An outright ban on lettings fees charged to tenants in Wales has been branded a “dangerous move” by a landlords’ organisation.
The Welsh division of the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has responded to the Welsh Government’s consultation on an outright ban on lettings fees charged to tenants, which follows similar moves in England.
In its consultation response, the RLA states that an outright ban, as is expected to be introduced in England, would be a dangerous move, with ripple effects throughout the sector.
With a major source of revenue eliminated, letting agents would have no choice but to pass on their overhead costs to landlords, who, in turn, would have no choice but to absorb these higher charges by raising rents for tenants, believes the RLA.
Landlords are already facing huge financial pressure at present, due to new regulatory changes to mortgage interest tax relief, Stamp Duty, mandatory licensing in Wales, and the new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) standards, which will be introduced next spring.
The Welsh wing of the RLA is arguing that, rather than an outright ban, a capped fee should be introduced, within which a set of services would be required. These could include: referencing, credit checks, and assistance with negotiating the terms of a tenancy with the landlord.
Additionally, the RLA is advocating a set menu of fees for services that might not apply to every tenancy, such as guarantor referencing and surcharges for lost keys.
What is your opinion on an outright ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants and, if you don’t agree with the plans, what are your proposed alternatives?
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