You may already be aware that the Chancellor of the Exchequers Autumn Statement contained proposals to ban letting agents from levying any sort of fee to tenants. These proposals have the potential, if taken at face value, to have a far reaching impact across the private rental market. Many of the costs involved in letting that are presently shared equally between landlord and tenant (as they are to both parties benefit, tenancy agreements, tenancy extensions etc.) should, the Chancellor believes, be the sole responsibility of the landlord. The implication of this is that rents are quite likely to rise in order that landlords might re-coup any additional expenses they incur.
Please be advised that at present, and despite the headlines, this ban is in fact an ‘intention’ that remains subject to consultation and the passing of appropriate legislation and is of course something we do not want to see implemented. Whilst we are aware that some letting agents, more often than not those in the metropolitan areas, have some questionable tenant fee practises, this is not common across the whole industry but it is these agents’ actions that have, we believe, led to these proposals.
As a member of ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) we strongly believe that a better solution to the problems of questionable fee practises would be better served by greater regulation and compulsory membership of approved and regulated bodies with a capping on tenant fee levels being the more sensible way forward and it is this approach we will be championing during the consultation process.
Please be assured of our on-going commitment to all our clients, landlords and tenants, and as soon as we have any further information we will let you know.