Aim of the Tenant Fee Ban was wrong, admits MP

It’s been a long time coming, but the countdown is now on for the Tenant Fee Ban bill to hit the PRS, but has the original aim of the legislation been lost in translation?

It does seem that landlords in the valleys are going to be facing the changes much sooner than their counterparts in England though, as the changes planned under the Renting Homes (Fees etc) (Wales) Bill, which was launched by the Welsh Assembly, is gathering pace much faster that it’s Westminster counterpart. And there’s no messing about in Wales.

The Welsh Bill states that landlords and letting agents will only be able to charge rent, a security deposit, and a holding deposit, or fees when a tenant breaches a contract, and is set to impose a cap on deposits. Breaches will carry a fixed penalty of £500, with the potential for unlimited fines and the possibility of the loss of their landlord licence.

In Wales, a licence is required by every landlord and letting agent under the Rent Smart Wales Scheme, which was introduced in 2015 in a bid to improve the image of the PRS in Wales. Failure to hold a RSW licence, and continuing to operate in the sector carries hefty fines.

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.

Mark Prisk, MP

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