Ajay Jagota, KIS Lettings
Ajay Jagota

Member Article

Letting Agent fee ban “could be here by the autumn”

**• Property campaigner: “Election result means ban could be here by autumn… it’s likely to be one of the few bits of legislation a minority government will be able to pass”. **

The government has used this afternoon’s Queen’s Speech to confirm that letting agents fees will be banned in England within two years – and one leading property expert believes they could be banned much sooner.

As part of efforts to “promote fairness and transparency in the housing market” the state opening of Parliament saw the Queen announce government plans to: • Ban agents from requiring tenants to pay letting fees as a condition of their tenancy • Introduce mechanisms for tenants will also be able to recover unlawfully charged fees

The ban was initially announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond during the 2016 Autumn Statement. A consultation on the introduction of the ban ended during the General Election. The government is yet to announce its results.

Leading property campaigner Ajay Jagota in Managing Director of sales and lettings firm KIS and deposit-fee renting product Dlighted predicted the election would accelerate the introduction of the letting agent fee ban, staring: “I’d expect to see it in the first Queen’s Speech of whatever government we have after June 8.”

Responding to this afternoon’s speech he said:

“During the campaign I predicted that the election result would make the introduction of the fee ban a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. The result means that that ‘when’ is likely to arrive a whole lot sooner.

“Hopes in the industry that the election could see the plans put on hold were always fanciful. In fact the election result means the ban could be here by autumn.

“The simple reason for this is that with all the leading parties promising to ban letting agents fees in their manifesto it’s likely to be one of the few bits of legislation a minority government can actually pass.

“The people who even now continue to live in denial about the ban or cling to the idea that it won’t be a full ban need to understand that this is going to happen, not least as the industry continues to have no effective lobbying group, leaving it powerless to affect existing policy or influence new policy. This is even more important now that former Housing Minister Gavin Barwell is the Prime Mnister’s Chief of Staff.

“Although the government’s ambition to increase competition and the quality of service and housing in the private rented sector by lowering costs is admirable, a bigger issue is whether or not this change goes far enough to meet the needs of a privately renting population set to reach 6million households by 2021.

“This in turn will increase the total value of money held in tenancy deposits to a truly eye-watering figure well above the current £3.5 billion and it’s only a matter of time until deposits have to be reformed as this is blatant economic inefficiency that if not addressed will mean further government intervention.

“In my view as there was such a consensus across all political parties and in both houses on the fee ban don’t be surprised if further reform, particularly of tenancy deposits, is forthcoming. Reforming deposits help politicians on all sides address the growing affordability issue of the millions of renters, and wins votes so we can expect cross party consensus to continue on this issue”.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ajay Jagota .

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