Welsh government finds strong support for tenant fees restrictions

by Gary Whittaker

The Welsh government has reported strong support for its proposals to curb letting agency fees for tenants. 

A consultation on a range of proposals received 680 responses, with 56 per cent of respondents saying 'unnecessary' fees should be banned. Notably, many of those favouring a ban were landlords. 
The consultation revealed the level of fees charged by agents varies widely, from as low as £50 to as much as £1,700. The average figure tenants are charged to begin a tenancy is £249.47, with renewals typically costing £108 and terminations £142. 

All this has affected the decisions many tenants have made when renting, with 62 per cent revealing fees have constrained their ability to move into a particular property and 86 per cent saying fees impacted on their decision to use the services of an agent.

Landlords themselves are often unaware of these charges, with only 61 per cent knowing what agents working on their behalf are charging tenants.

Commenting on the findings, housing and regeneration minister Rebecca Evans said the high number of responses reflects the "strength of feeling" that exists over the issue of fees.

The minister pledged to work with agents and landlords "to improve and modernise the sector" for everyone. 

She added: "I have already announced my intention to bring forward a bill which bans fees in the private rented sector. The findings from this consultation add to the evidence that action is needed to address the fees currently charged to tenants.  

"I will now finalise these legislative proposals and introduce a bill to the Assembly later this year."

Reflecting on the findings, the Residential Landlords' Association predicted that a ban on most fees would not make renting cheaper.

It argued that agencies would simply pass extra costs onto landlords to make up the shortfall, with the landlords in turn covering this loss of income through more expensive rents.ADNFCR-1064-ID-801845149-ADNFCR

28-February-18Legal News