It could soon be good news for renters, as the government has today announced plans to ban lettings agents from charging massive fees to tenants. That's right: The average £223 they screw out of you whenever you move house could soon become a thing of the past,
The BBC quotes Chancellor Phillip Hammond, who reckons that 4.3 million people could save hundreds of pounds. And to GizUK's ears, it sounds like it could be a good first step before we simply switch to a much simpler system of hanging letting agents.
The thinking is that rather than burden tenants with the fees, the burden could instead be pushed on to landlords, who would then be incentivised to shop around for an agent who doesn't charge extortionate fees - and this in turn would stimulate more competition amongst agents, thus reducing prices. And don't worry - according to the Guardian, there is no evidence that banning fees will instead just increase rents.
Though the plans wouldn't eliminate all fees, as when you move into a property you could still be charged for other administrative tasks, such as reference, credit and immigration checks.
It would also only apply to England and Wales - lucky for Scottish renters, fees have already been banned there.
The issue has been one that housing campaigners, such a the charity Shelter, have been campaigning on for a while, and even better still, the announcement has (predictably) upset Lettings Agents, with David Cox, the managing director of the Association of Residential Lettings Associations calling the move "draconian".
So good news all round, it seems. But don't get comfortable just yet: Though this proposed legislation is unrelated to it, it has been deliberately announced on the day of the Autumn Statement - suggesting that the government want to distract from whatever is in that. [BBC]