The campaign will include a toolkit for members to help them take part in the debate and articulate their position to policy makers. “It is essential that letting agents take part in the consultation individually alongside ARLA Propertymark” says an association statement. It says the government’s housing policy is “shambolic” with the proposed ban contradicting its already stated aim to encourage longer term tenancies.
Last month, ARLA Propertymark’s annual conference heard the findings of an independent research exercise which claimed rents would increase by £103 per year on average thanks to the ban. The ARLA statement continues: “The decision is a short-term crowd pleaser and we are disappointed the Department of Communities and Local Government has not considered our proposals in [its] consultation. We urge the government to use this process to think again to ensure that consumers, and the wider economy are not penalised by contradictory government policies.” As Letting Agent Today reported recently, the consultation on the proposed ban on tenant fees by the DCLG will remain open for eight weeks, closing on June 2. In the 36-page consultation document the government says: - No agent, landlord and any other third party will be able to charge tenants any fees, premiums or charges that meet the general definition of facilitating the granting, renewal or continuance of a tenancy; and - Tenants should only be required to pay their rent and a refundable deposit. ARLA maintains, however, that there are certain costs which arguably should continue to be met by the tenant - namely holding deposits to take the property off the market whilst reference checks are undertaken, and in-tenancy property management service charges arising because of the action of the tenant (ARLA says such charges could include arranging for replacement keys, repairs carried out as a result of deliberate damage or breach of the tenancy agreement, or late rent payment charges.)
The association also claims that agents may occasionally provide bespoke, non-standard services to tenants at the top end of the market, for example, when arranging a property for someone currently living abroad who is relocating to the UK. In the consultation, the government claims it is keen to understand whether there are premium parts of the market where a different approach to handling letting fees may be warranted.