Tenants’ Fees Ban — keep calm and let’s wait and see!

As expected, Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech was dominated by Brexit. Also expected, it included the Governments confirmation that they would legislate to ban the charging of fees to tenants by landlords and agents. This will include proposals to:

· Ban landlords and agents from requiring tenants to make any payments as a condition of their tenancy with the exception of the rent, a refundable security deposit, a refundable holding deposit and tenant default fees.

· Holding deposits are to be capped at no more than one weeks rent and security deposits at no more than one month’s rent.

Disappointment amongst both landlords and agents has understandably been the first response as it has implications for both. As ARLA Propertymark’s Chief Executive, David Cox, responded within hours . .

‘It’s unlikely the Government had enough time to analyse all of the responses from the consultation, as it only closed 12 working days ago, on the 2nd June. It appears they had already made their decision and therefore the consultation was no more than a ‘tick box’ exercise and they haven’t appropriately taken the industry’s views into account.’

True, if the above two proposals are to be included in any bill then it does rather look as though the consultation was a bit of a ‘whitewash’! However, there is no point in speculating on what will become law until we have actually seen a bill. I like the measured response from Isabelle Thomson, CEO of the National Approved Letting Scheme . .

‘It wasn’t unexpected to see the Queen’s speech mention the fee ban legislation, particularly given that all three main political parties had included it in their manifestos.

‘We don’t want to speculate on the detail of these measures at this stage, instead it is much more important for NALS that we continue to work with Government on the fee ban and how it will be implemented sensibly so it is fair to all parties — tenant, landlord and agent.’

Agreed. It sounds as though the bill will not be published until later in the year so let’s remain calm and wait and see. In the meantime, here at Jubilee Lets, we continue to consider ways of preparing for the inevitable that will, as Isabelle Thomson says, be fair to all parties — tenant, landlord and agent. Watch this space!