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Agents and Landlords Need Certainty About Regulations

Landlorsd Regulations

A call has been made for the rental market’s regulatory future to be made clearer after the government announced a consultation on the proposed letting agent fees ban.

The call comes from the National Landlords’ Association (NLA) after the government says the consultation will examine how to bring to an end hidden charges that tenants are having to pay.

While the announcement was welcomed widely to stop some letting agents from charging higher fees, others want a clear declaration of the government’s aims for the future of the rental market.

This comes after a number of changes to the buy to let sector including the phasing out of mortgage tax relief which will hit landlord’s profitability.

The NLA’s head of policy, Chris Norris, says the government has published plans to tackle the letting agency market and suggesting it ‘might’ look at other areas.

He said: “It’s time that agents and landlords were given certainty over the regulatory future of the market. This can be achieved by agreeing to an over-arching system of letting agent regulation once and for all.”

Consultation has expanded to include tenancy deposits

He also said there are worries that the government’s consultation has also expanded to include tenancy deposits which could lead to a cap being imposed.

Fears that the government’s consultation could see full market regulation of letting agents being introduced have been raised by UKALA’s director Richard price.

He said that the government’s constant policy interventions were seeing small agents ‘drowning’.

Mr Price explained: “The consultation’s publication comes at a time when we are waiting for proposals on the requirements for agents to hold client protection insurance and it is proof the government doesn’t have a clear vision for the sector’s future.

“If the government really wanted to regulate letting agents then why waste time by moving the goalposts constantly?”

Views of letting agents be taken seriously

However, other agents are hoping the views of letting agents will be taken seriously during the fees ban consultation to ensure that the country’s private rental sector works for all concerned.

The director of Rent4sure, Luke Burton, said the sector should work with the government to find the right solution so agents can maintain high standards that landlords and tenants receive currently.

Government research reveals that the fees being charged by agents can range from £50 to £420 for setting up the tenancy, reference checks can cost between £25 and £240 while the tenancy agreement fee can range from £36 to £360.

The figures also reveal that some agents are charging between £15 and £150 for a tenancy renewal while a tenancy amendment can cost a tenant from £24 to £432.

The average price being paid by a tenant in letting agent fees is, on average, £380 but the variation runs from £120 to £747 for a service that is broadly similar between letting agents.

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About S Thompson

Simon Thompson is Chairman of the Landlord Syndicate and CEO / Co Founder of Accommodation for Students Ltd.

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