A leading property campaigner has warned the property sector to brace themselves for the proposed ban on letting agent fees to come into force.
Ajay Jagota wants the sector to, ‘stop living in complete and utter denial’ about the forthcoming proposals,’ noting that the ban has been promised by all three major political parties in their election manifestos.
Ban on Fees
The three main parties talk about the ban as follows:
Conservatives: The Tories confirm that they will press ahead with plans for the letting agent fee ban and promise commitment to, ‘improve protections for those who rent, including by looking at how we increase security for good tenants and encouraging landlords to offer longer tenancies as standard.’
Labour: The opposition party want to see a Department of Housing, which will oversee the standards and affordability of homes in the sector. It also calls for three-year tenancies to become the norm and for rent rises to be capped with inflation.
Lib Dems: Called for mandatory licensing of landlords, three-year tenancies and a cap on upfront tenancy deposits.Mr Jagota, founder of sales and lettings firm KIS, observed: ‘The Letting Agent fee ban is the latest in a long line of things the industry believed would never happen until they did. If it wasn’t obvious enough, the manifestos we’ve seen this week make it clear those people need to stop living in complete and utter denial.’
‘It is not a case of whether Letting Agent fees are going to be banned but how the ban will be implemented. It’s not even a case of when the ban comes as legislating for it is likely to be low hanging fruit compared to other pledges on housing so I’d expect to see it in the first Queen’s Speech of whatever government we have after June 8,’ he continued.
Ban on agent fees looks unavoidable
Moving on, Jagota noted: ‘All three manifestos are, however, very light on detail when it comes to the form the ban will take. Do they mean an outright ban of any kind of fee being charged to tenants or will things like referencing fees be exempt? It’s over these issues that the industry now needs to mobilise.’
‘The most significant pledge on renting of any of the parties is the Liberal Democrats deposit cap. It’s not a policy I agree with, but its very existence means that deposit reform is now unavoidably on the agenda.’
‘I can already hear some people saying ‘it’ll never happen’, to which I say this: Two years ago Labour plans to ban letting agent fees were roundly mocked by the Conservatives. Today it’s unthinkable that the Conservatives will go back on banning them. Like it or not, deposit reform has arrived,’ he concluded.