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Fees ban consultation - Agents have until June 2 to respond

The government has finally unveiled its formal consultation process on the proposal to ban letting agents levying fees on tenants in England.

The proposed measures will stop hidden charges and end tenants being hit by costly upfront payments that can be difficult to afford.

The government says the move will bring an end to the small minority of agents exploiting their role between renters and landlords, banish unfair charges being imposed and stop those agents that double charge tenants and property owners for the same service.

Proposals also ban any letting agent fees being charged to tenants by landlords and other third parties. "This stops tenants having to pay fees through the back door by other routes" says a government statement.

The government claims the measures will improve competition in the rental market and further drive up standards by placing the onus on landlords to shop around for more competitive fees for services they pay for.

"We’re determined to make all types of housing more affordable and secure for ordinary working people. Tenants should only be required to pay their rent alongside a refundable deposit and not face hidden fees" says housing minister Gavin Barwell.

You can see the full consultation document here; agents have until June 2 to respond.

The start of the consultation produced an angry response from the Association of Residential Letting Agents. 

“The government's housing policy is shambolic and today’s consultation contradicts its already stated aim to encourage longer term tenancies" says managing director David Cox.

"Independent analysis launched at ARLA Propertymark’s annual Conference last week revealed that if an outright ban was introduced, rents will increase by £103 per year which will only serve to financially punish long term tenants" he continued.
 
“The decision is a short-term crowd pleaser and we are disappointed DCLG has not considered our proposals in today’s consultation. We urge the Government to use this process to think again to ensure that consumers, and the wider economy are not penalised by contradictory Government policies."

  • icon

    Well done to anyone who is still campaigning for common sense however the horse seems to have bolted a while ago now.
    I'm sure all the tenants out there will welcome this news just prior to receiving their Section 13's.
    Yet another law passed which increases the rich poor divide the government seem to be striving for.

  • Carla Keegans

    We welcome this move, unlike most agents it appears! And we won't put our fees up to landlords, again unlike most agents it appears. Why? Well it's simple, we believe the lettings industry is out of touch with society, and certainly with a profoundly changed private rental market.

    Over 20% of the population now live in the private rental market, many of whom are voters - a big reason why the government is getting involved. Also because over £9 BILLION of public money being spent in housing benefit.

    The norm business model of having high, hidden, and duplicate fees has to end. We believe this is the case not just for tenant fees, but also for landlords fees. Our business model is based on fair fees for expert services, so we don't have to increase landlord fees.

    So, we welcome the Government's move to introduce more transparency and accountability, and of course the obvious starting point for this is fees. Agents who keep to this mantra of 'rents will go up' will face mounting public criticism as people start asking 'why?' particularly from landlords. Adapt or die comes to mind!

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