UK Government starts new law banning agents from charging fees to renters
The government will introduce a bill to parliament today to ban letting agent fees
Letting agents should cease & desist charging tenants fees now! #NoFeesForKeys
By: Tony Coe
At long last, after a long campaign supported by Saunders 1865, its corporate clients and our renter community, finally, the Government has started the process to introduce the long-awaited legal ban.
These so-called “admin fees” line letting agents pockets without providing any service of value to renters. They are, in reality, a surcharge (on top of the commission that the agent is charging to their client landlord) for minor administrative tasks that benefit the landlord.
But tenants are forced to pay them or they won’t get to rent the home they’ve chosen – nor any rental home. They are, therefore, a form of extortion plain and simple, which is why we headlined our campaign with the slogan “No Fees For Keys!”
Communities secretary Sajid Javid 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.”
The draft bill will also cap holding deposits at no more than one week’s rent and security deposits at no more than six weeks’ rent, create a civil offence with a fine of £5,000 for an initial breach of the ban on letting agent fees, and create a criminal offence where a person has been fined or convicted of the same offence within the past five years. Penalties of up to £30,000 can be issued.
When I started out in the relocation business 30-odd years ago acting for tenants throughout the renting process, these admin fees were small and of little consequence. But landlords’ agents have increased them substantially over recent years because they’ve recognised that tenants have no choice but to pay them. And they now can amount to the better part of a thousand pounds!
Reputable letting agents that we work with have already stopped charging these fees to Saunders 1865 tenants. Now that the legal ban is close to becoming law, I encourage all letting agents to cease and desist charging these fees immediately rather than waiting for the new law to officially come into force. It’s the right thing to do.
Employers retain relocation professionals like us because they want to support their employees throughout the relocation purpose. It’s a wise business investment for employers because it helps them recruit and retain the best talent. Happy employees, who are not distracted by problems with their rental home, are more productive. They can hit the ground running and get on with the job that they’ve been relocated to do.
Saunders 1865 has been helping renters find their perfect home in the UK for more than 3 decades. Our team of experts represent them in negotiating a fair rental contract and we support them throughout their lease, making sure that landlords deliver on all their obligations. Usually, our services are sponsored by the employer who moved them to London or elsewhere in the UK for business purposes. We provide the same service internationally for corporate clients.
To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one of my expert team, use this contact form
To read related articles, please click the titles below: