'Bristol Res' Blog • 12 January 2018
Although the Letting Fees Ban was top of the politicians agenda as they returned to the House of Commons this week it was soon revealed by the renamed Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG ) that the letting fees ban is not going to come into force until at least Spring 2019.
In written evidence to both the Select Committee hearings that scrutinised the draft legislation, and to the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), MHCLG has revealed that it will be at least 15 months before letting agents and landlords will no longer be able to charge fees to tenants.
Introduced by Sajid Javid in November last year, the draft legislation was given a thorough savaging by experts during the hearing on Monday and will now go to a third reading in the House of Commons before moving to the Lords.
MPs were told at the hearing by experts from Shelter and the University of York’s Centre for Housing Policy that a letting fees ban could easily lead to higher rents as banned fees were added by landlords to the rent over the length of each tenancy, and also reduce the quality of rented accommodation as landlords tightened their purse strings.
“We’re pleased to see more clarity on the timetable for implementation of the ban – it’s much needed for our industry and something NALS has long called for,” says Isobel Thomson, CEO of NALS
“While the Bill aims to create a fairer and safer private rented sector (PRS) for all, NALS doesn’t believe this will deliver what the government aspires to and risks doing real damage to the PRS.
“NALS urges [the] government to use this time to fully assess the impact of the Bill. It is crucial that government look again at the proposals and consider tenant fees in a broader, coherent framework of regulation for the PRS.
There is now a petition to ask the Government to reconsider the Tenants’ Fees Bill and should you wish to sign the petition please click here.
The Severn Crossing tolls reduced by 20% with a promise to remove tolls altogether by end of 2018.
The toll on the two Severn crossings was reduced on Monday as the bridges moved into public ownership.
Severn River Crossing PLC, who have run the crossings for 25 years whilst the build and financing costs of the bridges have been paid off, handed the running of them to the Department for Transport at midnight on Sunday. At this point VAT was immediately removed from the cost of the toll reducing the charges for cars travelling into south Wales from England from £6.70 to £5.50.
This reduction is all part of the governments commitment to remove the tolls on these bridges altogether by the end of 2018 and to remove the artificial financial barrier currently separating Wales and the West of England.