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.”