In a written reply to Labour MP Julie Elliott, Minister Barwell says the government “will consult in the Spring on the detail of implementation.”

We are “committed to building a strong and safe private rented sector, which provides security and stability for both tenants and landlords,” he says in his reply.

Julie Elliott Julie Elliott Labour, Sunderland Central asked in her question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to monitor (a) letting agent fees, (b) lease terms and (c) safety standards in rented properties.”

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Gavin Barwell is Comptroller (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons), Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London. In his reply he stated:

“The Government is committed to building a strong and safe private rented sector, which provides security and stability for both tenants and landlords.

“We announced at the 2016 Autumn Statement a ban on letting agent fees paid by tenants, to improve competition in the private rental market and give renters greater clarity and control over what they will pay.

“The Government will consult in the Spring on the detail of implementation.

“The Housing White Paper outlines the Government’s intention to promote fairness and transparency for the growing number of leaseholders.

“We will consult on a range of measures to tackle all unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold and consider further reforms through the consultation to improve consumer choice and fairness for leaseholders.

“An increasing number of private tenants are happy with their tenure and standards are improving. We are determined to ensure all sectors of the housing market provide decent homes.”

Currently, letting agents are free to charge whatever fees they like in a competitive market, and most charge fees to both landlords and tenants when they arrange a tenancy. However, following what some claim are extortionate tenant’s fees charged by some agents, fees which tenants have little choice but to pay in some locations if they what to secure a tenancy, the government has pledged to act.

Banning agents’ fees, and it has yet to be determined exactly what charges will be banned, will mean that all the agents costs (fees) will be charged to landlords. Many experts say that this will simply mean an increase in rents, but it could also mean that landlords and in some cases agents may have to absorb some of the costs within their businesses.

Landlords are in a far stronger position than tenants to negotiate fees levels, so a ban, in competitive markets, could well reduce the fees agents are able to charge.

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