More than six months after first suggesting the idea, the government has announced plans to ban fees to lettings agents in England. A new Tenants' Fees Bill was announced in the Queen's Speech, which will stop tenants having to pay money to agents. The fees are for taking references, getting credit checks, or investigating immigration status.
The average amount paid in fees is currently £223, according to government figures. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, previously said that 4.3m households pay such fees every year. However, the housing charity Shelter found that one in seven renters pays more than £500, and tenants in London have complained about fees of up to £2,000.
When the bill becomes law, landlords will have to find the money to pay for such fees themselves. ARLA Propertymark said that as a result landlords would lose £300m, and would be likely to increase rents.
"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, the organisation's chief executive.
The new bill will also allow tenants to recover any fees that have been charged unlawfully.
In addition the government said it will make the process more transparent, as renters are currently charged varying amounts although, lettings agents in England and Wales are already required to publicise their rates.
If you have a housing problem you wish to discuss, please contact Claire on 02392 820747.
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