Letting fees: MP Kevin Hollinrake initiates Parliamentary debate on ban

MP Kevin Hollinrake – who co-founded Hunters of which he is now chairman – is sponsoring a Parliamentary debate on the proposed ban on letting agency fees in England.

The debate is on Wednesday, September 6, at Westminster Hall between 9am and 11am.

The intention to abolish letting agent fees charged to tenants was made in the Autumn Statement last year, and a consultation closed on June 2 this year after receiving over 4,700 responses – half of which were from tenants.

The consultation paper said that landlords, not tenants, should pay for the services of a letting agent.

It said there is an expectation that the full cost of fees currently paid by tenants should not be passed to landlords on the basis that “there is evidence that a number of agents are charging excessive fees and that some agents are double charging landlords and tenants”.

It also recognised that some landlords will reflect the increase in rent levels

In the Queen’s Speech this summer, it was announced that the Government will bring forward a draft Tenants’ Fees Bill to tackle ‘unfair fees’ and ‘make the private rental market more affordable and competitive’.

A House of Commons briefing paper was published at the end of July. It quotes Shelter Scotland which says that the ban in Scotland “has been a positive success for Scottish private renters … any negative side-effects … have been minimal for letting agencies, landlords and renters, and the sector remains healthy”.

A consultation about letting agent fees in Wales is open until September 25, while a consultation into a proposed ban in Northern Ireland has recently closed.

Debates at Westminster Hall are open to the public:

http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/visiting-and-tours/watch-committees-and-debates/westminster-hall-debates/

Hollinrake is the Tory MP for Thirsk and Malton. He co-founded Hunters in 1992 which floated on the stock market in 2015 and now has some 200 branches.

Hollinrake does not have a housing market brief but is Parliamentary Private Secretary to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7955

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10 Comments

  1. J1

    A complete conflict of interests

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    1. Barndoor68

      Why, he is bringing the debate to the table not making a decision himself?

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    2. HonestAgency

      J1. You say a conflict of interest which to some extent I understand. It is also very refreshing to have someone debating this who knows what they are talking about and in fact know that tenant fees are a justified charge (if not over charged by some unscrupulous agents) rather than decisions being made by people who have absolutely no clue how the PRS works and only brought the ban in to win votes. Pre election – Tory policy – No Ban, General election – support Fee Ban !!

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    3. proagent54

      Would you prefer it is not debated then or are you in favour of the ban? Im glad he is trying to do something from a position of knowledge which is a refreshing change

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  2. SJEA

    Shelter have certainly not considered the constant Landlord bashing by the current government.

    Where do they think the additional costs to Landlords are going to come from ?

    It is crazy to assume that Landlords and Estate Agents can accept the forthcoming ban without passing the resulting costs to business onto the tenants.

    The fees were never an issue in Scotland to begin with and the resulting ban only cemented what was already in place.

    A cap on fees would have been the best way forward !

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    1. Gloslet

      We run a relatively rural letting agency with a large proportion of landed estates where cottages and farm houses are currently let out and will likely continue to be available for rent. We are receiving 1-2 calls every day from tenants of this and nearby areas where they have been served notice because their landlords are selling up.

      So tenant demand is currently up considerably in this area and guess what, landlords are saying that if demand is up then the rent is going up – both for new tenancies and for existing tenants as well.

      The biggest issue here in the sticks will be the new EPC demands for historic and potentially listed properties, but guess what again, if landlords have to spend huge sums of money to keep their tenants cosier and their heating bills down, errr, the landlords will be increasing the rents again.

      By all means crack down on the rogue agents and rogue landlords but the Government is about to yield a sledgehammer of legislation to crack a single issue nut and one which is already covered by existing regulations.

      Well done Shelter et al, what an own goal!

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  3. Eric Walker

    This is great news. It’s less about conflict of interest more about someone actually knowing what they are talking about. I have heard so much misinformed comment from politicians and pressure groups it’s reassuring to know that an industry expert will be sponsoring this before the Law is imposed upon us.

    I very much doubt that the Government’s policy will change, but some concessions may be made which may mitigate the negative impact on tenants, the industry and the PRS.

    Kevin is an immensely erudite businessman who will undoubtedly be aware of how the detractors will view his ‘interests’ and I am certain he will be educating rather than lobbying.

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  4. Yorkshire Agent

    I hope everyone sits up and takes note of what he says.  It is about time politicians took notice of the professionals in the industry.   I cannot see anyone being better qualified to be Housing Minister, but some would say there would be a conflict of interest.  I would be prepared to risk that even though I am in competition with Hunters due to his indepth understanding of the issues.

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    1. CountryLass

      I don’t think that anyone should be an minister for an area they have not spent considerable time working in. Can you imagine the differences in the way things are run? A doctor as Health Minister, teacher as Education Minister, policemen as Police Crime Commissioners etc? People who actually know how that industry works having a hand in the regulations and policies that concern it?

      Surely it’s logical though? You couldn’t get a job as a surgeon, or head teacher without having the qualifications and experience, but you can make potentially catastrophic changes to the way it’s run?

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  5. Votta583

    RIGHT EVERYONE STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND READ…….

    “The consultation paper said that landlords, not tenants, should pay for the services of a letting agent.”

    RIGHT let’s get to the ACTUAL reality here! How many landlords out there will pay the FULL cost of fees due to agents then? I ask this question to agents that are in the industry now ACTUALLY working on the front line. NOT back office staff or people that did the job 20 years ago. ACTUAL PROFESSIONAL LETTING AGENTS! How many landlords will pay that? 

    Abolishing fees means a 4 million pound a year loss to one company and those fees aren’t excessive. Should that company now close or charge the landlord??? 

    “It said there is an expectation that the full cost of fees currently paid by tenants should not be passed to landlords” 

    SO WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM THEN? 

    “In the Queen’s Speech this summer, it was announced that the Government will bring forward a draft Tenants’ Fees Bill to tackle ‘unfair fees’ and ‘make the private rental market more affordable and competitive’.”

    NO NO NO NO!!! cap fees at a percentage of the rent therefore if a low earner is looking at paying £500 then a percentage of that will be fair to a tenant. ALTHOUGH there are huge amounts of work still to go in and it won’t be much to cover costs and make profit but better than a ban. 

    Or the queen could save her time and enforce legislation instead of letting agents tenants and landlords get away with breaking the law!!! 

    A House of Commons briefing paper was published at the end of July. It quotes Shelter Scotland which says that the ban in Scotland “has been a positive success for Scottish private renters … any negative side-effects … have been minimal for letting agencies, landlords and renters, and the sector remains healthy”.

    “NOT ENTIRELY ACCURATE”

    There will people people that say “charge the landlord as they are the client” well let the government wipe out the taxation on landlords mortgage interest and they may be able to pay it? Or not, let them sell up, shortage of housing to let and subsequently turning the industry into the Wild West! 

     

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