As industry awaits the Government’s consultation on banning letting agent fees, the Fair Fees Forum* has been working to provide information to help Government’s thinking on the impact of any ban.
Although the focus of the ban appears to be on all fees charged to tenants by agents, many questions remain on what this will mean in practice. The paper produced by the Forum identifies what fees pay for, explains the difference between fees and charges and explores the legitimacy of charging for specific services.
The paper provides –
• An overview of the current regulatory framework
• A summary of the services that agents provide to tenants, at various key stages.
• A range of ‘case studies’, to illustrate how provision of personalised services to different types of tenant can involve agents in additional activities for which charging is legitimate; the cases cover students, house sharers, Housing Benefit or Universal Credit claimants and a complex Right to Rent example.
• The Working Group’s perspective of the implications of the ban for tenants, landlords and agents;
• A proposed way forward, in light of the Government’s intention to consult on the proposals
Isobel Thomson, Chief Executive, NALS, which acts as Secretariat for the Fair Fees Forum, said:
“The Fair Fees Working Group produced this paper to ensure Government were very clear on the impact of the ban, and to fully explain how the industry works. However, we firmly believe that more impartial information should be gathered in advance of taking such a drastic measure as a ban.
“It is the Group’s view that the Competition and Markets Authority would be best placed to review fees in the lettings market, its overall regulatory framework and how to ensure a fair, safe experience for tenants. We have formally requested this review and made our intentions clear to Government.”
*Fair Fees members supporting this paper are as listed below:
The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) Ombudsman Services: Property (OS:P), The Property Ombudsman (TPO) The Property Redress Scheme (PRS), Belvoir!, Chestertons, Countrywide, Hamptons International, Hunters Property Group, Leaders, Northwood, Romans, Ryder & Dutton, Savills, Spicerhaart, Touchstone, and Winkworth
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