Tenant Fees Bill

Written evidence submitted by Steve Ballam, Director, Martin&Co Poole (TFB17)

Dear committee

Whilst in favour of reigning in tenant fees to create a level playing field where agents charge very high tenant fees in order to offer landlords a cheaper deal I believe a total ban will actually be detrimental to tenants.

Aside from the loss of jobs in the lettings industry and the supply chain the main result will be a rise in rents which will cost tenants far more in the long term.

Landlords are already quitting the sector due to government legislation and changes to taxation etc which will result in fewer rental properties and consequently higher rents. Adding to their costs due to the fee ban will only add to this. Landlords exiting the market is real and something we are seeing more regularly.

There should be a cap on tenant fees of say £200 which is not unreasonable for the amount of work we have to do on their behalf where we are accountable for legal, safety and financial issues. With no financial commitment, tenants will make multiple applications for properties which will cause problems for other tenants. What will happen to tenants whose situation changes drastically and they need to get out of their tenancy agreement early? Currently we charge them the landlords costs and a small amount for the work involved but help them out of a sticky situation. Why would we want to spend considerable time and resources on this in the future?

A cap on fees, mandatory CMP insurance and any other sensible legislation/licencing of agents is the way forward to ensure a decent level of professional service. A balanced view is needed and not just the screaming from Shelter whose staff are more interested in justifying their own large salaries than the welfare of tenants.

Kind regards

Steve Ballam


May 2018


Prepared 4th June 2018