NEWSFLASH: Government announces consultation on lettings fee ban to be in March

During a debate in the House of Lords this morning, it was made known that the consultation on the ban on letting fees charged to tenants will be in March/April.

Baroness Grender, who introduced the Renters’ Rights Bill, tabled a question asking about the “steps to implement a ban on lettings fees announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement”.

The minister, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, replied: “The Government is committed to introducing legislation as soon as possible to implement the ban on letting agent’s fees for tenants and we will consult in March/April on the details of the ban and will consider views of property agents, landlords, tenants and other stakeholders before introducing legislation.”

He added: “Impact assessments will follow the consultation and support the detail of banning fees to tenants.”

Baroness Grender went on to ask: “Does he [the minister] recognise that all fees – upfront, renewal and exit that are charged to tenants –  need to be included in the ban for this to work?”

The minister replied saying, “It’s important that we have a detailed consultation. Government officials were in Scotland yesterday to learn lessons from there, but I do have sympathy with a wide ranging ban on fees, although we do have to be careful in terms of the consultation in ensuring that we get it right.”

He went on: “For example, if someone loses their key it’s quite legitimate that they should pay the letting agent for getting a new key – that sort of issue. But in terms of the general thrust of what she is saying I do agree.”

ARLA said today that it has gathered the evidence from members and is preparing its own impact assessment on the work letting agents do, how a ban will affect businesses and the services provided to both landlords and tenants.

In a statement to members, the organisation said: “It is essential that government are educated as to the full range of practical implications that a ban would have.

“In the meantime we are continuing with every effort to work behind the scenes to inform and influence politicians and officials at the Department for Communities and Local Government.”

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. Ryan Baker

    Time to fire up all engines and uniting to get our voice heard !

    Please sign the following petition and let others know too…

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/173668

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    1. AgencyInsider

      Good intentions with the petition but it is so badly worded I am surprised that anyone has signed it.
      Remove the Ban on agency fees and set a cap for fees instead.

      It is unfair for small businesses to survive especially after the increase in online estate agency and banning the agency fee makes it more difficult for estate agency to survive. To meet costs banned fee would be forwarded to landlords who would pass the cost onto tenants by increasing their rents.

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  2. jeremy1960

    Losing a key!

    Do any of these folk live in the real world??

    If we cannot charge for anything then tenants costs will rise dramatically; “lost your key? Here’s a locksmith’s number – call him and he’ll charge you £100!” I can see the service levels dropping through the floor if we have to think about whether we can charge for our time/effort etc.

    What we need is a sensible approach to allow letting agents to charge a reasonable fee based on what we do. If the housing minister had any b***s at all he would stand up to her but it seems to me that they are all scared of her – why?? Maybe because as she’s a place in the house of lords nothing can hurt her whereas if a minister mutters a word he/she could be sacked and replaced without a blink!

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  3. jackoTLG

    At least ‘he’ (i assume housing minister as doesn’t say?) side stepped a firm answer when responding to the total fee ban questions from Baroness Ice Queen. There is a glimmer of hope but I fear the Government have made their decision.

    If you haven’t yet, email your local M.P. with the details of what effects you think an outright ban will have on your company and the negative effect on the service level to tenants. We need to try to gain as much support for a sensible fee cap as possible. I also asked for a meeting with mine…wishful thinking me thinks….however i did get a positive reply so it wasn’t a waste of time.

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  4. Mark Walker

    You have to have a consultation before you can have a u-turn.

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  5. LondonR90

    6,270 signatures yesterday morning. 6,606 as of now…

     

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  6. Nick Salmon, M.D. Property Industry Eye

    We are making tomorrow #FlorenceDay on EYE.

    We want every reader who comes to the site during Friday to donate a minimum of £5 to the crowdfunding effort for little Florence.

    When you see the tweets with the #FlorenceDay hashtag please do your bit by retweeting. Get the link to the story onto your Facebook pages. Email the link to your address book.

    Time is not on Florence’s side. We need to act and we need to act NOW!

    Help us to make #FlorenceDay a fantastic example of the generosity of the industry.

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  7. Thomas Flowers

    Dear Mr Housing Minister if I am not able to charge a tenant a realistic fee to pay for someone to to sit in a nice warm local office that those tenants can call into to provide administration services for:

    1. deposits, 2. money laundering checks, 3., EPC checks. 4. gas safety checks. 5 correct serving of section 21’s. 6. contract renewals. 7 credit checks. 8 previous landlord checks.9. income checks. 10 smoke alarm checks. 11 carbon monoxide checks. 12, right to reside checks…have I missed anything?

    I shall have to charge the landlord more who in turn is likely to charge the tenant even more in higher rent?

    Tell you what. If MP’s stop claiming expenses, I’ll stop charging tenants a fee.

    Is that a deal?

    As you know some agents over charge as did some MP’s.when claiming expenses.

    The trick is to find a balance,

     

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    1. MrSerious

      ^ What Thomas Flowers says, a whole list of work that someone has to do – by Law – with significant time and cost incurred.  We don’t use agents on our portfolio as we have the expertise ourselves, and we charge very low fees to cover referencing and other direct costs, and a small amount for time.  But what of those who do need/chose to use agents?  Not to be able to charge tenants anything?  Only one result = higher rents.  QED.

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      1. MrSerious

        PS.  Who remembers 1979 when the Conservative Govt banned all scale fees or other controls as ‘anti-competitive’ based on the MMC Report?  So, now the Tories do want an un-competitive and artifical market?  How times change.

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    2. revilo

      “1. deposits, 2. money laundering checks, 3., EPC checks. 4. gas safety checks. 5 correct serving of section 21’s. 6. contract renewals. 7 credit checks. 8 previous landlord checks.9. income checks. 10 smoke alarm checks. 11 carbon monoxide checks. 12, right to reside checks…have I missed anything?”

      Thomas Flowers – why are you charging the tenant for EPC checks, gas safety checks, serving section 21, smoke alarm checks, carbon monoxide checks?

      These are landlord responsibilities and as such should be part of the landlords fees!

      Between us all, we should come up with a list of reasonable and appropriate tenant chargeables and a reasonable fee for our time.

      Maybe this attitude by some of charging the tenant for anything that stands still long enough to be charged for, is why ‘we’ are now facing this tenant fee proposal!

       

       

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  8. silverfox

    This whole issue of banning tenant fees by the government really shouldn’t be a case of rocket science, endless meetings and consultations, all they have to do is put a cap on the amount charged, it really is that simple.

    We all acknowledge that there are very unprofessional and unethical companies out there who charge extortionate rates but for the vast majority of well established, licensed and professional companies like Sanders&Sanders, we charge a fair fee to represent the work involved, which is openly advertised on our website. Since trading we have not received even one complaint about the fee’s we charge because tenants understand that we offer a fair service.
    We believe in keeping things simple.

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    1. revilo

      silverfox, can you tell me where on your website you show your tenant fees? I can’t seem to find them!

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      1. ammik

        Fee Information
        The advertised rental figure does not include fees.

        Deposit is £200 plus the rental amount.
        £180.00 Including VAT for a single application
        £288.00 Including VAT for a joint application
        £180.00 Including Vat for a company application
        £120.00 Including Vat for a guarantor
        £96.00 For a check in inventory (Compulsory on all properties)

        closeAccessed from individual properties. Not that clear when first visiting the site

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