The government has announced plans to ban fees to lettings agents in England, announced in the Queen’s Speech, a new Tenants’ Fees Bill will stop tenants having to pay money to agents.
It was originally announced by the Conservatives in the 2016 Autumn Statement and is very likely to pass into law as all or the main parties included it in their election manifestos. ARLA Propertymark, which represents letting agents, said the new rules would cost 4,000 jobs.
According to government figures the average amount currently paid in fees is £223. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, previously said that 4.3m households pay these fees every year and the housing charity Shelter found that one in seven renting pay more than £500. The fees are for taking references, getting credit checks, or investigating immigration status.
When the bill does becomes law, it will be up to landlords to find the money to pay for the fees themselves. ARLA Propertymark said that this would mean landlords losing out by £300m, and would likely increase rents. David Cox, the organisation's chief executive said "A ban on letting agent fees will cost the sector jobs, make buy-to-let investment even less attractive, and ultimately result in the costs being passed on to tenants”.
Letting agents' fees are already banned in Scotland. The new bill will also allow tenants to recover any fees that have already been charged unlawfully. A government spokesperson said a draft bill will be published "later this year".
Posted: 24/06/2017
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