All Quiet Ahead of the General Election
With just a few days to go, the General Election has put a halt to many decisions being made by businesses and a stop to any pending legislation. Observers , politically minded and otherwise, believe they know the outcome of the Election, however, 2016 taught us not to take anything for granted. Just after the General Election was called, one of our Guild Members and I attended a meeting with Policy Leader- Letting Agents within the Better Rented and Leasehold Sector at DCLG. Whilst no questions could be answered, we were given the time to put across opinions and information sourced from our Guild Members, as well as providing a more in-depth overview of the fees charged by letting agents to tenants. Our statistics differed greatly to those published in the Consultation Document - the average fee being charged of £200.00 per applicant and joint applicants charged £300.00 (inclusive of VAT). Our statistics were drawn from a comparison made of 50 agents chosen at random in towns and cities across England. Our sample totals 5,500 letting agents. The other key points discussed were:- 1. The ban would be a total fee ban, not a ban of upfront fees 2. Tenants may be charged as a result of actions incurred by them 3. Holding "fees" may be charged. Although it is unclear what the Government would want to see in terms of "contractual obligations & terms" re this fee 4. There was no reference to "Surrender" in the Consultation Document and how this would be managed moving forward - very common when tenants wish to "terminate" mid-tenancy. It is important to note that often this is instigated by the tenant and a release is often the preferred option. We were advised that whilst the General Election takes place, everything is at a standstill however, the Consultation would still take place as planned. Any outcomes and deadlines very much depend on the outcome of the Election and the new Housing Minister.