High-profile Labour Welsh Assembly Member (AM) Jenny Rathbone has called for a tenant fees ban in Wales, despite voting against a similar proposal by Plaid Cymru last year.
Her comments follow a 2012 ban in Scotland against tenant fees as well as last week’s announcement by the Chancellor that they are to be banned in England next year, following a consultation.
Rathbone (pictured) has been active in Wales campaigning against fees. In a Senedd debate earlier this year she said “it should be the landlord paying the letting agency, not the tenant” and that “letting agencies are getting away with simply not providing a service in exchange for a fee”, in particular highlighting fees for taking properties off the market while contracts are drawn up.
And Rathbone is worried that Wales is now seen as protecting tenants “less than in England and Scotland”, she told the BBC.
But in Wales, unlike in England and Scotland, Rathbone is one of a relatively small group of politicians to campaign for a fees ban. Welsh ministers have taken the view recently that rents would rise if landlords are asked to pay for the cost of post-tenancy property cleaning, inventories, credit checks and references.
There is also some confusion about whether the Welsh Government has the powers to introduce a ban. Rathbone and other Labour AMs voted against a Plaid Cymru attempt to introduce a ban last year after being advised that it would not be possible to implement, although later it was revealed that the Assembly does have the powers.