The proposed ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants by landlords and letting agents continues to split opinion within the industry.
Many experts suggest that if the fees are banned, these costs will subsequently be passed on to landlords, who will need to reclaim these fees from elsewhere – probably through increased rents.
This said, there is little doubt that some agents have previously overcharged their tenants for financial gain. Now, the Government has chosen to act, with the proposed ban being welcomed by some leading industry figures.
Alex Harrington, group lettings managing director at Dexters, noted: ‘Dexters supports the ban on tenants fees being brought forward and the limiting of any additional charges to tenants.’
‘We have always kept any charges to tenants as low as possible, making sure any financial contribution from a tenant has been transparent before they consider renting through us and that it is wholly relevant to the work carried out on their behalf,’ he continued.
Charlie Woods, senior lettings director at Russell Simpson, also welcomed the plans.
Proposed ban on agent fees continues to split opinion
Mr Woods said: ‘From our point of view it’s business as usual, for quite a while now we haven’t charged the standard administration fee, because we simply don’t see the need. We also don’t charge the landlord their portion as they are paying us a fee already so we’ve always felt it was unjustified to ask for anything else on top.’
‘There has been talk of some agents pushing the fees onto the landlord, who could subsequently increase the rent to cover the additional costs. However, I feel this is unlikely, as with the sales market, overly high prices in the rental market stand out and the properties will simply not let, so all-in-all this will be a very positive move for tenants.’
Calum Brannan, CEO of No Agent, sees the new Tenant’s Fees Bill as a ‘huge leap forward for the letting market.’ Brannan suggests that the industry, ‘has been double dipping and making profits from both tenants and landlords simultaneously for too long.’
However, Tim Wright, product director at KeyAGENT, observed: ‘With the Tenants Fee Bill now firmly on the horizon, agents will be under increasing pressure to deliver exceptional service in tougher conditions.’