Queen's Speech 2017: Lettings fees to be banned - finally

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More than six months after first suggesting the idea, the government has finally announced plans to ban fees to lettings agents in England.

A new Tenants' Fees Bill was announced in the Queen's Speech, which will stop tenants having to pay money to agents.

The idea was first suggested by the Conservatives in the 2016 Autumn Statement.

The measure is likely to pass into law, as all the main parties had it in their election manifestos.

The average amount paid in fees is currently £223, according to government figures. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, previously said that 4.3m households pay such fees every year.

However, the housing charity Shelter found that one in seven renters pays more than £500, and tenants in London have complained about fees of up to £2,000.

The fees are for taking references, getting credit checks, or investigating immigration status.

Borrowing

When the bill becomes law, landlords will have to find the money to pay for such fees themselves.

Letting agents' fees are already banned in Scotland.

The new bill will also allow tenants to recover any fees that have been charged unlawfully.

In addition the government said it will make the process more transparent, as renters are currently charged varying amounts.

However, lettings agents in England and Wales are already required to publicise their rates.

Research by Citizens' Advice found that 42% of people paying letting agents' fees had to borrow money to pay them.

BBC

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