With the clock ticking until the crucial Commons vote later today on letting agents’ fees, campaigners have hit out at the fact that Shelter itself warned that a ban could lead to higher rents.
Shelter has vociferously lobbied against fees charged by agents to tenants.
But in a report last year, the organisation warned: “If letting agencies do not absorb the costs they currently charge to tenants, landlords may be justified in increasing rents to reflect their additional costs.”
The warning is on page 17 of Shelter’s “Letting Agencies: the price you pay”. See the link at the end of this story.
The Residential Landlords Association this morning repeated Shelter’s warning, saying that if letting agents are banned from charging fees, it will result in raised rents.
Labour is today due to propose an amendment to the Consumers Rights Bill calling for an end to fees. Neither the Tories nor the Lib Dems have given any indication as to how they would vote.
The RLA warned that if all the fees charged by an agent are loaded on to the landlord, they will have to pass these on to the tenant through the rent.
The RLA says most landlords would want to recoup these extra costs in the first six months of a tenancy, and that a ban would leave many tenants worse off than if they were simply paying a one-off fee.
RLA chairman Alan Ward said: “There is a very real danger that political posturing is getting in the way of sound, evidence based policy.
“The reality is that today’s amendment would, if implemented, only increase costs for tenants – the direct opposite to what Labour is calling for. Tenants would continue to pay the additional charges throughout the length of tenancy.
“The only way to reduce the cost of living for tenants is to boost the supply of homes to rent, and yet all Labour’s policies will have the opposite effect by discouraging landlords from investing.”