In November 2017, the government announced its proposal to ban letting agents from levying fees on tenants. A draft bill introduced to Parliament, set out the plan to eliminate upfront payments charged by agents.
The proposals led to criticism , with industry experts claiming such a ban would cost the sector jobs, make buy-to-let investments less attractive, and would ultimately result in costs being passed on to tenants.
Following continued uncertainty over the timing of the proposed legislation, the government recently announced the ban on letting agents’ fees placed on tenants would not be implemented before spring 2019, at the earliest.
The National Approved Lettings Scheme (NALS) asked the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, when the ban would likely to come into effect. The department confirmed the legislation would not be implemented any earlier than 15 months from now.
NALS chief executive, Isobel Thomson, said they were pleased to see “more clarity on the timetable for implementation of the ban.”
“The government is currently carrying out pre-legislative scrutiny of the proposed Bill ahead of presenting the Bill to Parliament. While the Bill aims to create a fairer and safer private rental sector for all, NALS doesn’t believe this will deliver what the government aspires to and risks doing real damage to the private rental sector,” commented Thomson .
The delayed timeframe for the fee ban’s implementation will give sufficient time for pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Tenant Fees Bill, which paves the way for the actual ban.
NALS is urging the government to use the time to fully assess the impact of the bill.
“It is crucial that government looks again at the proposals and consider tenant fees in a broader, coherent framework of regulation for the PRS,” Isobel Thomson concluded.
Even though the fee will not come into force until at least spring 2019, landlords in England are being urged to continue planning for the letting fee and make sure they are ready for when the ban is finally employed.
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