Tenant Fees Bill

Written evidence submitted by Steve Harris, Managing Director at Abode (TFB03)

Dear Committee, I own probably the biggest independent agency in the South West of England (950 professionally managed houses/flats, 650 student houses and apartments) and have read and scrutinized the various conversations and discussions with interest. As an agency we have always been very open about our charges and tried to keep them very simple both for us and our customers.

I do not agree with a lot of what the government is proposing as this is a growth sector that needs proper analysis and proper regulation. The ad hoc changes and bans which are proposed I believe will lead to many small/medium sized letting agencies either going bust or ignoring the rules, this potentially could lead to more chaos in this ever changing market place.

If the ban is to go ahead regarding fees there are still some glaring issues which occur post a TENANCY being signed. Once a tenancy is signed what if;

1. Tenants want to swap people, incurring completely new references, right to rent, prescribed information, guarantees (possibly) and AST agreement. Tenants can’t break a tenancy as it’s a legal binding document, but there will need to be a way to do this, otherwise tenants will be adversely affected

2. Tenants paying rent late, potentially incurring huge costs to the agency chasing rent, via calling, e-mailing, letters

3. Tenants locking themselves out, this can happen regularly

4. Tenants contravening their obligations generally within the tenancy which can incur large costs for the agency, this may only occur in 5%-10% of tenancies at the moment, if there is NO financial cost to contravene tenancy obligations then this % of tenants could vastly increase.

I hope the above helps and if I can assist further please do contact me.

May 2018


Prepared 4th June 2018