Thursday 3rd May 2018

Letting fee ban will hit tenants hardest, says ARLA Propertymark

The ban on letting fees charged by landlords and letting agents is on its way, along with new rules on deposits, with the Tenant Fees Bill introduced into Parliament yesterday.

The government estimates that the Tenants Fees Bill will bring an end to ‘costly’ letting fees and save tenants around £240m a year, according to government figures.

The Bill will also give tenants greater assurances that the deposit they pay at the start of the tenancy cannot exceed six weeks’ rent.

The new Housing and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “This government is determined to build a housing market fit for the future. Tenants across the country should not be stung by unexpected costs.

“That’s why we’re delivering our promise to ban letting fees, alongside other measures to make renting fairer and more transparent.”

A government statement said that the Tenant Fees Bill will stop letting agents from ‘exploiting their position as intermediaries’ between landlords and tenants, and ‘prevent unfair practices’ such as double charging for the same services.

The statement added: ‘It [the Bill] will also help to increase competition between agents and landlords, which could help drive lower costs overall and a higher quality of service for tenants.’

However, ARLA Propertymark has warned that tenants ‘will end up worse off’ and banning fees will ‘not result in a more affordable private rented sector’.

David Cox, chief executive at ARLA Propertymark, commented: “The day we have been expecting since the Chancellor announced the ban on tenant fees in the Autumn Statement 2016 has arrived, with the Tenant Fees Bill beginning its passage through Parliament this afternoon.

“We do not believe the Bill will achieve its aims, as our own research last year demonstrated that tenants will end up worse off and banning fees will not result in a more affordable private rented sector.”

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