Tenant fees ban in Wales will hit the most vulnerable
Banning letting agents from charging tenants fees in Wales will only make life tougher for the most vulnerable tenants, the Residential Landlords Association has warned.
Those breaching the new rules could face a £500 fixed penalty, unlimited fines and the loss of their landlord licence under plans revealed as part of the ‘Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill’.
Similar proposals, banning agents from charging fees and capping security deposits at six weeks rent in England are currently passing through Parliament
Welsh Housing Minister Rebecca Evans said most tenants should only be asked to pay a month’s rent and a security deposit, with the bill including provisions to limit deposits charged.
She said: “Fees charged by letting agents often present a significant barrier to many tenants, especially those on lower incomes.”
However, the RLA warned it is these tenants that will be the most likely to suffer as a result of a ban – with landlords less likely to take on tenants who are more of a risk. Tenants with pets could also suffer as a result.
The RLA said the move will simply place further pressure on landlords to increase rents to cover the costs set by letting agents.
Douglas Haig, RLA Director for Wales said: “Ultimately it will increase the pressure on the most vulnerable in Wales as they will no longer get the assistance from agents to obtain a tenancy.
“It will also shift costs onto long term tenants who have enjoyed incredibly low rent rises way below inflation for many years.
“We had hoped that the Welsh Government would look to work with the sector to create a solution that allowed it to continue to provide the improvements in service and quality that we have seen over the last decade instead of jumping on a Westminster Government policy.”