Fees to lettings agents to be scrapped in England in new Bill

Fri, 23 Jun 2017

Fees to lettings agents to be scrapped in England in new Bill
The government has outlined plans to ban lettings agent fees in England, as part of the Queen's Speech.

While the Conservative party first announced the commitment back in its 2016 Autumn Statement, the Draft Tenants' Fees Bill has only just been revealed.

It will see agents and landlords banned from requiring tenants to pay letting fees, as well as allowing tenants to recover any fees which have been unlawfully charged.

According to government figures, people are currently paying an average of £223 in fees, with 4.3 million households paying these fees each year, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said.

However, according to the housing charity Shelter, one in seven people renting have had to pay more than £500, while for Londoners it may be as high as £2,000.

Letting agents representative ARLA Propertymark said that landlords could be set to lose £300m as a result of the ban, and the cost of tenants' rents would increase. In addition to this, 4,000 jobs may be lost.

"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," said David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark.

"On average, rent costs will go up by £103 per tenant, per year, ultimately meaning tenants who move more frequently will reap savings on their overall costs but longer-term tenants, who are usually lower-income families, will see a loss as their rents rise year-on-year."

Each of the main political parties included this measure in their election manifestos, so the Bill is widely expected to be passed into law. Lettings agent fees are already banned in Scotland.
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