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Theresa May confirms fees ban - but remains vague on timescale

The Prime Minister has confirmed that her minority Conservative government will press ahead with the ban on letting agents’ fees levied on tenants in England - but she was giving nothing away when it came to timing.

At yesterday Prime Minister’s Questions, the Labour MP for Stockton North - Alex Cunningham - told Theresa May that one of his constituents paid a £300 ‘house reservation fee’ to a named letting agency which, the MP claimed, was not going to be refunded even though the agent’s client landlord withdrew from the contract.

“She now faces paying another letting agent a non-refundable fee of £650 to secure a different property” Cunningham said in the Commons, urging the Prime Minister to act now and “put an end to these rip-off fees.”

May told Cunningham and the chamber that her party had made a pledge on this in the Queen’s Speech and would act; but when asked “when?”, May did not give a specific timescale.

“We recognise these issues ... We need to ensure that anything we bring forward ...that we get right, that it’s actually going to work.”

The question came at around 12.30pm yesterday, and readers can see the exchange for themselves by spooling to that time on this link.

  • Simon shinerock

    Granted it's wrong to keep tenants fees where a landlord withdraws, I recently ordered a new car, paid my deposit and was then told the model was no longer available, I got my money back of course. However, if the dealer had kept my money I would have gone to the authorities and I would expect them to force the dealer to return my cash, not to ban all dealers everywhere from taking any form of deposit.

  • jeremy clarke

    I am encouraging all of my landlords to write to their mps, I have produced a template letter which outlines the main issues around fee bans and the issues of restrictions on the dilapidation deposit namely that costs for landlords will rise as will the selection of tenants. It highlights how we feel that ultimately tenants will pay the cost via higher rents, less flexibility and less choice. So far every landlord that I have spoken to is fully supporting us and has asked for a copy of the letter to sign and send!

  • Matthew Barrett

    Completely agree with you both. We would always return the admin fee / holding fee to the tenant if the landlord withdrew the property, then request it back from the landlord for wasting our time. Jeremy, although I don't think it will change the governments mind, I like the idea and may try it with our landlords here. Perhaps you could show me the template you were using? Thanks

    jeremy clarke

    Email me your details to jeremyclarke1960@hotmail.com

     
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    As has been mentioned numerous times on here before, fees should be capped, not banned.

    We take a small fee up front to cover costs of referencing, if tenants fail or withdraw themselves, it is not refundable. If a landlord withdraws the property, through no fault of the tenants, we refund the fee or use the referencing on a different property.

    When the tenant has passed referencing, they then pay the security deposit, rent in advance and contract preparation fee (Plus check out fee if applicable).

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    OK so basically are we saying that this is being done due to bad experiences that government members have had?? It is ridiculous that agents should be expected to work for free! do the government work for free! I don't think so!!

    It is terrible that someone has paid an admin fee and then not been refunded this when a tenancy has not gone ahead through no fault of their own, they should be refunded in full. The majority of the problem here is that there are too many agents with no morals who overcharge for what they do and generally take advantage of people. It gives us all a bad name and frankly makes a mockery of the industry.

    I'm all for having a cap on fees and everything being reasonable, I simply don't understand why this should be made such an issue when it can be so easily resolved with restrictions put in place. If the government are suggesting that we loose a portion of income for work that we do, I do hope that they intend to expect other industry sectors to work for less too!!

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    I agree holding fees should be banned.
    The tenant should expect fees for taking up references,right to rent,the normal stuff to be able to rent.
    Perhaps a portion of the Inventory& schedule of condition of the property,After all it is in the tenants interest as well as the Landlords.50/50 cost basis.
    The cost on a 50/50 basis for a tenancy agreement,again it is in the interest of both parties.
    I question why the landlord should be expected to cover all these costs.
    I do not see the government dishing out passports for free etc.!
    It is well overdue that a level playing field for Landlords and tenants is established.Tentants get away with murder.
    They can stop paying rent,they damage properties,they stay put even after a court order and make a mockery of the whole BTL business.
    This government seem to want to bash Landlords,tax them to death and yet still want them to provide homes and Pay for the priviledge! They want to cap rents too!
    Ok but cap BTL costs and interest rates too then ! allow landlords to claim all expenses and to evict
    fast and at low cost. Stop councils telling tenants to stay put.
    If you buy a car on finance and stop paying you lose the car pretty damn quick,if you damage it you get sued.
    I also agree Landlords from hell need sending to hell.
    Good honest landlords are tired of being bashed,taxed to death and not treated like they are running a business(which at the end of the day it is!)
    Who on earth are tenants who stop paying their rent,not treated as squatters and the police should be able to evict after a court has given notice?
    Why is it the Landlord has to pay out yet more money.
    All we ask is a level playing field fair to all.
    If the government do not act ,rents will keep rising to cover fees etc Landlords are faced with.
    If I end up paying higher fees to rent my properties,I will just add £50 month to the rents to cover me.This will cover my fees in a year and insure me for more costs that may arise.
    After all I cant afford to pay tenants rent,my mortgages,all the fees,all the taxes,all the insurances,all the maintenance,services,gas certificates,legal fees !wow why am I a landlord ???????????????

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