Our Residential Manager, Paula Reading, shares her reaction to the Chancellor’s Autumn statement announcement that letting agent fees are set to be banned.
“Letting agent fees cover costs such as referencing tenants, background checking, tenant viewings, inventory taking, drawing up agreements, providing advice, storing information and other numerous small, but important processes. We’re aware that some letting agents charge over the odds for these services, and agree that there must be regulation to prevent this. However most agents, like us, see them as joint costs to be split between the landlord and tenant and keep them as low as possible to ensure renting a property is affordable for all parties.
“When the ban is enforced, these costs will still apply to letting agents. We predict that the industry will see either a rise in fees for landlords, a rise in rents for tenants or a combination of the two. There’s also concern that applicants may apply to multiple properties at once if they don’t have to contribute to the cost of checks. This means other potential tenants will have less choice as more properties are taken off the market whilst vetting is taking place.
“At Garness Jones, we’re established enough to have solid and stable systems, and we’ll be looking at ways to streamline processes in an effort to absorb the tenant’s costs rather than transfer them to our valued landlords. As technology advances, we have increasing access to tools that help us transform our operational performances – we’re hopeful that as we assess the impact of this announcement over the coming weeks, we can minimise the effect this will have for our clients. We’re sure some agents will see this as a huge blow, however we’re lucky that we’re robust and plan ahead for any changes in legislation that may affect us.”