Letting Agents Faced with Fines of up to £30,000
In a bid to increase transparency between letting agents and tenants, a new draft bill introduced to parliament on 1st November 2017 could see letting agents face hefty fines of up to £30,000 on breach of the proposed ban on letting fees.
News of the bill will come as a pleasant surprise to numerous tenants who have been hit with expensive, unpredictable, compulsory moving-in fees.
After government evidence found that tenants are often left in the dark as to how much letting-agent fees will cost – or even how the cost is worked out – the new measures aim to level the playing field between the two parties.
More than nine out of 10 tenants responded positively to the bill, with a further seven out of 10 claiming that agent fees negatively affected their moving into a new property.
The bill looks to solve another issue, too: reports of agents charging both tenants and landlords for the same services has risen, and calls for more regulation have been heeded.
>An initial concern, however, is that letting agents will pass the costs onto landlords, who then will be forced to up their rent prices. Clearly, there needs to be a way to make the housing market work for all involved.
Community secretary Sajid Javid said:
“Tenants should no longer be hit by surprise fees they may struggle to afford and should only be required to pay their rent alongside a refundable deposit.
“We’re delivering on our promise to ban letting agent fees, alongside other measures to make renting fairer and increase protection for renters.”
While we cannot yet predict or measure the reaction to the news, the bill would be a great aid to renters. As other proposals plan to cap holding deposits at no more than one week’s rent, and security deposits no more than six, renters can hopefully face the market with a little more confidence intact.