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Pro-fees ban agent admits there will be “unintended consequences”

A lettings agency boss who says she is actually in favour of the agents’ fees ban nonetheless admits there will be “unintended consequences” which will hurt tenants most of all.

Alexandra Morris, managing director of online agency MakeUrMove, says: “The [measure] has a much wider impact than simply removing tenant fees and it’s likely to have many unintended consequences. Whilst landlords are understandably nervous it’s clear tenants don’t appreciate the additional long term costs they are likely to face.

“Our fear is that, while the government’s intention was to make the private rental sector more affordable and fairer for tenants, they will likely end up worse off. 

“Many landlords, particularly the smaller landlords who make up the biggest proportion of the private rental sector and often operate on very tight margins, will be forced to raise rents to cover the increased costs they will incur as a result of the Bill.”

Morris’s comments came after the government announced that the ban would come into effect on June 1.

She continues: “Landlords will face additional upfront costs including referencing, and because of their already tight margins they will need to recoup these during the initial tenancy period (often six months) to ensure renting their property remains financially viable.

“While some suggest that following the ban tenants will simply be able to shop around for properties with lower rents, this will not be the case. 

“A majority of landlords will be forced to increase rents to recoup the additional costs letting agents will have to charge them, pushing up prices across the entire rental market and impacting the government’s stated goals of increasing homeownership, by making saving for a deposit even more difficult.

"This Bill will impact the entire private rental sector and finding a way to get this challenging balance right will be vital for letting agents, landlords and tenants alike.”

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    Stating the bleeding obvious. Not heard that before. Doh.

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    Whilst I totally agree with your article. I have to ask, from a tenants point of view, does it really cost £350 per property to set up an agreement, so for myself, being self employed, those fees would be 2 days pay for myself. If say the checks on affordability didn't match, I'd have to pay another £350, if it was set to a flat rate, say £150, it might make it easier for us to find the right property, and have fewer empty properties out there.

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    No it doesn't Phil, and that's why it would have been much more sensible to cap fees rather than remove them altogether. As a small agent, we pay a 3rd party to carry out referencing for us and that comes as an expense that we have to continue paying. It was the greedy agents who charged silly, excessive fees that have brought this black cloud down on all of us.

     
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    Maybe Ms Morris should have thought this through much more carefully prior to taking her pro-fees ban stance.

  • Andrew Hill

    Unintended my backside. Government have been warned numerous times by us alone, and no doubt other agents and probably hundreds of tenants with a decent brain between their ears of the consequences they don't appear to have taken into account with respect to the bill.

    All consequences are completely intentional. For anyone to pretend otherwise clearly hasn't been following the campaigning against the ban.

  • Kathy Taylor

    I think only time will tell what the specific consequences turn out to be, however whatever they are it's likely that landlords, tenants and agents will all be negatively affected in some way.

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    Cannot see why a simple cap at a reasonable level would not have been simpler, fairer, and better all round.

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    Its simply Vote purchasing by the Govt,
    Only different to the outrageous payment of Tax-payers money to DUP to simply vote with the Govt to keep them in power - how the hell did the Country ( including the Labour party ) ever stand for that ?
    With Housing interventions by the Government, ' All in the name of Tenants and they hope future Conservative voters ' these measures on the PRS have a knock on business effect [ doesn't everything ]
    and the voters are not seeing the Govt measures are actually going to cost them in the longer term.

  • Paul Smithson

    A lot of the 5% agents will be out of business so the landlord will have to go to a 10% one, who’s going to pay...you guessed it, especially where there’s a shortage of rental property London/Se for example..

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