A ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants was first proposed at the Autumn Statement 2016 and rocked the industry.
However, despite swiftly gathering speed with the announcement of the draft Tenants’ Fees Bill earlier in 2017 the ban’s momentum seems to be stalling as the move has been met with criticism from some landlords and MPs.
Letting Fees Ban Debated in Commons
Concerns surrounding the draft bill have arisen once again due to MP Kevin Hollinrake’s calls for further debate on the issue in the House of Commons earlier this month, September 2017. Hollinrake, who also co-founded Hunter’s estate agency, has concerns that the fees will have to be recovered from increased rental fees.
This is a sentiment that is mirrored by Richard Lambert, a National Landlords Association spokesperson, who has stated that,
“Agents will have no other option than to shift the fees on to landlords, which many will argue is more appropriate, since the landlord employs the agent. But adding to landlords’ costs, on top of restricting their ability to deduct their business costs from their taxable income, will only push landlords towards increasing rents.”
Other MPs voiced concerns over the affects the ban and potentially increased rents could have on the job market, small businesses and low-income renters.
Amongst other guidelines for landlords and letting agents the Draft Tenant’s Bill also features a cap on holding deposits at one week’s rent and security deposits at one month’s rent.
In spite of this trepidation from the letting industry, it was later confirmed by Housing Minister Alok Sharma that the ban will still go ahead as planned during this week’s debate.
The ban will most likely come into force next year, however a firm date is still yet to be set.
How to Recoup Your Losses
Amid the uncertainty, we have laid out a guide for agents looking for alternative ways to recoup their potential losses.
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