Letting agents fees legislation needs to be revisited
Commenting on the Chancellor’s proposals, announced earlier today, to end the practice of charging letting fees, Nicola McCrudden, Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) director for Northern Ireland, said: “We know that letting agent fees are simply too high for many people. Removing that barrier will make it easier for them to get access to a home.”
“The majority of letting agents charge fees, which can vary depending on the location of the property. They can affect both landlord and tenants and sometimes it is not clear what they cover.
“They are additional charges, paid on top of a deposit, and cover items such as reference and credit checks as well as general administration costs. Letting agents should list them in any advertising but this does not always happen so tenants can be faced with an additional charge – sometimes around £50, without knowing in advance.
“Legislation in Northern Ireland suggests that the charging of these fees could be illegal but it is not enforceable and needs to be revisited.
“As twenty per cent of households in Northern Ireland rent privately, the issue of letting fees and indeed the regulation of letting agents needs further consideration. CIH in Northern Ireland is supportive of a mandatory licensing system which would go a long way to addressing poor practice.”