The Queen’s Speech, outlining the government’s proposals for the next two years, has confirmed a pledge to introduce a ban on letting agents’ fees levied on tenants in England.
The fees ban - first announced by Chancellor Phillip Hammond in November - has been the subject of a consultation which closed during the General Election campaign.
No news has been released on the contents of the consultation responses, and some in the industry had hoped the failure of Theresa May to secure a majority for the Conservatives might see the proposal shelved, but this morning’s announcement shows it remains on the agenda for the minority administration.
The draft Tenants’ Fees Ban bill includes a reference “banning landlords and agents from requiring tenants to pay letting fees as a condition of their tenancy” and says there may be - subject to parliamentary approval - a provision for tenants to be able to recover unlawfully charged fees.
The Tory manifesto pledge - “a Conservative government will reform and modernise the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less costly” - did not explicitly appear in the measures outlined for the next two years. However, there was a general statement that the government would promote "transparency and fairness" in the marketplace.
There was no specific reference to other manifesto pledges such as “We will crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents” or “encouraging landlords to offer longer tenancies as standard”.
The Queen did announce a broad commitment from the government to build more new homes.
The manifesto also pledged that equalities laws will be strengthened so that private landlords who deny people a service on the basis of ethnicity, religion or gender are “properly investigated and prosecuted.” There was also a commitment to upgrade fuel- poor homes to EPC band C by 2030 - again, these did not feature in the Queen’s Speech.