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Posted on November 29th 2016 by admin-movingin

Fair Fees Working Group to follow ‘will of Government’ over lettings charges

Original Author: Marc Shoffman

The Fair Fees Working Group has vowed to provide data and evidence of the implications of the shock lettings fee ban announced by the Chancellor last week, with some members saying they will provide arguments against the move.

The newly formed group, set up by the National Approved Lettings Scheme Fair Fees Forum initiative, held its first meeting last Friday just two days after the lettings fees ban was announced.

It is already planning to present its response directly to housing minister Gavin Barwell.

Attendees at the Working Group include Belvoir, Chestertons, Northwood, Spicerhaart, Touchstone, Winkworth, British Property Federation, Shelter, Residential Landlords Association, Greater London Authority, Ombudsman Services: Property and the Property Redress Scheme. Representatives from the Department for Communities and Local Government also attended.

ARLA was invited but was unable to attend.

The Group agreed to make work the “political will of Government” and to respond to the consultation on the changes in the New Year.

Some unnamed members of the Group also reserved the right to make counter proposals to an outright ban.

The Group said in a statement that it would provide information on

  • Definitions of what fees are, and what charges are;
  • Reviewing the experience of a fee ban in Scotland, identifying where the process of bringing in a ban could be improved in England;
  • Implications of the ban and how it will be enforced.

The members of the Working Group will request a meeting with housing minister Gavin Barwell to present the evidence once collated and explain the implications of any ban.

The statement said: “Following the Government’s announcement in the Autumn Statement that they intend to ban letting agent fees, the Working Group discussed the impact of the announcement, their surprise at the decision and the potential impact it would have on tenants, landlords and letting agents.

“In what was a very open and productive discussion, members of the Working Group agreed they were committed to making work, what is now the political will of Government.”

The statement said invitations to attend future meetings would be extended to other bodies, adding: “The Group will reiterate an invitation to bodies who previously did not attend the Forum, including ARLA and The Property Ombudsman, and will open the invitation more widely to the National Landlords Association and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.”

The next meeting of the Working Group will be in early January.