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Draft Tenant Fees Bill is a ‘step in the right direction’

The government introduced a draft bill to parliament yesterday to ban letting agents and landlords from charging introductory fees to tenants across England.

The bill, which comes as part of a reform of the private rental sector and was initially proposed in last year’s Autumn Statement, means that tenants are now one step closer to seeing letting fees banned.

But there are fears that the fees ban will simply shift the cost of all letting agent fees on to landlords.


Some experts believe that this proposed change in the law will leave landlords with no choice but to further increase rents, as letting agents look to pass existing tenant fees onto landlords.

However, Russell Quirk, the CEO and founder of online lettings agency, eMoov.co.uk, has highlighted the proposed ban as a positive move.

He commented: “The introduction of this bill brings us a step closer to levelling the playing field between letting agent and tenant and one that is certainly a step in the right direction.

“The rental sector can be a minefield of unforeseen costs and a ban on letting fees should make the whole process a lot more transparent and consumer friendly.

“There is, of course, a danger that these agents will now try and recoup their losses through alternative means such charging higher fees to the landlord themselves. This would be an ‘around the houses’ way of bypassing the ban on letting fees, as any additional cost to the landlord is likely to be passed down the line in higher rents.

“The only upside is that at least this won't be payable upfront and will go some way in reducing the initial barrier to entering the rental market as a tenant.” 

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    As a landlord I already pay letting fees. If my fees increase because of this then rents will rise to cover the increase. It's that simple.

    Maybe instead of legislating the sector to death while at the same time bemoaning the housing shortage, the government should stop fighting the symptoms and engage in some lateral thinking to eradicate the cause. I know it's a big ask - particularly from politicians - but a little vision would go a long way here.

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    • 02 November 2017 09:56 AM

    I also as a landlord already pay huge amounts of tenants fees, several thousands a year. If costs go up by a penny then it has to be recovered from the end of the chain, the tenant. I had a different business before where I kept swallowing the costs. It shut down in the end as it could not provide sufficient profit to survive. For anyone who is unsure, a word to the wise - you MUST pass your costs on. It is not a discussion point. The alternative will eventually lead you to having a dying business. And how then would you maintain your tenants properties in good and safe order? Or have any sort of reward for your effort? It's what they call a 'no-brainer' I believe. This applies to section as well by the way.

    Helen Harvey

    Peter, frankly I am so overwhelmed by the attack against Landlord's on every side possible from this government to rid of us of our profit, it's stressful and worrying. We are vilified at every level! One can have no compunction other than to raise rents at every opportunity for the foreseeable future. I have already raised our rents by 3% in the past year in anticipation of this bill and now having read what else is in this bill and all the other things coming down the line, my rents will be going up another 2% . We are still in a sellers market and Landlords need to raise rents on mass. In the past I would overlook costly tenant breaches and not charge for such things as late payment, but now, I will be watching my tenants like a hawk and will immediately sanction. This bill and all the other hostile actions against Landlords, S24, loss of 10% dilapidation allowance, not being able to offset new white goods, not being able to charge for check-out fees, not being able to charge the referencing fee, HMO licensing for properties previously not requiring it, massive fee increases from Agents - means there is no longer a place for the nice and reasonable Landlord. HMRC refuse to recognise property letting as a bonafide business and yet expect us to conform to the strictest of standards and processes. I do not understand why this government want to alienate 2million; I guess mostly conservative voters?

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    • 02 November 2017 09:57 AM

    Section 24 I meant to say..

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    We haven't charged deposits since the rules were introduced, but we charge £200 letting fee. The tenants are all ok with this. If I can't charge this rents are going up. Maybe there should just be a maximum fee?

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    agreed there should be a cap but not an outright ban this will come back to bite the government.

  • cantseethewood forthetrees

    We've already had an avalanche of legislation introduced because of a few rogue landlords looks like we're on the way to getting another lot simply because of a few rogue letting agents. Why do we keep letting the tail wag the dog? A very simple solution would be to make it mandatory to clearly state all the separate charges with the exact cost of each the tenant will be expected to pay as part of the rental advert (similar to the EPC) - the prospective tenant can then easily avoid or try to negotiate down any over costly deals. I'm sure the various associations of letting agents could, for their members, also find a 3rd party interested in offering payment plans to prospective tenants.


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