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Sep 24, 2016: More pressure on Fees

The National Approved Letting Scheme has warned that the industry could be sleep-walking into a ban on letting agent fees. Isobel Thomson, chief executive of NALS, called for the industry to work together. Speaking after Citizens Advice repeated its calls for a ban, which is also being sought by Shelter, she said: “Efforts to explain to the media and Government the reasons why upfront letting agent fees are fair are hampered by sensationalist headlines based on often spurious research. “It is fair for letting agents to charge reasonable fees to tenants for the work they do at the start of a tenancy. “But we believe a cap is an appropriate way of curbing any excessive fees – which the majority of agents do not charge – and offering protection to the consumer. “It is time to act before an outright ban becomes a real option for the Government. “We need to speak with one voice. “By offering a cap calculated and enforced at a local level, we still allow agents to be paid for the work they do in setting up a tenancy, while also ensuring a fair, set rate for tenants. “We’re urging all industry bodies to come together to offer Government this proper solution to an all-out ban.” A private member’s Bill which is currently in the Lords, which has the full support of Labour, seeks to ban letting agent fees. Baroness Grender’s Renters Rights Bill is due its next reading shortly. It is understood that a proposal put forward by ARLA for tenants to be able to spread payment of fees over three months was rejected by Shelter.

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