The Letting Fee Ban was announced in the Queen’s Speech in June. This was following an outlined proposal by former chancellor Phillip Hammond in November 2016. It was expected to be in force by April 2018; however that is unlikely to be the case.
Rebecca Perks, the Policy Lead for Letting Agents at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said that the draft Tenants’ Fees Bill would be published shortly while speaking at the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) London conference.
This will have come as a disappointment to the Chief Executive of NALS Isobel Thomson who while introducing Perks as a speaker at the event, expressed the hope for a timeframe to be specified.
Perks declined to give a more detailed time frame. She did give a list of priorities for April 2018 including the introduction of Minimum Emergency Efficiency Standards (MEES) for rental properties and enforcement of the recently launched database of rogue landlords. This list failed to mention the letting fee ban.
Many in the industry have penciled in the letting fee ban for next April, but when pressed on the chances of an introduction by then, Perks said that the legislative process needed to start with the initial draft bill. This would then be followed by the committee stage which can take a few months and then any changes would need to be debated.
“You can draw your own conclusions from that,” she stated. “I can’t give a definitive timetable.”
During a heated question and answer session, agents said the Government has failed to consider consequences of the ban on rent prices. They argued that the market is already struggling with other changes. These include Right to Rent and the higher Stamp Duty rate.
Perks argued that landlords, not tenants, are the agent’s clients and should be happy to pay more for a better service.
She added: “We understand you may not want the ban, but the reason it will be presented in draft is so any concerns can be fleshed out.”
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