Tenant Fees Bill

Written evidence submitted by Lucinda Watts, Sulgrave Estates Limited (TFB35)

Dear Sirs

Please will you reconsider the proposed tenant fees ban which has not been thought through properly and, worryingly, advice from industry experts has been so far ignored by the Government completely (why?).

The problem is that agents can charge what they like. Whilst the majority charge fair and reasonable fees for the work required (now significantly increased by all the regulation that the Government keeps piling on) there are a minority of agents who charge fees that are too high.

Please do not tar us all with the same brush, or penalise the majority for the actions of the minority.

The solution is to have an UPPER LIMIT on the amount agents can charge. For example, say £200 per tenant. A total ban will cause a host of problems namely:-

• Agents will pass as many of their fees as they can onto landlords

• Landlords are likely to pass on their increased costs to tenants in the form of higher rents

• Tenants who move more frequently will receive savings on overall costs but longer term tenants, who are likely to be lower income families, will see a loss

• As a result, the proposed ban contradicts the Government’s stated aim to encourage longer term tenancies.

• The Government insists on right to rent checks which take time – are agents now expected to do this for free?

• Who will pay the tenant referencing agencies who carry out referencing for the tenants? I suspect these firms will go out of business with thousands of job losses. This is the most important issue.

• With no accountability on the part of the tenant their commitment is less. This will lead to tenants pulling out at the last minute and/or landlords or agents accepting multiple offers to ensure at least one goes ahead. In other words, chaos.

Like many things, what sounds a good idea initially is actually not a good idea when you look at the wider implications and unintended consequences. Something this Government has failed to do.

I do hope the Government will look at this again from all angles, and not just one, before it is too late.

May 2018


Prepared 4th June 2018