Last year, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced his intention to ban letting agents’ fees in England. With the ban expected to have a big impact on the industry, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched a consultation to gauge the views of the market. And unsurprisingly, it generated a huge response.
To make sure letting agents, landlords and tenants voices were heard and to help the DCLG gain a broader picture of the market, we ran our own survey to collate the views of our customers.
Any ban should also include landlords
We received 3,286 responses, and although there were expected divisions between agents, landlords and tenants, it was encouraging to see suggestions that people on all sides of the market could agree on.
Most of the people who took our survey agreed that any ban should apply to all agents and landlords equally, with data held on rogue landlords and agents shared across the industry to help improve standards.
It’s expected that rents will increase because of the ban, and tenants are willing to accept the rise, if fair. But according to the responses, 86% of tenants were strongly in favour of capping holding deposits.
Interestingly agents were fairly evenly split between yes (54%) and no (46%) when it came to charging for a premium service in certain sectors, such as relocations. Tenants on the other hand were comfortable with the charges, as long as they’re known up front and representative of the service given.
Also, most people felt that any measures that remove costs, or spread them over a longer a period of time, will help with the affordability of housing and increase mobility in the housing market.
Lifting the negative perception of letting agents
One point that came through clearly was that many tenants have a negative view of letting agents. Most tenants (86%) felt that a ban, with strong, effective enforcement will help remove some of their concerns and make them more likely to use a professional agent, a point echoed by 70% of agents and landlords who support the introduction of stronger enforcement measures.
Such a move would not only increase competition in the market, but also force those letting agents with lower standards out of the market – increasing the overall quality of industry service.
What’s next for the private rented sector?
Implementing the ban is still on the government’s to-do list, but the information published earlier this year shows their commitment to delivering a total ban on fees that will include landlords and tenants. There was also a proposed cap on holding deposits at one week’s rent, and tenancy deposits at four weeks rent.
Thank you for taking to the time to complete our survey. Your responses allowed us to present a detailed view of the market to the DCLG. We’ll make sure you to keep you updated as the story develops.