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Property sector encouraged to respond to consultation

POSTED ON 10 MAY 2017

The government is calling on tenants, landlords, letting agents and other interested parties to respond to a new consultation document concerning a letting fees ban.

Letting agents have been accused of taking advantage of the housing crisis to squeeze extra money from people eager to secure accommodation. As a result, legislation is going through parliament following the Autumn Statement in 2016, when it was announced that the government would push for a fairer system for renters.

But what does this mean for letting agents? Although the proposed crackdown is said to potentially save renters hundreds of pounds, views from many in the industry believe that rents will in fact rise as the costs are shifted to landlords instead.

However, in order to gain views of agents, landlords and tenants alike, a consultation paper on the ban of letting agent fees charged to tenants has been released by the Department for Communities and Local Governments, who say that the government is committed to building a strong private rented sector: “The private rented sector is an important part of our housing market. It has almost doubled in size in the decade to 2014-15, housing 4.3 million households in England. The sector now represents 19% of all households, up from 11% in 2004-05.

“Letting agents are engaged by private landlords to let and manage rental accommodation on their behalf. Good agents provide a valuable service in ensuring that properties are safe, compliant and professionally managed; they help landlords comply with their legal responsibilities and help tenants secure safe and good quality homes.

“The government announced at the 2016 Autumn Statement that it would consult on introducing a ban on letting agent fees paid by tenants, to improve competition in the private rental market and give renters greater clarity and control over what they will pay.

“The ban will recognise the stronger market position of landlords… will sharpen and increase letting agents’ incentives to compete for landlords’ business, resulting in a better and more transparent service.”

Tenants, landlords, letting agents and other interested parties are invited to fill out and respond to the new consultation document by 2nd June 2017. The paper welcomes views and comments on how the ban should be implemented and enforced and can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dclglet

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