What’s going on with Letting Agency Fees

There seems to be no doubt that fees to tenants will be eliminated. Both the Labour and Tories Parties are for the elimination.  The question is not about if it will happen anymore – it is more about when will it happen.

When will the tenant fees be abolished?

The stopping on tenant fees will depend on what Parliamentary time is available to discuss the matter – and with Brexit in motion it may be delayed a little – so we could well be looking at a 2019 enforcement.

The anticipated constraint on agent’s fees is going in the direction that many have wanted to go, especially with the introduction of the draft legislation to ban the obligation for tenants to pay fees or other charges on top of rent and payments for services from third parties.

There is a possibility that it could also put a restriction on the amount of tenancy deposits held by a landlord or agent in a relevant scheme.

Tenant fees have been a topic of debate for several years now…

The amount that tenants pay to letting agents been a topic of debate for years, due to the lack of regulation in the market. Following a conference process, the Government has pursued to address the concerns with the introduction of the draft Tenant Fees Bill 2017 (TFB 2017).  In addition, the Government is now in consultation about making it obligatory for letting and managing agents who handle client money to be members of financial protection schemes for clients.

The legislation will be enforced by local authorities (i.e. Trading Standards). A landlord or letting agent who does not abide by the rules risks a penalty of £5,000, with further penalties of up to £30,000 or criminal liability where there are subsequent breaches within 5 years.

The TFB 2017 also looks to revise the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015) so that letting agents must plainly present any letting fees on property portals to the consumer and identify which redress scheme they are a member of, and whether they have client money protection.

Marium Razzaq, partner in JMR Solicitors says: “Our interest is to protect everyone’s rights and this means a fairer market for the tenant as well. This legislation will help regulate the lettings market – which will be welcomed by many.”

If you need assistance of on any property legal matters, whether it may be about your tenancy agreement, landlord issue, maintenance problems, or from a landlord’s perspective it may be missed rent or debt recovery then contact JMR Solicitors in Manchester.


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