The Lettings Industry is the ‘whipping boy’ of the government. Before you look around there is another new fangled regulation, or change of legislation, to burden this already besieged industry. Long gone are the days of the Rachman era where scurrilous landlords and their sycophantic agents abused the tenants, now it could even be the other way around.
You would have thought that the pared down Queen’s speech would have needed higher priorities than to include the new regulation prohibiting agents from charging tenants fees, but there it is. Trivia rules KO!
All this means that rents will rise to account for the loss of fees and therefore, the tenants will not receive any benefit as a result.
I’m told that this could mean a loss in revenue of about £1million to certain quoted estate agents which, admittedly, no one is going to cry about but it really think it is the ‘straw that breaks the camels back’. Let me explain.
The Revenue, for instance, have become very smart, they enforce the agent to collect the taxes from the rent received by the landlords, free of charge and if there is a short fall, the agent on ‘on the hook’ so, for no gain there could be plenty of pain – what a fabulous one sided arrangement. As if this is not enough, the Government have imposed over the years a pot pouri of regulations in order to increase the complexity of the business such as: gas certificates, money laundering requirements, immigration checks (an informal Border Force), fire checks, Legionella assessments, electrical installation certificates, Health & Safety measures, tenants references, financial checks and, as if this isn’t enough, data protection and KYC (Know Your Client).
Clearly, there has not been enough consultation on this latest provision and if there were, the outcome would be, in all probability, some sort of pastiche fudge, but at least it would be preferable to this mindless proposal, which is mindless.
Maybe some sort of cap on the fees charged, would protect some of the consumers at the lower end of the scale but a ban is far too draconian and is typical of the heavy, ‘clanking’, hand of Government interfering in markets where the medicine is ‘worse than the ailment’.