Under new rules to ban letting fees for tenants, who will really pick up the costs?

Under new rules to ban letting fees for tenants, who will really pick up the costs?

One of the big talking points for the property sector to come out of the Autumn Statement was the banning of letting fees for tenants.

Although a date for the regulatory change wasn’t given, this wasn’t merely a proposal, with the Chancellor saying it will be implemented as soon as possible

Not many details were given, however, which has left many people wondering who will be expected to absorb this cost; will it be letting agents, landlords or even, indirectly, still tenants?

At present, tenants can be charged various administration fees, such as reference, credit and immigration checks. They may also have to pay a fee for the agent to draw up the agreement, as well as a holding deposit which in some cases is non-refundable. As a result, it’s become costly for tenants to even get in the door of their rented home and that’s what the Government is aiming to redress.
 
The average letting fee in 2015, according to the English Housing Survey was £223, but it varies between agents, and those looking to rent in city hotspots, particularly London, can face much higher fees than this. When you add deposit and rent in advance, the average costs which renters using a letting agency need to pay upfront are more than £1,000 nationally and over £2,000 in London, according to a leading housing charity.


Whilst tenants have welcomed the news, therefore, that will see this cost come down, landlords are obviously concerned that alongside the tax changes they’re facing, they simply can’t take on the administrative costs as well, and still make a profit, with some suggesting they would have to increase rents as a result, if the fees are passed to them. If this were to happen, the new measure would in fact hurt the very people it was meant to help.

However, since rent is predominantly governed by the market, this would seem unlikely, and it’s more probable that it’s the letting agents, rather than landlords that will take the hit on these fees.

Scotland banned letting fees many years ago and in good news for landlords, or those looking to invest in their first buy-to-let property, the agencies have been the ones to absorb the cost there, so it’s likely the same approach will be taken in the UK.

Essentially, letting agents need to remain competitive to stand out in the sector and they can’t be if they are passing on fees to landlords, who will either shop around for the cheapest agent, or  may even take a different approach to finding tenants if they don’t want to face additional fees.

With little information available at the moment on how and when this change will be implemented, speculation is rife, but we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the market once the ban in enforced to see what effect this really has on agents, landlords and tenants.

Join our mailing list:


Comments

  1. akbar ali dayalaakbar ali dayala20 December 2016 17:53:06

    I am a landlord and director of an online letting agents at the moment we charge tenants minimal fees and landlord also meaning we can get best deals for tenants all around if the ban comes in it wont affect me as I will add the fees to the 1st months rent, or tenants can pay over 3, 6 , 9 12 months with interest! so who are the actual winners? not the tenants! well done government !

    Reply to this comment

Leave a comment



Latest Comments

Kelvin Lloyd
Kelvin Lloyd 09 Oct 2017

IT is up, to the Planners. If they will only give permission for bungalows on certain (suitable) sites, they will be built.

view article
maggie swift
maggie swift 09 Oct 2017

It's just the beginning of the shocking rise.

view article
maggie swift
maggie swift 09 Oct 2017

I have recently read that the bungalows can provide social housing for elderly residents in London.

view article
zoe glover
zoe glover 05 Oct 2017

Update! Worst company I have ever dealt with. Undervalued a Cambridge property by over 100k, wont take on any evidence of valuation including a RICS valuation done 3 years ago for the very same value...

view article
Paul Edwards
Paul Edwards 27 Sep 2017

Its nonsense articles such as this that make it harder to get clients to realise just how difficult the market is out there. When you see Rightmove and there are more 'price reduced' then 'new' most days...

view article
Tom Allen
Tom Allen 20 Sep 2017

Absolutely agree with you!

view article
RyanGeo
RyanGeo 18 Sep 2017

A sharp correction would be a less dramatic expression to use. That is already underway in certain sectors in Reading where I practice as Chartered Surveyor

view article
sean benton
sean benton 01 Sep 2017

Identity theft is a thread for any profession. So,people should stay alarmed. I once take help from a letting agent and came to know that letting agents are taking every precaution to prevent fraudulent...

view article
Mark N.
Mark N. 30 Aug 2017

We have seen a surge in instructions over August and that should continue into September too.

view article
Chris
Chris 30 Aug 2017

Unfortunately, all the legislation bears its force on Landlords and ignores, naively, the effect of Rogue Tenants on the ability of landlords to keep houses in repair and offer properties for rent at reasonable...

view article
Christian Donovan
Christian Donovan 18 Aug 2017

The write-down on house values, combined with the fall in the GBP saddled the fund?s property portfolio with a 1.4% loss in the second quarter. The shocking amount of $240 million.

view article
Samantha Goodman
Samantha Goodman 11 Aug 2017

Interesting point of view.

view article

Related stories

More articles from Scott Hendry