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A ban on letting agent fees

View profile for Naomi Moore
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The end of rip-off Letting Agent Fees

In the Government’s Autumn Statement on the 23rd November 2016 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the Government will ban letting agents’ fees to tenants, to improve competition in the private rental market and give renters greater clarity and control over what they will pay. Since 2013 Shelter has been at the forefront of the campaign to abolish letting agent fees following Scotland’s banning of letting agent fees in November 2012.

This move by the Government is welcomed by organisations representing tenants as it will mean more transparency in the rental sector for tenants who will no longer be deterred from renting accommodation due to unaffordable letting agent fees. It is often argued that in some cases the fees charged do not accurately reflect the true admin cost incurred by the letting agents. Why would an admin cost be passed on to the tenant? Surely that is what the landlord is paying for to market the property already. There was no regulation and admin fees were at best disproportionate but often extortionate. The banning of these fees will now make it easier for all prospective tenants to access properties by working out the true rental cost.

Whilst some landlord representatives are concerned the fee will be shifted to the landlord, which may result in higher rents, In Scotland this has been proven not to be the case and rents have risen instead due to economic and sociological factors. Landlord’s certainly have more market power than tenants, can shop around and choose agents with a pro active approach, even digital agents whose admin costs would be hard to evidence!

Watch this space for further information on how and when this ban will be implemented in the UK.