Queens Speech confirms letting fees ban

Ryan Bembridge

June 21, 2017

The Queen’s Speech confirmed the letting fees ban that was first introduced in the 2016 Autumn Statement today.

In the House of Commons the Queen said: “Proposals will be brought forward to ban unfair tenant fees, promote fairness and transparency in the housing market, and help ensure more homes are built.”

A Draft Tenants’ Fees Bill will ban landlords and letting agents from charging fees.

It will also cap security deposits at a maximum of one month’s rent and holding deposits at a maximum of one week’s rent.

The lettings fee ban has cross-party support based on major parties’ latest manifestos, though not everyone is a fan.

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, found the announcement “disappointing”.

He said: “It’s unlikely the government had enough time to analyse all of the responses from the consultation.

“It appears they had already made their decision and therefore the consultation was no more than a ‘tick box’ exercise and they haven’t appropriately taken the industry’s views into account.

“A ban on letting agent fees will cost the sector jobs, make buy-to-let investment even less attractive, and ultimately result in the costs being passed on to tenants.”

Also introduced was the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, which will transfer the regulation of claim management companies to the Financial Conduct Authority.

The FCA will have the power to cap the fees that claims management companies charge consumers and bring in a robust authorisation process for new such companies.

Meanwhile the speech pledged to accelerate the building of HS2’s connection to Crewe.

Russell Quirk, founder and chief executive of eMoov, was cynical about the speech but praised some of the announcements.

He said: “So we reach another political juncture, punctuated by excessive Autumn Statements, Budget announcements and Queen’s Speeches.

“The government yet again are setting out to revitalise their approach to housing only for us to look back come the next occasion and realise that the previous hype and hot air has evaporated with no tangible action whatsoever.

“Where housing is concerned at least, these events have become little else than soothing platitudes for the masses, akin to a Marie Antoinette type approach.

“But the cake never comes. Promises to address unfair tenant fees and promote fairness, transparency and prosperity in the housing market while building more homes, are worthy intentions indeed but ones that are all too familiar yet remain unresolved.

“The announcement on the HS2 railway is a significant one where the UK property market is concerned.

“Although it will negatively impact house prices in the path of the route itself, the areas due to benefit as destinations will see positive growth as it opens up accessibility to more of the country in terms of commuting to major cities from more affordable areas.”

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