View guides

RLA Argues Agency Fee Ban Unlikely Before Late 2018

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Analysis by the Residential Landlords' Association (RLA) suggests a ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants in England is unlikely to be implemented before late next year.

The legislation is currently at consultation stage and is open for responses until June 2. Despite the recent call for a general election, the Department of Communities and Local Government has confirmed this remains the case.

The association's policy director, David Smith, said of the proposals: "The ban will need primary legislation and so the actual implementation date is not clear but is unlikely to be before late 2018."

The RLA have also argued there are several issues surrounding the consultation document.

The RLA argue the document highlights that the government assumes the entire agency market is the same. In reality they claim in some areas landlords have difficulty shopping around, whilst in more serviced markets there is reportedly evidence that tenants do shop around and compare agent fees.

Mr Smith also questioned another of the governments objectives, namely limiting the size of tenancy deposits. The argument is any such control would result in rent being asked for in advance or guarantors being sought.

Another concern is whether removing the ability to charge agency fees will mean those to landlords will rise.

In addition to the problem of enforcing the ban, he added: "With landlords already being pressed by tax changes they may well look to increase rent to cover these new costs although there will be a cap on what the market will bear in some areas."