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Fees ban: 'policy may be lost thanks to election' warns trade body

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.”

  • jeremy clarke

    Another housing minister, surely not! What experience will the next one need? It seems that the ability to lie, make u turns and not understand anything about the role is all that's required. Plenty of them around westminster

  • Mark Hempshell

    I think this is one of the purposes of an unscheduled election is it not? You can throw away all your bad ideas (as well as all your promises) and then start again with a clean sheet.

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    Why is this a warning? This is excellent news surely!

  • Robert Ulph

    I think this is wishful thinking, its been confirmed in the budget!!! It will not just go away, it will be introduced at some point but don't think personally it will be coming in until after April 2018 at the earliest, just because the consultation workshops have been cancelled doesn't really mean anything, in fact I read it that they are going to push on with what they are going to do without actually listening to agents.

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    Robert, I Agree.
    I would await the conservative manifesto and if I was betting man, I would suggest you will find it somewhere in there.
    Conservative manifesto due to be released on 8th May.
    You may be surprised about the speed that it could be introduced though.

     
  • icon

    its a good 'Vote Winner' so I doubt it will be dropped from the public eye at all. Think of all the tenants they can grab in with this on the table.

  • Robert Ulph

    As an ARLA Agent we have been looking to lobby our local MP Mr Gummer with the very detailed toolkit they have put together to better inform these decision makers to get behind us and all vote against it as a bad idea not only for the industry but for tenants as well as prices to Landlords will rise to cover the legitimate cost to do the job. This will then be recouped by increasing the rents which is bad for tenants.

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