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Trade group releases details of anti-fees ban evidence put to MPs

The Residential Landlords’ Association has released details of the evidence it put to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee which is conducting an investigation into the proposed ban on letting agent’s fees levied on tenants in England.

RLA policy director David Smith has given evidence to the committee, warning MPs that treating the whole of the private rental sector in the same way was a mistake.

He pointed out that some agents get five per cent of their turnover out of fees, but other agents get as much as 30 per cent.

“If you take 30 per cent of turnover from fees and fees are banned you have two choices, to go out of business or to pass that cost on to someone else” he told members of the committee.

“The RLA believes that fees are employed in different ways around the country in order to deal with different issues, and banning all fees will not change that economic structure. The money has to go from somewhere, and it will come from landlords or from loopholing in the Bill.”

On the issue of ineffective enforcement of regulation over the private rental sector, Smith pointed out that only about five or six local authorities were actively enforcing and of those the only two making a real mark are Newham and Barking and Dagenham.

He said the RLA believes that enforcement does not target the very worst criminal landlords, but more usually those landlords who are only committing very minor housing offences.

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