A trade body has suggested that the General Election on June 8 may lead to a government with new priorities, meaning the ban on letting agents’ fees on tenants in England could be abandoned.
Last week we reported that the Department of Communities and Local Government had abandoned the workshops with letting agents and other industry players, which were at the heart of the formal consultation period for the measure.
Although the consultation itself is still ongoing, the scrapping of the workshops has raised questions. Now the policy director of the Residential Landlords’ Association, David Smith, has written on his organisation’s website that “There is now a possibility that the entire policy will be lost if a new Housing Minister has other things which capture his attention more strongly.”
Smith’s warning comes in an article highlighting other issues which may be delayed or scrapped depending on the result of the election and the inclinations of the new government and housing minister.
One is the Homelessness Reduction Bill which, despite being passed by Parliament, has not received the Royal Assent required for it to become law. “If it is not done before May 3 then a date will not be set until after the election” says Smith.
In addition there are regulations that need to be agreed for the setting up of the Rogue Landlord database and Banning Orders which were heavily publicised by the May government in recent weeks. “Regulations were expected shortly to start the process of making this happen and the IT project that underpins the database was also in progress. Again these are now trapped without a Minister to push them forward for the next month...The October deadline must now be in doubt” suggests Smith.
Finally the Housing and Planning Act also included provisions about Client Money Protection being made mandatory for letting agents. Smith warns: “There were no further consultations expected in these areas but there were working group reports which needed approving and regulations were again to be drafted to implement the reforms. Yet again this will be at risk of delay.”