Pressure from the consumer lobby is building for the introduction of a ban on letting agents’ fees levied on tenants - this time it’s Citizens Advice which is calling for the ban to be introduced in Wales as soon as possible.
This follows new analysis from the charity claiming that renters in Wales pay at least £3m a year in fees when they move into a privately rented home, with charges averaging £178.
The total figure could be higher, Citizens Advice says, as this does not take into account charges people may be charged during their tenancy, such as a contract renewal fee.
Citizens Advice Cymru wants the charges banned as they claim it can make it hard for renters to manage their money, and can push people into debt as they’re hit by unexpected fees.
Letting agent fees were banned in Scotland in 2012, and a ban in England was announced by the UK government in November 2016 - although there is still little indication when it will take effect.
As a Welsh Government consultation considering the banning of fees charged to tenants in the private rented sector closes, Citizens Advice Cymru is calling for all fees charged to tenants, other than rent in advance and refundable deposits, to be banned. The charity has also called for the ban to be watertight “so that letting agents can’t get around the rules.”
A spokeswoman for the charity says: “Landlords can choose between letting agents, so they should be the ones who pick up the bill for any charges, not renters. In order for the ban for be effective, it must be enacted fully and without loopholes. This means that renewal fees and other charges must be included in the ban.”