Tenant Fees Act step in the right direction

The Tenant Fees Act, which has banned letting agency fees, is a step in the right direction and hopefully will show the sector can provide a good service for a reasonable fee, Tom Woollard, co-founder and chief executive of property app Bunk, has argued.

Bunk allows landlords and tenants to rent without a letting agent. Government data shows there are some 860,000 rental transactions a year across the UK.

And data from the latest English Housing Survey, as cited in the Tenant Fee Act 2019 itself, shows that the average tenant is being charged £223 in fees alone. Woollard said that’s a £191.78m a year in fees and the primary reason for the introduction of the Tenant Fee Act.

He said: “For far too long letting agents have essentially been writing their own rules when it comes to the fees they charge tenants for all manner of things, and as a result, it has left a very sour taste in the mouths of many in the rental sector.

“The ban on tenant fees is undoubtedly a step in the right direction as we now have a clear piece of legislation that letting agents, landlords and tenants can all adhere to with a good level of accountability when this isn’t the case.

“Until this point, the majority of letting agents have essentially been taking extra money above and beyond any justified fees for no additional work and so the thought that they might try and recoup this ‘lost’ revenue through rental hikes or any other means is quite laughable.

“Only time will tell if this does happen and there will no doubt be a knee-jerk reaction of some sort by the industry.

“Hopefully, it will act as a catalyst for the sector to stand up and show it can provide a good service for a reasonable fee, and that letting agents still hold some value in a world where technology and innovation will undoubtedly render them obsolete.”

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