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Lobby your MP to help stop fees ban, ARLA tells members

The Association of Residential Letting Agents has told its agent members that they should urgently lobby their Members of Parliament to help them “see beyond the headlines” and temper the government’s proposals to ban fees levied on tenants in England.

ARLA has prepared a toolkit for members in a bid to encourage them to tell MPs “that this is not a black and white issue.” 

The association has provided a template letter for members to use if they write to their MP using their own letterhead, plus a tool for finding online the contact details of each MP. 

ARLA has also prepared an e-postcard outlining what it calls “core points for you to give to colleagues, landlords and suppliers to sign and send to their constituency MP.”

It also urges letting agents to book an appointment to see their MP face to face. 

ARLA also wants to collate individual agents’ responses to the government’s official consultation on the proposed ban, announced 10 days ago and open until June 2.

“We have provided easy reference briefing papers outlining the primary research that we have commissioned and conducted. There is a briefing paper for you to give to your MP at your meeting and talking points to support you in those conversations” ARLA tells its members in the toolkit.

Back in the Autumn Statement last November the government set out its plan to ban tenant fees in England. 

ARLA Propertymark says the proposal will have a negative impact on tenants, landlords and agents and runs contrary to the government’s stated aim of encouraging longer term tenancies. It believes that tenants should meet the costs incurred during referencing checks. 

This is because referencing checks, including mandatory Right to Rent checks which are required by law, are essential in supporting tenants to commit to rent at a sustainable level and avoid taking on financial burdens they cannot meet.

In the consultation released by the Department for Communities and Local Government n April 7, the proposals state that no agent, landlord and any other third party will be able to charge tenants any fees, premiums or charges that meet the general definition of facilitating the granting, renewal or continuance of a tenancy.

It also states that tenants should only be required to pay their rent and a refundable deposit.

The consultation accepts that there are exemptions that should continue to be met by the tenant. These are holding deposits to take the property off the market whilst reference checks are undertaken, and in-tenancy property management service charges arising because of the action of the tenant – such charges could include arranging for replacement keys, repairs carried out as a result of deliberate damage or breach of the tenancy agreement, or late rent payment charges.

You can see the consultation in full here.

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