Letting agents are set for at least another year or more of uncertainty as the Government has publicly confirmed the tenant fee ban is unlikely to be implemented before April 2019.
The indication came in a response from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to a parliamentary petition calling for a reversal of the tenant fee ban.
The petition, started by lettings agent Rob Farrelly, calls for a cap on fees rather than an outright ban, which he said would result in costs being passed on to landlords.
The petition has received just over 10,000 signatures so far, below the 100,000 required for a House of Commons debate.
But the Government has responded to say the ban will go ahead but that legislation had been published in draft form to ensure it is fair.
The response said: “Good letting agents, providing services that represent value for money to landlords, will continue to play an important role in the market. Furthermore, such letting agents will be on a fairer footing to compete for landlords’ business since it will be much harder for rogue agents to exploit their position between landlords and tenants.
“The Communities and Local Government Select Committee is currently holding a public inquiry into the draft Bill.
“We welcome Parliamentary scrutiny on whether the draft Bill achieves its aim of delivering a fairer, more competitive, and more affordable lettings market where tenants have greater clarity and control over what they will pay and where the landlord is the primary customer of the letting agent.
“The Government will then seek to introduce the Bill formally to Parliament at the earliest opportunity.
“We will do this as soon as parliamentary time allows.
“We do not expect implementation to be before April 2019.
“This will allow letting agents time to prepare and re-negotiate their contracts.”
This is the third time such an indication of timing has been given.
Last December, BBC Radio4 programme You and Yours was told in a statement by then DCLG that it was not expecting the ban to be implemented until “after spring 2019 at the earliest”.
The National Approved Lettings Scheme said it had been told the same in January.