Letting agents should have been regulated and the government’s blanket ban on tenancy fees in the Autumn Statement wasn’t the answer according to property analyst Kate Faulkner.
With one eye on Scotland, which banned letting fees in 2012, Faulkner reckoned rogue agents will carry on regardless unless the government takes proper action to enforce the rules.
Faulkner said: “The reason that tenants have suffered is because successive governments have refused constant calls for regulation.
“Now they’re penalising all the good agents that do as they told.
“We will have the same situation as in Scotland where the rogue agents are carrying on.
“The government should not be allowed to come up with new rules and regulations unless there is a serious plan that is funded properly to enforce them.”
She also echoed last week’s comments from estate agents that the ban could result in higher rents.
In November 2014 the House of Lords voted against making Client Money Protection mandatory for all letting agents.
Faulkner thinks slapping a ban on tenancy fees sets a dangerous precedent – that the government could take 20% from a business’s turnover without warning.
She damned Theresa May’s Cabinet for the move.
Faulkner added: “Unfortunately it appears this Cabinet has a weak understanding of how the housing market works.
“And bearing in mind the housing crisis was down to the failure of successive government policies for the last 30 years this does not bode well for the future.
“This is real nail in the coffin for the PRS.”
She said: “The government is saying to all businesses it is happy to take away 20% of turnover without a discussion or a plan.
“Every business whatever it does in the country should be extremely worried by what the government has done.”