An attempt by a Labour council to encourage letting agencies to get ahead of the curve and scrap fees for tenants has fallen flat with only two firms backing the idea in its first month.
Last month Hackney council in London wrote to letting agencies asking them to back the idea in the absence of any firm timetable from the government - which has been pledging a ban on fees levied on tenants in England for almost a year. The council also wrote to housing minister Alok Sharma seeking details of the introduction of the new law.
However, the move now appears to have backfired on Hackney’s councillors.
The Hackney Citizen reports that only two agents have so far signed up to a Town Hall scheme which asks them to voluntarily scrap letting fees.
One agency - Julian Reid - didn’t levy fees on tenants anyway, and that firm has now been joined by Margo & Co.
When asked about the small take up, a council spokesperson said: “Two letting agents are currently signed up: Julian Reid Estate Agents and Margo & Co. As explained in the letter from [Hackney mayor] Sem Moema, we’ll be following up with all letting agents in the borough in the coming months to see how they’ve responded to the voluntary scheme.”
Letting Agent Today has heard speculation that the next announcement from the government regarding the implementation of the England-wide ban on fees is likely to be at the Conservative party conference in early October.
The Department of Communities and Local Government has told LAT it cannot comment on speculation.