In a shock turnaround in the 2016 Autumn budget statement the Government announced they would ban landlords and their agents charging any fees to tenants, claiming that these costs should be met by landlords as part of running their letting business.
The Government are consulting on the details of exactly what should be banned and this is where we will need your help.
What could the ban mean in practice? On average tenants pay £19 per month in fees, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau. Maxine Lester tenants pay under £12 per month and these charges cover the staff cost of managing important protections such as comprehensive referencing; right to rent checks; deposit protection requirements; inventory management; tenancy renewal; end of tenancy negotiations; client money protection controls; as well as ensuring the property check-in happens properly and all legal aspects are well managed.
The obvious question is what happens if the cost for these important items can’t be charged to tenants? Well, ultimately, landlords will need to either meet the costs themselves, or decide whether they need the items completed at all. Given the protections included in these items, combined with the fact some are legal requirements, our strong advice would be to make sure these things still happen, so option one would apply.
So how can you help?
The Government consultation is a chance to shape what happens. We want to ensure our response to this consultation reflects our customers’ views. Therefore we’d be grateful if you could spend 3 minutes completing our short survey so we can harness your thoughts to make sure the Government hears them.
Please try and get the survey completed by Monday 27 May, so we can hit the deadline of 2 June. There is some suggestion the 2 June date may be extended due to the general election, however no suggestion that the consultation content will change, we will continue to prepare for 2 June.
We have also produced a short video to explain a bit more about the ban, which you might want to watch.
Should you feel so inclined you may wish to look at the 36 page Government consultation document to provide more detail.