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."