‘Put words into action’ - government urged to act now on letting fees ban
The government has been urged by Hackney Council to act now to end letting fees for private renters after failing to provide a clear timescale to introduce its own measure.
The government first announced last year that letting fees, such as charges for signing new tenancy agreements, would be banned in England. The measure was then included in the Draft Tenants’ Fees Bill in June’s Queen’s speech, but without a clear legislative timetable for its implementation.
The letter to Housing Minister Alok Sharma MP from the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, and Mayoral Advisor for Affordability and Private Renting and Affordability, Cllr Sem Moema, requests full details on when the ban will come in and assurances that the proposal will not be watered down.
This comes after Hackney Council last week became the first council in England to introduce a voluntary scheme encouraging letting agents to scrap letting fees as part of its Better Renting campaign - a new commitment to creating a fairer system for Hackney’s 32,000 privately renting households.
Research shows that renters pay an average of £400 in letting fees per tenancy, with many paying upwards of £500. With a two-bedroom home in Hackney now costing on average £1,820 per month – over £300 more than it did in 2011 – these fees are contributing to private rents becoming increasingly unaffordable even for people on middle incomes.
We have long campaigned for letting fees to be banned and deposits to be capped so that renters in Hackney and across the country can stop paying rip-off charges for basic tasks such as administration, credit and immigration checks. Having previously promised to sort this out the government is now dragging its feet, leaving 32,000 private renters in Hackney and millions more across the country still paying these unreasonable sums.
We’re now the first council in England to offer our own voluntary ban so that renters here will not have to wait yet longer to benefit. We strongly urge the government to follow our lead and tell us when the full letting fees ban will be put into place without any further delay.