting agents and landlords?

The committee will take into account the response to the consultation exercise, held over much of this year, about the principle of banning letting agents’ fees on tenants.

However, the committee will also take additional written evidence on aspects of the Bill not covered in the previous consultation - and ARLA says it wants its members views to throw into the mix. 

Submissions should be received by ARLA by December 14.

Meanwhile ARLA is also repeating its request to member agents to personally lobby their MPs in protest at the fees ban.

  • Peter Hendry

    A significant problem here includes the very terms of reference of the committee as they must presuppose that the landlord should be the primary customer.

    In fact the best efficiency of the lettings market, (as well as for house sales marketing) should be for the agent to act exclusively for the buyer, not the seller. This way full transparency concerning the prices being decided as well as basic property selection itself, could be achieved.
    This simply cannot be done with agents acting for the seller or indeed the landlord. Substantial change needs to happen on this if the state of the housing market itself is to be improved.

    The reasons for this are fully set out in the blog at www.improvethehousingmarket.co.uk

    Therefore these terms of reference themselves need to be re-examined.

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