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What is the tenant fee ban, and why is it a bad thing?

25 Apr 2017

You may have heard on the news, about the tenant fee ban. At face value, that sounds like a really good thing for tenants. What could possibly be bad about not paying fees?

As a regulated agency, we work for both our landlords and our tenants to ensure that tenancy contracts are fair to all parties. In order to do this, we need to charge a fee for the work we do, we have always charged both tenants and landlords for contracts and inventory checks, in order for an unbiased opinion to be expressed.

If a full ban on tenant fees takes place, not only will our agency obligations be only to the landlord, which will unbalance negotiations, but it is very likely (as this happened in Scotland when their tenant fees were banned) that rents will increase in order to cover the fees lost.  This means that, in the long run, tenants will pay a lot more, because rent payments are on-going and not one-off payments like the upfront fees currently taken.

The ban has come about because when tenant Vicky Spratt had a bad experience with a London agency, and, of course, tenants signed the petition for a ban on fees, but probably without realising what the consequences.  We agree that the industry should be subject to more regulation in order to protect tenants from rogue agents and landlords, but don’t think an outright ban is going to help anyone.

If you agree that an overall ban is not warranted, and would prefer for fees to be capped at a reasonable level for all agencies, please use this form to email your local MP as the ban is currently under consultation until June 2nd.  Thank you!