Homeless Link responds to the Government’s homelessness statistics for Q4 2016, released on 23 March.
How should a ban on letting fees work?
Under the proposal, letting agents will no longer be able to charge fees to tenants for a variety of their services, including seeking references, inventory services and contract negotiations.
The consultation document suggests that banning letting fees being charged to tenants will incentivise letting agents to compete for landlords’ business. This will lead to lower up-front costs paid by tenants, and greater clarity on the total costs of renting a new home.
Lower up-front costs may make moving into private rented accommodation easier, and so reduce the number of people made homeless as a result of loss of a tenancy in the private rented sector. Greater clarity on the costs of renting a new home should also support prospective tenants to effectively budget.
Many of our members support people to move into private rented accommodation, and/or work with people whose tenancy has ended and who have not been able to secure another tenancy due to unaffordable up-front costs.
Homeless Link is therefore interested in hearing from members about current problems with letting fees, what more could be done to decrease upfront costs and how the ban should be enforced. In particular:
- Do you have any examples where letting agent fees have affected someone’s ability to move to a new rented property?
- How can the Government best minimise the financial burden on a tenant at the outset of a tenancy?
- Should refundable deposits, be capped? At what level?
- Should holding deposits, which ensure that a property is taken off the market, be capped? At what level?
- Do you think letting agent fees are clearly and transparently displayed?
- How should the ban be enforced?
Please contact, Chris Brill on firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 26th May if you have anything you would like to share to inform our response.
The full consultation can be found here
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Chris is our policy manager with particular responsibility for a number of areas including welfare and migration. Chris is currently covering for Paul Anderson while he is on sabbatical leave.
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