‘Scrap letting fees now’, says Hackney Council as pioneering new scheme launches
A pioneering new scheme has launched today as Hackney Council aims to become the first borough in England to scrap letting fees for private renters, ahead of a formal ban by government.
The scheme will see Hackney Council call on letting agents in the borough to volunteer to stop unfair charges for private renters for services such as processing, amending or renewing a tenancy agreement, which can often run into hundreds of pounds. It forms part of Hackney Council’s new Better Renting campaign which promotes a fairer private renting system for Hackney’s 32,000 private renting households.
The announcement comes in light of Government proposals to ban letting agent fees in England – but without setting out when or how this will come into force. By introducing its own scheme, Hackney is looking to ensure local renters can start to benefit straight away.
And the scheme already has its first member, with independent Stoke Newington letting agents Julian Reid Estate Agents – who already avoid charging lettings fees to renters – backing the campaign.
“We have long called on the Government to take action to stop this extortionate financial burden placed on private renters. But, in the absence of any real change on the ground, we’re taking matters into our own hands and are working directly with local letting agents to create a fairer and more transparent private renting system in Hackney, starting now.
“We’re encourage all lettings agents in Hackney to sign up scrap the fees. Not only will this help local businesses get ahead of the competition in advance of any full ban by Government – we want to demonstrate that Hackney is a progressive, forward-thinking borough that is committed to creating a fairer and more transparent system for its private renters.”
We believe our fee is paid by the landlord – we don’t need to charge fees to tenants for administration. We’ve always taken the view that letting in London is an expensive business and we know some letting agents charge huge fees which put a burden on the tenants.
We want to be open and transparent about what a tenant will pay at the start of the tenancy and we don’t think the fact that we don't charge fees puts us at a disadvantage against our competitors.