Civil servants have stressed that it is the “political will” of Government to ban letting agent fees and that the industry’s focus should be not on preventing the ban but on how it will work.
The message has been relayed by the Fair Fees Forum Working Group, set up towards the end of last year by the National Approved Letting Scheme just before the fees ban was announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in the Autumn Statement.
With government officials last week stressing that the ban will go ahead, it is clear that the promised consultation will focus only on details and not the principle of the ban in England.
The Fair Fees Forum Working Group said in a statement: “DCLG [the Department for Communities and Local Government] reminded the group that it was the political will of Government to ban fees.
“Therefore, the excellent work of the group should be focused on continuing to provide evidence and data to help inform Government on the fee ban and how best to make it work.”
Those at last Friday’s meeting who heard the message included representatives of agents such as Hunters, Belvoir, Chesterton, Connells, LSL, Northwood, Savills, Countrywide and Winkworth, as well as ARLA and RICS.
DCLG was also in attendance, making its point, along with the Greater London Authority and the two main landlord bodies, RLA and NLA.
The meeting was also attended by the three property redress schemes.
Delegates agreed to contact the Competition and Markets Authority with a request that it review fees and charges in the lettings market and how best it should operate, ahead of the consultation being launched.
The group agreed to meet again when the Government consultation has been issued to consider a joint response, but members will also provide individual views to the consultation and share them, if they choose.