The government has issued a new statement saying unequivocally that letting agents’ fees on tenants will be banned in England - even though there is still no sign of any formal consultation which, presumably, would have helped ministers decide on the policy.
A statement issued yesterday by the Department of Communities and Local Government is mostly a reminder to the public about the introduction of new powers for local authorities to impose fines on rogue landlords and to extend the use of Rent Repayment Orders.
Both measures have been debated considerably in the past, and have long been scheduled to come into effect this month.
However, another paragraph in the body of the statement reads: “Letting agents’ fees will also be banned to give renters greater clarity and control over what they will pay.”
This unequivocal statement comes despite there being no sign of any formal consultation on the ban, which was first announced in November in Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s Autumn Statement. Nor is there any indication of the timescale for implementation.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has already suggested that there are two probable routes to a ban’s implementation - full consultation and primary legislation, which would be unlikely to be completed within 2017, or what it describes as “curtailed consultation and secondary legislation under existing statute” such as Competition & Consumer Regulations, which might be achievable by the end of this year.