Fee ban consultation to begin 'in the spring'
The consultation on the proposed bans on letting agents levied against tenants will start in the spring. Housing minister Gavin Barwell announced the decision to begin planning the ban for England, which will ultimately mean that letting agents cannot charge tenants application or renewal fees.
Mr Barwell said in a written answer to Labour MP Julie Elliott that the government “is committed to building a strong and safe private rented sector, which provides security and stability for both tenants and landlords.”
The government announced the proposed fee ban in the 2016 Autumn Statement in a bid to improve competition within the private rental sector and ensure tenants have clarity when it comes to what they pay and why. Mr Barwell's announcement means that the government will begin exploring how the ban can be implemented and when this is likely to happen.
Mr Barwell went on to say that the long-awaited Housing Paper that was announced at the end of February includes plans on helping to promote transparency and fairness for the increasing number of people renting properties.
In his written answer, he said that the consultation will look at "a range of measures to tackle all unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold and consider further reforms through the consultation to improve consumer choice and fairness for leaseholders”.
However, Mr Barwell also noted that satisfaction among renters is improving, with more and more private tenants reporting that they they are happy with their tenure and that standards in the sector are getting higher. He went on to say that the government is determined to ensure that all sectors of the housing market are up to scratch.
With the consultation due to get underway shortly, letting agents and landlords should begin to consider how the fee ban will affect them. While there are not yet any details available, planning for how it could possibly impact business is vital when it comes to minimising the potential negative effects.