01 November 2017
Letting fees ban to be reviewed by Parliament
The private rented housing sector is in for a shake-up, and draft legislation published on November 1 proposes a ban on letting fees for tenants, with fines up to £5,000 for landlords who flout the rules.
Landlords and letting agents found to have charged fees more than once within a five-year period could face criminal prosecution and a financial penalty of £30,000.
A recent survey suggests letting fees in the private rented sector typically amount to £223. However, housing charity Shelter reported in 2012 that one in seven tenants pays in excess of £500.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid says the Government is determined to make sure the housing market "works for everyone".
He said: "Tenants should no longer be hit by surprise fees they may struggle to afford and should only be required to pay their rent alongside a refundable deposit.
"We're delivering on our promise to ban letting agent fees, alongside other measures to make renting fairer and increase protection for renters."
Scrapping of letting fees was initially announced during last year's Autumn Statement by Chancellor Philip Hammond.
The new draft Tenant Fees Bill will be subject to parliamentary review before being introduced into law.
Alex Neill of consumer group Which? says: "Navigating the rental market is stressful and expensive. It's right for the Government to ban unfair fees, as this will help renters with the significant costs of moving home.
"This new law must also be enforced so letting agents don't abuse the system."