Response to government's announcement on letting agent fees
Responding to the publication of the government’s draft bill on letting fees, Cllr Sem Moema, Hackney Council's Mayoral Advisor for Private Renting and Housing Affordability, said:
We welcome today’s step forward in finally implementing a letting fee ban, following years of pressure from councils like Hackney.
Through our #BetterRenting campaign we launched our own voluntary ban earlier this year, with an overwhelmingly positive response from responsible letting agents, landlords, and the renters who are too often forced to pay extortionate and unwarranted charges.
While this legislation does address some issues, the proposals still don’t go far enough in creating a simple, transparent and fair system for renters - requiring them to go through a convoluted County Court process to reclaim unlawful fees, rather than placing legal obligations on letting agents to repay the fee or face a fine.
And Hackney’s 30,000 private renters will rightly question whether capping deposits at six weeks’ rent – upwards of £2,500 for a two bedroom property in the borough – will really create the “housing market that works for everyone” which the Communities Secretary describes.
The Government must now take on board views from parliament and ensure the letting fee ban is implemented as quickly as possible without further watering down. Renters have already waited long enough.
The draft Tenant Fees Bill was introduced to Parliament today (1 November 2017), setting out the government’s approach to banning letting fees for tenants. Hackney Council has campaigned for the ban as part of the #BetterRenting campaign, including implementing its own voluntary scheme to scrap letting agent fees for tenants.