A Working Group of the Fair Fees Forum met on Friday 25 November.
Attendees at the Working Group included; Belvoir, Chestertons, Northwood, Spicerhaart, Touchstone, Winkworth, British Property Federation (BPF), Shelter, Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Greater London Authority, Ombudsman Services: Property, Property Redress Scheme and Department for Communities and Local Government (in listening mode).
Following the Government’s announcement in the Autumn Statement that they intend to ban letting agent fees, the Working Group discussed the impact of the announcement, their surprise at the decision and the potential impact it would have on tenants, landlords and letting agents.
In what was a very open and productive discussion, members of the Working Group agreed they were committed to making work, what is now the political will of Government.
DCLG welcomed the work of the Group – they will continue to attend the Forum and receive its information and evidence.
The Group unanimously agreed it would work to inform the scope of the Government’s consultation on banning fees charged by letting agents to tenants. Some members of the Group also reserved the right to make counter proposals to an outright ban.
The Group will work together to provide evidence and data on a number of issues around the ban, which will be used as basis to work with Government. This will include key areas such as:
- Definitions of what fees are, and what charges are;
- Reviewing the experience of a fee ban in Scotland identifying where the process of bringing in a ban could be improved England;
- Implications of the ban and how it will be enforced.
The members of the Working Group will request a meeting with the Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell MP to present the evidence once collated and explain the implications of any ban.
The Group will reiterate an invitation to bodies who previously did not attend the Forum, including the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), and The Property Ombudsman (TPO); and will open the invitation more widely to the National Landlords Association (NLA) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
NALS will continue in its secretariat role for the Forum.
The next meeting of the Working Group will be in early January 2017.
About the Fair Fees Forum
NALS originally created the Fair Fees Forum to bring industry, trading standards and consumer groups together to discuss the creation of a fair fees charter for the private rented sector, and look at alternatives to an outright ban.
In light of the announcement of a ban on fees, the Forum’s Working Group is working together to inform the scope of the Government’s consultation.
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