Letting fee ban laws unveiled by Government

Marco Green
November 3, 2017

A Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) spokesman could not give a specific date for the introduction of the ban.

Anyone caught breaching the ban on letting agent fees will be subject to a £5,000 fine for an initial breach, treated as a civil offence.

Amend the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to specify that the letting agent transparency requirements, such as telling tenants what they will have to pay, should also apply to property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.

A report from the charity Shelter found almost one in four people in England and Wales feel they have been charged unfair fees by a letting agent.

Letting agents could face prosecution or a fine of up to £30,000 if they breach a proposed ban on letting fees.

Cap holding deposits at no more than one weeks rent and security deposits at no more than six weeks rent.

It also said that the move will bring an end to the small minority of agents exploiting their role between renters and landlords, banish unfair charges and stop those agents that double charge tenants and property owners for the same service.

Draft legislation being published on Wednesday will ban letting fees for tenants in the private rented sector in England, with a fine of up to £5,000 for landlords who try to charge them.

In its response to a consultation on the ban, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) warned that "any ban on fees paid by tenants will be passed back to landlords", who are already struggling under a higher tax and regulatory burden.

The bill sets out the government's approach to achieving this, with evidence suggesting the level of fees charged are not often clearly or consistently explained.

Mr Javid said: 'This Government is determined to make sure the housing market works for everyone.

Since it was announced in the Autumn Statement previous year, the government held a consultation on the proposals to ban letting agent fees, which the RLA contributed to.

The government said its plans will help to improve transparency, affordability and competition in the private rental market. This kind of opacity is not accepted in other markets, and the lettings sector should be no different, ' he added.

The government said the proposed ban will "stop hidden charges and end tenants being hit by costly upfront payments that can be hard to afford".

'Under the new rules, landlords will choose the agent that provides the quality of service that they are seeking at a price that they are willing to pay. This will ensure greater protection for both landlords and tenants, allowing them to be compensated if all or part of their money is not repaid.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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