On 21 June 2017, the Queen’s Speech set out information on legislation that the government intends to carry over into, or introduce in, the 2017-19 Parliamentary session.
A ban on letting agents charging upfront fees to tenants on residential lettings fees was first announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement. The aim is to increase competition in the private rental sector to achieve lower overall costs and a higher quality of service for tenants.
The governments cited the following in its Key Facts supporting the Draft Bill:
The English Housing Survey 2014-15 found that the average letting fees charged per tenancy is £223 and that median fees charged by agents increased by 60% between 2009-10 and 2014-15 (14% increase in mean). Shelter found that 1 in 7 tenants pay more than £500.
Citizens’ Advice Bureau found that 64% of tenants experienced problems paying letting agents’ fees and 42% had to borrow money.
The proposals will ban landlords and agents from requiring tenants to pay letting fees as a condition of their tenancy. The ban would not include rent, a capped refundable security deposit and/or holding deposit and tenant default fees. Holding deposits would be capped at one week’s rent and security deposits at no more than one month’s rent. It is also expected to provide ways for tenants to recover unlawfully charged fees. The ban will only apply to England.
For further information on this or any other Landlord/Tenant matter, please contact Lina Rodriguez on 020 3490 1475 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org