ARLA has written an open letter to the Government urging it to reconsider its proposal to ban letting agent fees in England. The letter reinforces the work of the broad range of agents who have shared their views, met with MP’s and submitted a response to the Government Consultation. The letter has been sent to national and trade press and is co-signed by David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark alongside ARLA’s largest corporate members. The impact of this policy, should it go ahead, is of such concern that we are publishing the letter here. It says:-
“Dear Editor, As the UK’s largest lettings industry professional body, we work hard to protect tenants in the private rented sector. We feel it is important to highlight the potential unintended consequences to tenants of the Government’s proposed ban on letting fees. We have also long called for sensible regulation of the sector and believe that the Government now has the ideal opportunity for a long overdue review.
Our objective is to raise and maintain high professional standards in the lettings industry. We recently commissioned independent economic analysis to assess the impact of the letting fees ban. It found that the ban will have an inadvertent negative impact with tenants potentially having to pay up to an additional £103 a year in rent as landlords seek to mitigate their increased costs.
Further, we believe it is wrong that the Government intends to ban charging for reference checks which help tenants to verify their identity, their financial viability and income as well as their suitability as good tenants. We believe these should be excluded from the ban to ensure that these services can still be provided.
Without this, the Government risks creating a two-tier system where tenants who are harder to reference will be given lower priority – and these tenants are often the ones with lower incomes, or a poorer employment or renting history. It is vital that new measures protect all tenants.
We urge the Government to reconsider its current proposals to include referencing costs as part of the ban to protect the more financially vulnerable tenants in society, and to use the time for a more comprehensive review of regulation in the private rented sector.
David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark
Ian Maclean, Director, Belvoir Lettings
Lucy Morton, Head of Agency, Jones Lang LaSalle
Richard Davies, Head of Lettings, Chestertons
Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark
Ian Wilson, CEO, Property Franchise Group
Stephen Nation, Group Lettings MD, Connells Group
Peter Kavanagh, MD, Property Services Holdings
Sam Tyrer, MD, Countrywide
Jane Cronwright-Brown, Head of Lettings, Savills
Jeff Doble, CEO, Dexters
Paul Sloan, Operations Director, Spicerhaart”