The London Borough of Hackney has launched a voluntary letting fees ban ahead of the government’s ban expected next year.
The borough has called on all letting agents within its borders to “stop unfair charges for private renters” including processing, amending or renewing a tenancy agreement.
The initiative is part of the borough’s Better Renting Campaign to promote a fairer renting for the 32,000 households who rent from private landlords within Hackney.
“We have long called on the Government to take action to stop this extortionate financial burden placed on private renters,” says recently-elected Labour councillor Sem Moema (pictured, left), who is also a housing advisor to the borough’s directly-elected mayor.
“The new housing minister, Alok Sharma, must resist the strong voice of the letting agent lobby and push through this legislation without delay.
“But while it’s vital action, a lettings fee ban tackles the symptoms, not the causes, of the housing crisis.
“In the absence of any real change on the ground, we’re taking matters into our own hands and are working directly with local letting agents to create a fairer and more transparent private renting system in Hackney, starting now.”
The campaign has the official support of one local letting agent so far, Julian Reid Estate Agents which has a branch office on Stoke Newington Church Street and lets and manages approximately 60 properties in the area.
“We’ve always been aware that renting in London for tenants is a hugely expensive business and that some agents charge huge fees that puts a large burden on the tenants,” says owner Julian Reid (pictured, right).
“A lot of tenants aren’t sure what they are going to be charged when they rent a property but we’ve always taken the view that we should be open and transparent.
“We don’t charge lettings fees to tenants and have always taken a more ethical approach; we only charge a referencing fee but don’t charge any fees throughout the tenancy.
“I don’t think the fact that we don’t charge fees puts us at a disadvantage against our competitors – it doesn’t make a big difference to our business.”