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Extend lettings fee ban consultation or scrap it completely, urges ARLA

The Association of Residential Letting Agents is calling on the government to either extend the consultation period for the proposed ban on letting agents' fees in England - or scrap it completely until after the General Election.

The request is supported by 21 organisations, mostly letting agencies.

The letter, sent by ARLA chief executive David Cox to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, also wants the recently-cancelled agents' workshops on the issue to be reinstated. The current consultation period continues until June 2, just six days before the General Election.

The full letter reads as follows:

As the UK’s largest professional body for the lettings industry with over 9,000 members, ARLA Propertymark requests that you extend the time limit for the consultation to ban letting agent fees in light of the recently announced General Election.

We were pleased that a key part of this consultation process, as set out by DCLG, was to engage the sector and host a number of workshops throughout the country to discuss the implementation of the fee ban and proposals in the consultation. This was most welcome as it would have allowed agents to gain clarity from officials on some of the points raised in the document and share their views on the proposals. However, as it is likely the fee ban will become a manifesto pledge in the coming weeks and therefore a political issue, this work cannot properly take place during purdah; when civil servants will need to take extra care to remain impartial and objective. General Election guidance also makes clear that statements which refer to future intentions of the Government should not be handled by a Department.

Therefore, ARLA Propertymark asks that the Government either extends the consultation for a further period beyond the election, or suspend it until a new Government is in place.

Either way, we request that the consultation does not close until the now cancelled workshops have taken place; as the Department originally committed to do as part of the consultation process.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course. 

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