The Welsh Government has stated that buy-to-let landlords should be responsible for paying letting agent fees in the country. This comes despite concerns that any such move will lead to higher rents, as landlords seek to pass on any costs, according to the Welsh Government.
A report from the Government claims that there is ‘no compelling evidence’ for tenants to pay letting agent fees or renewal costs upfront. This is because, ‘the large majority of the work undertaken by agents is work that the landlord would otherwise be doing themselves.’
In addition, the report acknowledges that ‘referencing tenants is a service to landlords, not tenants’ and there is, ‘work involved for agents setting up a new tenancy.’ It is also argued that they, ‘do not generally make excessive profits on set up fees in relation to costs incurred.’
The report went on to say: ‘Inventories and tenancy agreements do protect both parties from false accusations, but it is soon to be a legal obligation on the landlord to provide a tenancy agreement, and therefore it is a service to the landlord to do this job for them.’
‘Arranging viewings and advertising a property are also a service to landlords, just as a job advert 60 is paid for by the employer, and estate agents charge sellers, not buyers, to advertise their home.’
Just last month, the Welsh Government launched a consultation on banning fees to tenants, following an announcement that it will be taking action in order to prevent unfair fees.
This consultation looks to seek views on the nature and level of fees being charged to tenants. Alongside looking if these fees are justifiable, it also looks to gather information on fees paid by landlords to agents and any consequences of proposed bans.