Dexters supports the ban on tenants fees being brought forward and the limiting of any additional charges to tenants. We have always kept any charges to tenants as low as possible, making sure any financial contribution from a tenant has been transparent before they consider renting through us and that it is wholly relevant to the work carried out on their behalf. According to a recent survey by Generation Rent, Dexters charges are the lowest of the largest London lettings agents.
However, the draft Bill still misses the point by dealing with the effect rather than the cause of the problem. We would prefer to see compulsory regulation of lettings agents. Currently, very large sums of money are handled, often under no regulation, depending on the agent. Successive governments have refused to take action, preferring to keep barriers to entry low, ostensibly to promote competition. We structure our lettings business strategy around our aim to attract the best possible tenants for our landlords.
Not only do we run our own academy to train all our staff, we are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. We are also members of the Association of Residential Lettings Agents and comply with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and the Property Ombudsman. But we don’t have to belong to all these bodies because the industry is not regulated. A law or an accountancy firm would not be allowed to trade without stringent professional controls. Why should a lettings agent be any different?
The Queen’s speech to the British parliament this week was a scaled-back affair, which was unsurprising. Much commentary in recent days has concentrated on the long list of Conservative manifesto promises that have fallen by the wayside, reflecting the fact that we now have a PM that has been stripped of her power and a government that is just about managing. While there were a few sensible measures included in the Queen’s speech, controversial parts of the Tory manifesto were dropped. But unfortunately for many letting agents, the proposal to ban letting agent fees in England was not among the casualties.