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Graham Awards


Fees Ban, Licensing and HMOs: many agents fear they’re breaking the law

Just over a fifth of lettings agents questioned in a major industry survey are concerned that may not be complying with the Tenant Fees ban introduced in April.

Some 79 per cent of agents responding to the annual Fixflo study said they were “extremely confident” they were in compliance, but 21 per cent were not.

In addition there were substantial worries about agencies’ compliance with Houses in Multiple Occupation licencing regulations; some 18 per cent of agents in England and 32 per cent in Scotland responded saying they were “not at all confident” with the property licencing regulations which are enforced by local authorities.


The Fixflo survey, perhaps inevitably, has a strong skew towards issues concerning PropTech and it says that of those agents who invested in various forms of technology in the past year, 69 per cent were “extremely confident” about their compliance with The Property Ombudsman’s code of practice, whereas only half of those that did not invest in technology reported the same level of confidence.

Fixflo says a key objective for Its research was to understand the economic impact Of the fees ban, introduced on April 1 in England and more recently in Wales. t

“While 98 per cent of agents reported that they had lost some revenue due to the tenant fees ban, only one-fifth of all respondents (21 per cent) had recorded more than 20 per cent in revenue loss. The actual revenue loss polled in 2019 is noticeably lower than the forecast from 2018’s report” says Fixflo.

Around 80 per cent of agents surveyed had to increase their landlords’ fees in order to maintain profitability while 60 per cent introduced new revenue streams and the same number say they had cut down on operational costs - almost two-fifths had invested in technology.

A shocking 39 per cent of agents considered ceasing trading over the past year, although this is actually less than the 49 per cent recorded the year before. 

An overwhelming 74 per cent of agents surveyed said that landlords selling is the top reason they lose business.

Almost nine out of 10 landlords surveyed in this research shared that they found it harder to be a landlord this year, a substantial 24 per cent increase from the same poll last year.

The survey also asked landlords about their intention to buy and/or sell properties. 

Some 27 per cent said they would sell at least some of their properties within 24 months, well up on the 2018 figure. Only 18 per cent of landlords said they would purchase more properties in the short-term. 

You can download the full Fixflo survey results here.

  • Paul Smithson

    The mortgage interest tax relief changes have basically turned the biz to be the only one taxed on turnover and not profit, I believe that and no capital growth will mean the PRS is going to struggle for the forseeable.


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