Proposed changes to Tenant Letting Fees delayed until Spring 2019

Proposed changes are not to come in until spring 2019, says governmentThe chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced plans to ban letting agent fees paid by tenants in November 2016. Over a year later, the government has revealed that this change, along with a potential cap on tenancy deposits at a maximum of six weeks’ rent, won’t be coming in until “after spring 2019”.The delay may be welcome news for letting agents. Speaking in an article on the Guardian website, David Cox, the chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, which represents letting agents, said the new rules would cost 4,000 jobs:“A ban on letting agent fees will cost the sector jobs, make buy-to-let investment even less attractive, and ultimately result in the costs being passed on to tenants.”After seeing the draft bill, Cox commented that is essential that the legislation is “fair to consumers” whilst also “supporting businesses to carry out the work necessary to create and maintain successful tenancies”.Amongst private renters, the proposal has proved popular. Renters pay an average £200–£300 in letting fees per tenancy, though for many it can be significantly more. The campaign group Generation Rent found that the typical two-adult household is paying an average of £404 every time they move, with fees ranging from £40 to £813. Meanwhile, the charity Shelter found that one in seven tenants pay more than £500.Many fees are for taking references, getting credit checks, or investigating immigration status but can vary hugely and, according to Shelter, include costs for services including ‘moving furniture’.The government hope that the ban will ensure more transparency on costs between landlords and tenants because all the fees will be upfront, “without any additional hidden costs”.“This government is determined to make sure the housing market works for everyone. That’s why we’re delivering on our promise to ban tenant fees, alongside other measures, to make renting fairer and increase protection for people in the private rented sector,” Cox concluded. SOURCE: Bristol Property Live  17th Jan 2018

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