MP charged with scrutinising tenant fee ban admits the original aim was wrong

A member of the select committee assessing the Tenant Fees Bill has admitted the original aim of the legislation was wrong.

Speaking at The Property Ombudsman’s national conference, Tory MP Mark Prisk – a former housing minister – said there was a recognition now that banning tenant fees could mean rents go up.

Prisk, who has been helping scrutinise legislation on banning fees with the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, said: “The Bill’s original presumption was wrong.

“It said it would make renting more affordable, as you know and as we found. The reality is if legitimate costs cannot be charged to tenants, then agents will inevitably look to the landlord, so some of those costs will fall in the form of rent.

“However, the ban and the Bill do have some benefits. It reduces the upfront costs of renting a home and means it will be spread more evenly and will help clarify for whom letting agents work.”

Prisk told delegates that regulations can only have a limited impact and said a cultural change was also needed such as through introducing qualifications and professional standards for estate and letting agents.

He also addressed the issue of leasehold reform, stating that proposals to outlaw ground rents on new-builds would be outlined in the next few days.


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  1. ArthurHouse02

    Developers must know leasehold reform is coming. Taylor Wimpey have taken the lead in looking at change leases which have doubling ground rents in them.

    And he is right on one point, regulations can only have a limited impact as very seldom are they enforced.

  2. beleagueredlandlord58

    That’s ok then? Forgive them, for they know not what they do.
    Too many housing ministers no long-term foresight, no real strategy, no credibility.
    Agents and landlords are expected to subsidise home owners on large salaries (earning more than we do) who choose to take up a tenancy on a second home.

    A small short term helping hand for the minority needing it, to the long-term detriment of all others.

    Less tax going to the government on paid fees. Unlikely to be a vote winner. Loss of jobs to both full-and part time agency staff.
    More red tape where not needed. Over regulation of the sector. Meanwhile many other businesses continue to charge additional fees for their services, many not always apparent.
    Not achieving what was supposedly intended.

    Agencies won’t offer any sub-6 month tenancies where tenants request a short let: at an average 15 hours work per tenancy we will be working unpaid between lets.
    Tenant fees should have been capped to one week of rent with no renewal contract fees.
    Ban could’ve been introduced in London first- see how it works before deciding to roll it out nationwide.

    1. CountryLass

      Apart from the fee ban in London first, I agree. A ban was always a bad idea, a fee cap was MUCH better!

  3. Gloslet

    Whether leasehold charges or tenant fees current politics is not driven by rights or wrongs, it are driven by the number of voters that it might appeal to or at least to stop voters defecting to another party who claims that the grass is greener on their side.

    To claim that politicians weren’t aware that rents will rise in response to (even partial) increased costs to landlords is naive to the point of ineptitude.

    All parties need to realise that the less attractive being a landlord becomes the fewer landlords and therefore properties will be available to rent. Even if tenant demand remains the same, the lower the supply of available property the higher the cost of it will be. That’s page 1 economics.

  4. just saying

    In most professions when people get things wrong, they fix them. No hope of this with politicians. The ex-housing minister is now saying what we have all been saying for years, still nothing will change. We now have a government and opposition totally committed to increasing rents. Well done!


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