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.”