During a debate in the House of Lords on the 19th of January 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 responded by saying, “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 followed up by asking, “Does he 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 to say, “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 (The Association of Residential Letting Agents of which we are members) 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. It is essential that government are educated as to the full range of practical implications that a ban would have.
As soon as we have further information we will let you know.