Accommodation Agencies: Fees and Charges

Department for Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 12th January 2017.

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Photo of Royston Smith Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effect of the cost of letting agent fees on the ability of homeless people go access private tenancies.

Photo of Gavin Barwell Gavin Barwell Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Housing, Planning and London)

Holding answer received on 11 January 2017

We are committed to doing all we can to prevent homelessness. We made a significant investment of nearly £14 million from 2010 to 2016 for Crisis to develop a programme to help single homeless people access private rented sector accommodation. Over 9,000 people were helped, with over 90% maintaining tenancies for at least 6 months.

There is evidence that letting agents’ fees have increased significantly in recent years, and Citizens’ Advice found that a majority of tenants experienced problems paying these fees.

The Government is keen to see all tenants receiving a good service from their landlord and letting agent. That is why we announced in the Autumn Statement a ban on letting agent fees paid by tenants in England. Tenants will be better able to search around for properties that suit their budget and there will be no hidden costs.

The Government will consult later in the year on the detail of how best to implement a ban. An impact assessment will follow the consultation and the effect of the ban on homeless people will be considered as part of this work.

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