Tenant Fees Bill

Written evidence submitted by Deanna Musgrave, BEP Relocation (TFB11)

Good morning - I have a small independent property management/letting only business and am seriously disturbed at the total concentration on tenants and their, and only their, interests within the industry. Also most of the decisions are being based on the practices of the large national companies, but more importantly how London companies charge which can be totally out of all reason. Most of the independent agents in the rest of the country have sensible charging for work done.

I have spoken to my landlords (20) and none of them will be prepared to pay more fees just to absolve their tenant of paying anything at all to move into their property.

They will just switch to the internet companies promoting cheap marketing, documentation etc. but this will not protect tenants during their tenancy.

It will put a great number of small companies out of business - lay off large numbers of staff - and will set the standards of on-going tenancy management backwards.

There should be a cap on the tenant's fees which will take care of the sharks in the business and leave the genuine, smaller businesses still trading.

Why shouldn't a tenant expect to pay something towards a place to live - private homepurchasers are charged a fortune and expected to go into years of debt to get a roof over their heads - the comparisons do not bear scrutiny.

ALSO the government now expects us to play a part in checking the eligibility to rent of tenants applying - who is going to pay for this????? Who is going to cover credit checks - working with the tenants on checking them in to protect their interests re. meter readings and all the other small but important factors which are now in place to protect the tenant's deposit. It is the TENANT who needs the deposit securing - it is their money. It is the TENANT who benefits from being walked round the property and the working of equipment explained etc.etc. which reputable agents just do automatically, but now have been made compulsory. All the latest procedures demanded of agents by the government to prove legal right to rent is for the Government benefit. Who is supposed to cover this?

I could go on endlessly with the small jobs that agents do during a tenancy which they get no money for and which directly benefit a tenant specifically - but the main financial points have been made and if the Government is happy for numerous independent agents spread around the UK (not just London) to wind up, job losses result and general standards in care for the whole industry to revert backwards then go ahead.

You can not blithly say landlords can pick up the tab because they will not - they will just drop out of view and do their own lettings which will lead to more tenants being vulnerable. There are more reputable tenants in work and showing willing who are happy to pay a fee to secure the property they want - they appreciate everything has a cost - and there are already sufficient income support functions in place to assist others.

Another main point - the assumption seems to be that landlords are the root cause of the rental market problem and they can pay for everything - every publication, TV programme etc. concentrates on this aspect - but it has to be acknowledged there a considerable number of dreadful tenants who wreck a perfectly good property - live in packed conditions due to their own choice and cause considerable wear and tear for landlords which no amount of deposit ever really covers; just stop paying rent whilst running large cars; watching huge TV's. I have seen both side of the property rental business for over 20 years.

Try some balanced thinking and do not assume all landlords are rolling in money - the Government is concentrating on the pension fund properties and block management companies and penalising the rest of perfectly reputable, honourable landlords - without which there will be a greater lack of rental properties out there.

I would also make the point that I cannot believe that this Government has wholeheartedly taken on board only listening to organisations like the CAB and Shelter to form their basic thinking - meeting with them before the major organisations in place working to protect the industry as a whole, and without any fairness or equitability being taken into account.

Finally - this idea of somehow forcing longer tenancies on landlords - try talking to the tenants - you can hardly persuade a tenant to take up more than 6 months at a time - tenants do not want long term they want to 'duck and dive' to totally suit their own requirements and uncertainty which, particularly at the moment, runs through all financial decisions for all of us.

May 2018


Prepared 4th June 2018