A new Fair Fees Forum has been launched by the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) in order to help prevent excessive fees being charged by agents.
The Fair Fees Forum, which brings industry, trading standards and consumer groups together to discuss the creation of a fair fees charter, will explore whether a cap on upfront tenant fees is practical and enforceable.
The organisation, which represents both letting and management agents, feels that a cap on fees is the most appropriate way of preventing excessive fees, as opposed to a widespread ban as proposed by some quarters of the housing industry.
The new forum will work together to consider fees and ensure agents are still paid for the work they do setting up a tenancy, while looking at a way to curb the fee excesses that have crept into some parts of the market.
Some 84% of letting agents in this country back the idea of a cap on fees, NALS research claims.
Isobel Thomson, chief executive of NALS, commented: “Ultimately this is about creating an equitable solution for all. The truth is, a good private rented sector cannot be free, and nor should it be. Agents should be paid for the work they do, but equally tenants should know they are paying a reasonable fee that has been explained to them clearly: nothing hidden, nothing excessive.
“The private rented sector faces the widely held misconception that all letting agent fees are sky high, and should therefore be banned. In fact, the bulk of letting agents are charging tenants a fair fee for their service. Where they aren’t, we believe excessive fess should be curbed.
“NALS’ Fair Fees Forum brings all sides together to explore the feasibility and practicalities of a cap as well as considering the way in which agents’ present fees to tenants to ensure clarity and understanding. This is not a talking shop – it’s time to act on excessive tenant fees.”