Lettings Fee Ban Consultation – Agent deadline approaching

Lettings Fee Ban Consultation – Agent deadline approaching

The consultation paper for the Tenancy Fee ban across England was released last month, inviting agents to respond on whether the penalty should be £5,000, £30,000 or a banning order by June 2nd 2017.

It was announced in the last Autumn Statement that a ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants would be introduced across England in the near future.

Why are the government thinking of banning tenant fees?

  1. The government believes that fee transparency legislation hasn’t worked as tenants are often confused by what they have to pay and often can’t shop around.
  2. Landlords can shop around and can choose which agent (if any) they use.
  3. The government believe that Agents often double charge. Their view is that referencing work is to the benefit of the landlord so LL should pay.

What does the paper say will be banned?

  1. “The government proposes to introduce legislation which will mean that no agent will be able to charge tenants any fees , premiums or charges that meet the general definition of facilitating the granting, renewal or continuance of a tenancy.”
  2. “The government proposes to ban any letting fees charged to tenants by landlords and any other third parties to ensure that letting agent fees are not paid by tenants through other routes.”
  3. They will also look at capping deposits and will explore other ways to minimise the financial burden of deposits on tenants e.g pay in instalments or using a credit card with the amount blacked but not charged.

Exceptions to the ban

  1. Holding deposits to take the property off the market whilst reference checks are undertaken; the government proposes to permit agents to continue to collect holding deposits. They will consult on whether these should be capped.
  2. In-tenancy property management service charges arising because of the action of the tenant; e.g. replacement keys, repairs as a result of deliberate damage, or late rent charges, should all still be chargeable to the tenant.

Enforcement:

  1. Likely to be enforced by trading standards. They are consulting on whether the penalty should be £5000, £30,000, or a banning order.

With just two weeks to go, if you’re an agent and you’d like to get involved;

You may respond by completing an online survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dclglet

Alternatively you can email your response to the questions in this consultation to lettingagentsteam@communities.gsi.gov.uk

If you are responding in writing, please make it clear to which questions you are responding. Written responses should be sent to: Housing Standards Team, Better Rented and Leasehold Sector Division, 3rd Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF.

Find the full consultation paper here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/607479/Banning_letting_agent_fees_paid_by_tenants_consultation.pdf

For any enquiries about the consultation please email: lettingagentsteam@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Got something to say? Please click here to get involved in the live discussion now!

Related topics:

Government reveal lettings fee ban unlikely until 2018, as online petition suggests a cap on fees instead

Autumn Statement 2016: New era for Landlords as Lettings agent fees to be banned

54% of landlords unaware of government plan to abolish tenant fees

Author: News @ Tenant Referencing