Tenant Fees Bill

Written evidence submitted Sarah Hope, Saxon Kings (TFB33)

Dear Sir/Madam,

As a small independent business owner with 2 full time staff and 1 part time member of staff, I felt compelled to write. I have written to my MP already and not received a response.

I would humbly ask you consider the consequences of banning all fees. An average tenancy (even with administrative tasks being automated where possible) does come with numerous calls/meetings/queries from Tenants. If they do not pay anything for the service we provide, we are unable to offer them a comprehensive service. We deal with a variety of tenants. Some need assistance if English is not their first language, students from abroad, tenants who receive housing benefits and of course full time working professionals.

Having rented myself for many years, I understand the sentiment behind the change to regulate and cap the fees charged to Tenants which some agency’s make huge profits on.

If a total ban on all fees comes into force, as a business we will not be able to assist with common tenant requests such as;

documents for new home office marriage applications

housing benefit claim forms

providing a key holding service should tenants get locked out and require a spare to gain access

offering advice should tenants financial situations change (tenancy release requests)

offering advice to tenants and guarantors regarding any deposit disputes at the end of tenancy

requests from guarantors of students or lower income tenants for advice

requests from current tenants who require references for their new landlords

All of this takes employing a member of staff to do these administrative tasks, which if we make no charges we cannot offer. These are surely the most vulnerable people within the housing sector and the ones the legislative measures are seeking to help in the first place. I would urge you to consider that as the landlord is our client we will have no resources as Independent letting agents to help tenants with the genuine concerns they may have. We have had no complaints from our tenants and many actually refer us to their friends as we are "not your typical estate agent".

A cap on additional administrative requests (similar to paying for an accountant or solicitor by the hour) would ensure Tenants had a choice whether or not to use us surely?

My final comment refers to the holding fee / preliminary payment. If tenants do not pay this then the landlords will simply cherry pick and again the more time intensive and vulnerable tenants will be overlooked in favour of say a working professional who can pay all funds immediately from savings and sign instantly.

Many tenants prefer to pay a holding fee / preliminary payment then pay the balance of the monies the following month. This is directly due to them living very much on a month to month basis.

I do not expect a response as I have not received one from my own MP, however thank you for taking the time to read my email.

May 2018

 

Prepared 4th June 2018