Landlords are already whining about the scrap to letting agents' fees and say rents will go up

Helen Cahill
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Landlords fear letting agents will pass on the fees to them (Source: Getty)

People across the country will be cheered by the news that chancellor Philip Hammond will scrap letting agents' fees in the Autumn Statement today.

The measure is designed to save renters from hundreds of pounds of upfront charges, but, unsurprisingly, landlords and letting agents are outraged by the change, and are threatening to push up rents.

Read more: What to expect when you're expecting the Autumn Statement

Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association, said: "The new chancellor is clearly aware of the pressures facing those living in the private-rented sector, but in attempting to improve affordability he has shown that, like his predecessor, he lacks an understanding of how the whole sector works.

"Banning letting agent fees will be welcomed by private tenants, at least in the short-term, because they won’t realise that it will boomerang back on them.

"Agents will have no other option than to shift the fees on to landlords, which many will argue is more appropriate, since the landlord employs the agent. But adding to landlords’ costs, on top of restricting their ability to deduct their business costs from their taxable income, will only push more towards increasing rents."

Read more: Hammond to scrap letting agent fees in today's Autumn Statement

Richard Price, the executive director of the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA), also said that the "unavoidable outcome" of Hammond's measure will be an increase in costs for landlords that "will be passed on to tenants through higher rents".

“UKALA agents strive to provide a premium service which represents excellent value for money and this ban will place in jeopardy hundreds of professional businesses in order to deal with the few unscrupulous," Price said.

JLL's head of agency, Lucy Morton, said:

Reasonable charges including referencing costs may now be charged to landlords which in turn may then be added to the annual rent. It is essential that agents do not cut corners and fail to carry out stringent referencing checks.

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