Tenant Fees Bill

Written evidence submitted by Luke Gidney, Managing Director, Let Leeds (TFB24)

Dear Sir/Madam,

I felt it was important to write in regards to the tenant fee ban, as I understand there will be a public consultation very soon.

My main concern surrounding the impending fee ban is that as a Letting Agency, running for 10 yes, and employing 17 full time members of staff, a 15% reduction in turnover due the fee ban will mean a reduction of 3 full time jobs. Our wages make up almost 60% of our costs and a 15% reduction in revenues will impact my team, meaning that I will have to let 3 of my employees go.

I understand that in London and the South East, many corporate agents have been taking advantage by charging astronomical fees to tenants, but in Yorkshire this is not such a problem. Let Leeds charge £120 per student tenant or £330 per property and this is very similar to other agents throughout Leeds and Yorkshire. It is a competitive environment and Agents do work hard to provide a good service to our tenant. I feel that removing the tenant fee in totality will lead to redundancies and a reduction in service levels for tenants across the board.

One idea I do have is that fees should be capped at '1 weeks rent' - this enables regional differences but also keeps fees fair. On average it takes Let Leeds 8 administrative hours to take a Tenant through the process from application to move in, and a fee capped at '1 weeks rent' would enable a fair fee system for all parties. It would also allow Agents to keep their staff and continue providing excellent service. I also recommend that the government considers in more detail 'zero deposit schemes' where the property is 'insured' rather than a physical deposit. This would make the initial capital outlay much more feasible for tenants and free up a lot of cash that sits in custodial deposit schemes. Surely this would have a positive effect economically.

I support longer tenancies, however we generally do not have tenants wanting to take a tenancy longer than 12 months. It seems young professionals prefer the flexibility of shorter Tenancies. However, I do feel families should be able to request a 3 year tenancy, as long as Landlords are given the opportunity of terminating the length of the Tenancy based on a breach of tenancy or more than 2 months rental arrears.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Many Thanks,
Luke

May 2018

 

Prepared 4th June 2018