Renters Rights Bill could ban letting agency fees
Renting homes privately is commonplace particularly as home ownership is not that easy nowadays. Getting your first rental place or moving to another property can be very expensive with a deposit to pay, a months rent in advance and often extortionate lettings fees. All this in addition to the usual costs of moving house. However this has not gone unnoticed and the new proposed Renters Rights Bill could ban letting agency fees and protent tenants from being ripped off.
Baroness Olly Grender, a Lib Dem peer recently submitted proposals for the Renters Rights Bill which aims to address the many concerns of practices in the private rental market. Proposals to put a cap on high lettings fees, bring in mandatory safety checks, stop landlords letting to multiple families were included in the document. Multiply occupancy occurs where more than one family share one living space. Another somewhat controversial proposal is to make public a blacklist of rogue landlords. The Bill has been through two readings and will be go to a committee and redrafted before a vote it taken and it can then be submitted before the House of Commons. The Renters Rights Bill looks to be huge step forward in tackling these issues, not lease the fact that agency fees are completely unregulated and can be from £25 up to hundreds of pounds per tenant. Click here for timescales and further information.
Are there any drawbacks if this came into force?
The Bill is largely welcomed by consumer rights groups but there are some inevitable side affects. Landlords may feel compelled to put up rents and passing increased costs onto tenants. Jeremy Leaf, former chairman of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors speaking to the Telegraph (10th June, 2016) warned that a total ban on fees could lead to rents rising as costs are passed on to tenants. The rogue list although good in principle could have a huge impact on a small time landlord owning one or two properties if they make the list as a result of a single dispute which may not have even been their fault. There is nothing to show what part the tenant may have had in the dispute. At present there is no rogue list of tenants so perhaps that’s a consideration for the next round of discussions. Local Authorities currently have access to such as list.
It will be interesting to see how this pans out but Baroness Grender has certainly raised an important issue that affects many of us whether we own our own home or not as these issues have a wider impact on the health of the housing market and the economy. Most of us know someone who is renting and something has to give somewhere before we are all priced out of our own homes.