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The shock announcement back in autumn 2016 of plans to ban letting agent fees levied on tenants in England left agents reeling and set in motion the long wait for more information as to when the ban would come into force. The Draft Tenants Fees Bill released in November 2017 reiterated the planned ban, with implementation widely anticipated to take place during 2018. However, the government has now revealed that the ban will not be implemented until spring 2019 at the earliest.
Industry expert and Head of Redress at the Property Redress Scheme, Sean Hooker, commented:
“The industry now has a realistic time scale in which to plan ahead. What is needed now is for Government to integrate their proposals into a strategic vision of the market that provides a well-managed, thriving and secure service that works for tenants, landlords and agents.”
The Department for Communities and Local Government says the move means tenants will be able to see at a glance what a property will cost them in terms of rent, “without any additional hidden costs”. Under the proposed legislation tenants in England will no longer have to pay anything other than their rent and a refundable deposit.
Paul Shamplina, Brand Ambassador for Hamilton Fraser, the market leading property group whose brands include Total Landlord Insurance, Landlord Action, Client Money Protect and who are scheme administrators for mydeposits, added:
“When the ban comes into force, agents will have to look for ways to become more competitive and provide a better service for landlords. Meanwhile, landlords should be better empowered to shop around for the agent that provides the quality of service that they are seeking, at a price that they are willing to pay.”
The all-party Communities and Local Government Select Committee of MPs is carrying out pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Tenant Fees Bill - the legislation containing the ban - and the ban is expected to come into force after spring next year, once the proposals have been fully scrutinised by Parliament and stakeholders.
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Property Redress Scheme is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015