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General Election manifestos mean deposit reform is “unavoidably on the agenda” and make it clear it’s “how” not “if” or “when” for Letting Agent fee ban


May 3, 2017

A leading property campaigner believes the publication of the main political party’s General Election manifestos means tenancy deposit reform is now “unavoidably on the agenda”.

Ajay Jagota, founder of sales and lettings firm KIS and deposit-free renting solution Dlighted is also warning the property industry to stop “living in complete and utter denial” about the coming ban on Letting Agent Fees – with such a ban promised by all three major parties.

The publication today of the Conservative’s manifesto means that they, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have now all published their election promises for the private rented sector

These are as follows:

Conservatives: Confirmation that they will continue with the letting agent fee ban and a commitment to “improve protections for those who rent, including by looking at how we increase security for good tenants and encouraging landlords to offer longer tenancies as standard”

Labour: Establishment of a “Department of Housing” tasked with improving the “number, standards and affordability of homes”, make three-year tenancies the norm, cap rent rises in line with inflation, ban letting agency fees, give renters “new consumer rights”, introduce new standards to ensure properties are “fit for human habitation”.

Liberal Democrats: Mandatory landlord licensing, three-year tenancies, inflation-linked rent increases and a cap on upfront tenancy deposits.

Ajay Jagota, founder of Protech Deposit replacement insurance solution Dlighted – an alternative to the cash Tenancy Deposit schemes TDS, DPS and Mydeposits – and sales and lettings firm KIS commented:

“The Letting Agent fee ban is the latest in a long line of things the industry believed would never happen until they did. If it wasn’t obvious enough, the manifestos we’ve seen this week make it clear those people need to stop living in complete and utter denial.

“It is not a case of whether Letting Agent fees are going to be banned but how the ban will be implemented. It’s not even a case of when the ban comes as legislating for it is likely to be low hanging fruit compared to other pledges on housing so I’d expect to see it in the first Queen’s Speech of whatever government we have after June 8.

“All three manifestoes are, however, very light on detail when it comes to the form the ban will take. Do they mean an outright ban of any kind of fee being charged to tenants or will things like referencing fees be exempt? It’s over these issues that the industry now needs to mobilise.

“The most significant pledge on renting of any of the parties is the Liberal Democrats deposit cap. It’s not a policy I agree with, but its very existence means that deposit reform is now unavoidably on the agenda.

“I can already hear some people saying ‘it’ll never happen’, to which I say this: Two years ago Labour plans to ban letting agent fees were roundly mocked by the Conservatives. Today it’s unthinkable that the Conservatives will go back on banning them. Like it or not, deposit reform has arrived.”

By Emily