New Legislation Announced To End Letting Agent Fees

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Plans to ban letting agents from charging fees to tenants were announced in the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on Thursday.

The Tenants’ Fees Bill follows an initial announcement by Conservatives in the 2016 Autumn Statement.

The bill is likely to pass into law, as manifestos of all major parties during the last election contained similar commitments.

The average amount of fees that tenants pay to letting agents is around £223 according to government statistics. Agents often charge fees to tenants to cover the administration costs such as taking references, immigration and credit checks.

According to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, around 4.3 million households a year pay tenancy fees to agents.

Research by housing charity Shelter has found that fees for some renters are much higher than the national average, as one in seven renters were found to pay over £500 to letting agents.

Some London tenants have also previously complained of agency fees costing over £2000.

Letting agents have warned that abolishing fees could negatively impact rental costs. ARLA Propertymark, which represents agents across the country, has previously warned that this ban could lead to higher rental costs as charges previously covered by fees, are passed on to landlords.

While letting agents in England and Wales are legally required to publicise their fees, Scotland has already banned agents from imposing extra charges.

A House of Commons Select Committee investigating the Scottish legislation last year found that evidence suggesting the banning of fees had led to a rise in rents was inconclusive.

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Deputy Editor 2017-18, International Editor 2015-17. Languages student adjusting to being back in the UK after a year in Chile. Interested in Latin America, world news, media and politics.

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