Queens Speech 2017: Lettings Fees to Be Banned

Today’s Queens Speech has announced what we all knew was coming and it’s no surprise. It’s a good headline grabbing announcement that will feed the media’s occasional crusade against the private landlord but of course it’s little more than and a headline and will have little change to the letting market and merely mean that letting agents will have to become not just more realistic but less greedy and to work smarter.

For reference and out of interest I commented on this last on the 28th November 2016 and the Bastion Estates Comment from then is below.

BASTION ESTATES COMMENT (from Nov 2016): This is my twentieth year in property and ten of those were in estate agency at branch level to operations director level so my knowledge of the lettings market is relatively well informed though I admit it has never been my area of specialism. However, the fees some letting agents charge tenants for a large variety of services is close to disgraceful. Yes any business has to quantify a member of staffs time in dealing with the paperwork and referencing but the true actual cost beyond the man hours is very minimal. It is a highly profitable section of the property market and one many have taken advantage of. I am still amazed as I always have been by the ludicrous charges and the ‘any excuse to charge more’ type attitude. There had to be point where someone took action and here it is! How it will actually happen and when and what effect it will have on some letting agents we will have to wait and see, but if it removes some letting agents from the market and makes the other letting agents more competitive and realistic, I welcome the changes.

TODAY’S BASTION RESPONSE: I’m not sure my opinion has changed much in all fairness. Things will change and many costs will have to be passed onto the landlord but ultimately this in most cases will merely show in an increase in rent. If this is the case has the government actually done anything truly positive apart from spin a headline? Probably not! The tenant will end up paying but in a different way.

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