Regulation and Enforcement

RLA submits evidence for lettings fee debate

letting agent fees
Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The RLA has submitted evidence ahead of a debate on the proposed letting agent fee ban in Westminster Hall next Wednesday.

The proposed ban means that tenants in England will no longer have to pay anything other than rent and a refundable deposit. Other charges will need to be picked up by landlords.

It will also cap security deposits at one month’s rent and a week’s rent for holding deposits.

Announced in last year’s Autumn Statement, the government said the proposed ban will “stop hidden charges and end tenants being hit by costly upfront payments that can be difficult to afford”.

It also says that the move will bring an end to the small minority of agents exploiting their role between renters and landlords, banish unfair charges and stop those agents that double charge tenants and property owners for the same service.

The Queen’s Speech on June 21, revealed the plans will now be published as a Draft Bill for further scrutiny.

While the RLA welcomes the fact the government wants to take action against unscrupulous agents, it is concerned about the impact the ban will have on landlords, already being hammered by recent tax changes, and tenants, who could see rents rise as a result.

RLA chairman Alan Ward has written to the MP and other interested MPs and shadow ministers, including a briefing outlining the association’s concerns.

He said: “We fear that extra costs could be passed on to tenants. The Minister must review the plans in the context of other financial pressures, such as tax changes, improvements to energy performance and the threats from Universal Credit changes.”

A government consultation into the plans closed in June this year, with more that 4,700 people responding.

In its official response the RLA said that with some agents picking up as much as 30% of their income through fees they will have no choice but to pass those fees onto landlords.

Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake is hosting the debate on Wednesday, September 6 at Westminster Hall between 9am and 11am.

Debates at Westminster Hall are open to the public, with further details available here.

A similar fees ban is already in place in Scotland with a consultation about letting agent fees in Wales open until September 25.

To read the briefing note click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

2 Comments

  • The government doesn’t seem to realise that, until landlords/agents began requiring 6 weeks rent as a security deposit, some tenants did not pay the last month’s rent resulting in the landlord/agent having no security deposit from which to deduct legitimate damage costs.

  • Many moons ago Agents only charged a finders or management fee to the Landlord but for many years now Letting agents have been having 2 bites of the cherry ie charging a finders/agency fee to the tenant AND a letting fee to the Landlord.

    Who is their client? To whom do they owe their duty?

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