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Government announces consultation on letting fees ban

Posted on Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Updated on Tuesday, February 7, 2017

During a debate in the House of Lords recently, it was made known that the consultation on the ban on letting fees charged to tenants will be in March/April.

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, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, replied: “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 went on to ask: “Does he [the minister] 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: “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 said today that it 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.

In a statement to members, the organisation said: “It is essential that government are educated as to the full range of practical implications that a ban would have.

“In the meantime we are continuing with every effort to work behind the scenes to inform and influence politicians and officials at the Department for Communities and Local Government.”

Original article by Rosalind Renshaw from Property Industry Eye