The second reading of the Tenant Fees Bill occurred on Monday evening in Parliament. This latest stage of the new legislation has been passed without the need for a vote from MPs.
Despite a three-hour debate, with 123 of the MPs being landlords themselves, there have only been little to no arguments with the proposal. The arguments that did arise were focused on the unfairness of all letting agents being pigeonholed, despite whether they have previously acted dishonestly or not.
Labour MP Andrew Lewer has commented:“There are hard-working people in this sector and we shouldn’t punish the unscrupulous at the expense of the far more numerous hard-working ones.”
This ban is going to cost letting agents up to an estimated 24% of their income, and it is speculated that as a result, many landlords may feel inclined to leave the industry or increase rents to counteract these costs.
The following quote from Isobel Thomson, chief executive officer of the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), has been posted on its website: “It is important that MPs fully understand the implication of the fee ban for their constituents who rely on the Private Rented Sector (PRS) and who will be affected by the ban.
“There will be inevitable increases in rent for tenants and increased costs for landlords, but there will also be a huge impact on agents operating small businesses in their local areas.
“We are urging MPs to use this time to fully assess the impact of the Bill.
“It is crucial that Government looks again at the proposals and consider tenant fees in a broader, coherent framework of regulation planned for the PRS.”
A background report on the Bill has been made available by the House of Commons, explaining the Bill’s provisions and summarises reactions from tenants, landlords and letting agents.