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Graham Awards


Fees Ban given green light by 'independent assessment' body

The government has published an independent assessment of its Tenants Fees Bill proposal - the ban on fees levied by letting agents on tenants in England and Wales. 

The independent assessment is a procedural requirement of this kind of law and, perhaps unsurprisingly, this independent assessment says that the measure is ‘fit for purpose.’

The assessment has been prepared by the Regulatory Policy Committee, an independent body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which assesses the impact on business of new regulatory and deregulatory proposals.


Broadly, the assessment examines the government’s case for the ban on fees. This revolves around a number of factors but two in particular are central.

The first is that the government claims agents’ fees to tenants “are typically well in excess of fees charged for similar services by landlords, let alone the costs of the services provided.” 

The second is that there is evidence, despite existing legislation requiring agencies to display fees clearly, that “tenants find it difficult to assess the full cost of renting a property at the point of decision” leading the government to conclude that “agencies are in some cases making excessive profits.”

The independent assessment backs up the government’s case on the fees ban but calls for improvements on the rationale it puts forward for a cap on deposits. 

“In particular, its assumptions around homelessness and affordability are not clearly evidenced and it would be helpful if the views of landlords and others could be presented alongside those of tenants” says the independent assessment. 

The assessment also draws out one intriguing possible by-product of the fees ban when it says: “For example, reducing the cost of changing tenancies might reasonably be expected to reduce the length of the average tenancy and to place increased competitive pressure on landlords, thereby reducing rents.”

You can read the full five page assessment here.

  • jeremy clarke

    I think I need to get a job as a civil servant! 5 pages of fiction, complete ignorance of the lettings industry as usual. When will go learn that most landlords and agencies steer away from tenants who in this report's words "struggle to afford the initial costs of renting ". Running a property is an ongoing cist to everyone be they tenants or owners, it's all about budgeting! Imagine the council's view if, having moved into a house, I said sorry I'm struggling, can't afford to pay the council tax!
    We will be moving later in the spring, we are already budgeting that move, why does go have to interfere??

  • icon

    Govt sponsored " independent " isn't that an oxyMORON ! - so this cobbled 5 page report is put us versus a 50 page report by Capital Economics which is INDEPENDENT, and totaly disagrees with Govt position - not surprisingly.
    I just take the below clip from a sentence above
    " government to conclude that “agencies are in " SOME " cases making excessive profits.”
    For once, I think the govt have got something right, in SOME cases. but that's no justification for throwing the baby out with the bath water.
    I mean to suggest a tenant isn't responsible for the cost of their own TENANT [ note the key word ] reference report. !

  • icon

    Just another nail in the BTL coffin

  • S l
    • S l
    • 04 February 2019 19:25 PM

    how can they compare fees charge by landlord as oppose to letting agents. landlord have no overhead costs, only do viewing for their one house, letting agents have overhead costs and employees salary and have to take tenants details and check references and take them from house to house till they are happy with it. letting agents do all the leg work and all tenant do is turn up at address given and decide. there are huge differences as to the services rendered by letting agents as compare to a landlord and yet they manage to claim letting agents are charging excessive fees? like one said, you see the price, dont like it , dont take up the services. go cheap buy according to your own financial limit


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