Tenant Fees Bill

Written evidence submitted by Grant Nicholls, Director, Woodholls (TFB14)

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to you ahead of the Tenant Fees Bill Committee meeting on 5 June

As a local letting agent i thought it best to let you know my thoughts on this change.

Whilst i agree with the fact that most agents charge a ridiculous amount to tenants to carry out simple/basic tasks to get them moved, i also know that most tenants would be happy to pay a reasonable fee to the agent for the service they are being provided with. Most corporate agencies are the main culprit of these ridiculous charges and these are the agencies who can afford to lose part of their income, however i have set my tenant rates to a maximum charge of £125 per person and have received feedback that this is reasonable and people are happy to deal with us. In fact we have people waiting for us to find them the next home because of our fair rates.

If tenants are not paying something reasonable then the service they receive will decrease. I fear that tenants will be asked to provide completed references ahead of any viewing in order for the agent to establish that they can entertain an application with them. This will result in the lower end applicants receiving poor treatment and in some cases not being able to even view properties.

These applicants will be left with no option but to seek help from the local councils for accommodation putting a greater burden on our local housing issues.

Agents can currently work with landlords to get them to accept people with low referencing criteria based on our feelings on the applicants themselves (not all good tenants earn a fortune). This will disappear when the ban comes in to play.

A cap on fees is a much more sensible option in order to have fair treatment to both parties. Greedy agents need to be brought down a peg whilst tenant still need to be serviced fairly. I would propose a £100 flat tenant fee per person across the board. This may stop agents increasing landlord fees which will result in increased rents and affect the tenant far worse in the long run.

I feel the other parts in the bill relating to holding deposits etc seem fair and agents will be able to work with these changes.

I hope you find my comments informative and can bring this to your discussions.

May 2018

 

Prepared 4th June 2018