Tenant Fees Act may limit access in selective licensing areas

Tenant Fees Act may limit access in selective licensing areas

11:59 AM, 31st May 2019, About 3 years ago 10

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The National Landlords Association (NLA) is concerned the Tenant Fees Act 2019 may limit access to rented property for tenants in areas with selective licensing.

The Tenant Fees Act, which comes into effect on 1 June, limits the fees landlords and letting agents can charge tenants. Because of this, many agents have signalled they are unlikely to provide post-tenancy references, something they currently charge for.

However, most selective licensing schemes require landlords to complete reference checks. If tenants are unable to satisfy these checks, landlords will be unable to let to them without breaching the conditions of their selective licensing.

Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA, says:

“Tenants are at risk of losing out on the chance to find a home because letting agents are doing everything they can to minimise workloads to cut down on costs.

“While landlords who self-manage their portfolios will be covering many increased in costs, letting agents are looking at any way they can limit what they have to do on behalf of tenants, now that the costs cannot be directly recovered.

“The smooth running of the housing market requires a little give-and-take, and unfortunately the reaction of some letting agents to the ban on most charges looks set to throw-up more barriers to moving from one tenancy to another.

“Just like private landlords, letting agency businesses are being put under increasing pressure by government regulation. However, they must realise that penalising outgoing tenants by refusing to provide references will ultimately cost them more than just the price of a reference as landlords opt to do without agents altogether.”


Dylan Morris

14:14 PM, 31st May 2019, About 3 years ago

Why doesn’t the prospective landlord simply ask for 12 months bank statements showing rent has been paid on time ? Surely this qualifies as a “reference” under selective licensing ?

Monty Bodkin

15:23 PM, 31st May 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 31/05/2019 - 14:14
Paying the rent on time doesn't mean they haven't been running a brothel, cannabis farming, hosting a crèche, holding all night parties, subletting, keeping a pony indoors, assaulting the neighbours or the 1001 other reasons for landlords to be extremely careful who they let to.

Larry Sweeney

16:26 PM, 31st May 2019, About 3 years ago

Richard makes some excellent points but such is the absolute mess that government and councils have made that the entire Selective licensing sham is a farce.
The Alliance will in due course publish a list of non compliant councils but firstly let me address the issue of references.
The Housing act 2004 states that landlords must DEMAND references. If a landlord can prove that he demanded a reference but none was forthcoming because perhaps the tenant was a recently arrived immigrant, the landlords has complied. Councils are however subverting the legislation inserting the word 'obtain' rather than demand. The entire 'Landlord attack ' has complicated and destroyed the PRS.
Wait until the Government have swathes of Dss tenants unable to get accomodation. Thank you Government and Shelter. What a fiasco.

Luke P

17:37 PM, 31st May 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 31/05/2019 - 16:26
Out of curiosity, what happens if a LL does not ‘demand’ references? What is the point the Act is trying to make/get at? Surely if a LL chooses not to reference a tenant that is their risk…

Dylan Morris

18:03 PM, 31st May 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 31/05/2019 - 15:23
Fair point but would a landlord really disclose bad behaviour when they wish to get rid of a nightmare tenant ? Probably not worth the paper it’s written on.

Monty Bodkin

18:30 PM, 31st May 2019, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 31/05/2019 - 18:03
Well there's references and then there's references.

In my main town I know all the letting agents and bigger landlords (or know someone who does) and know they wouldn't stitch me up. And vice versa.

So yes, I do disclose bad behaviour from nightmare tenants.

I'd give far less credence to a generic, non-verbal, email reference from an unknown source.

Larry Sweeney

21:52 PM, 31st May 2019, About 3 years ago

Hi Luke,
A corporate landlord was prosecuted in Birmingham because the tenant produced a false reference. If a landlord fails to demand a reference he falls foul of the act and can be prosecuted. The industry has not grasped the extent of this madness

Mick Roberts

10:41 AM, 1st June 2019, About 3 years ago

I've been shouting from the rooftops for over a year about this.
Vulnerable HB No money tenants can no longer be housed as quite often they don't have a reference. Should that mean they be homeless forever?
I did sort this out with the boss of Nottingham Licensing who verbally said he ain't gonna' insist on this, but he has now left his post in Feb 1 year into a 5 year post. Don't u just love consistency with these councils.
I think I may have got the word changed to 'Demand' like Larry says.
And yes, some Landlords have & do provide references that say Oh yes this person is brilliant, cause we they need to get rid of bad tenant. I put me hands up, done it myself years ago to local Homeless when they insist on GOOD reference or they won't take this bad person. When funds are tight & mortgage needs paying, u do anything to get rid of non paying current tenant.
However nowadays, I would rather no rent in for a year than pass my bad tenant onto another unsuspecting tight margins Landlord.
Here is some words for a reference I did this week for a tenant I had to evict:
You MUST NOT PLACE THIS TENANT ON ANY PRIVATE Landlord & have them go through what I’ve had to go through.
But I do understand some Landlords can't afford to give bad reference which I know is wrong, but Councils need to change tack & be quicker to help us, & if they do, we then help them, taking their crap, knowing that if it don't work out, Council will take back again. As it is, Councils delay evictions to temporarily help them, which next time hurts them as the wise Landlord no longer takes anything but the perfect tenant.
Sorry, have I gone off topic ha ha. I do like to rant at the Council & Govt systems that han't got a clue, when we have an easy answer.
On that subject, more text from me this week to someone:
Nottingham Council are contacting some people to come into forum meeting to ask for their suggestions how they can alleviate homeless going forward, suggestions etc.
Some of these people (great people, but the wrong people to ask, as in Housing, but not housing people), have emailed back & said I'm not your person, why don't u contact Mick Roberts who's at the coal face.
So Nottingham Council homeless are looking for answers, but don't want to hear the truth for the solutions, as that's what I will give them, but it seems the truth won't be pretty enough.

Chris @ Possession Friend

23:16 PM, 1st June 2019, About 3 years ago

....... ' smooth running takes a little Give & take from everyone ' ?
I think enough has been taken from Agents, infact - EVERYTHING.
Agents can't charge Tenants at all. - there's nothing left to give from Agents.
Consequently, they're loading up other fees to landlords ( starting to loose a little sympathy now )
As for Landlords, well they've had a hammering from this government for 5 years, so there's certainly nothing left to give from them.
So who exactly is supposed to do something for nothing - its not the way business works !


12:22 PM, 3rd June 2019, About 3 years ago

Can someone shed some light as to what fees the Tenant Fees Ban actually covers? Is it all fees?
I used to have a clause for lost keys/ attending to let tenants in/ etc. presumably I cannot charge that anymore?
What about damages at the end of the tenancy? Cleaning is the most obvious that never is as good as at move in.
Or if they have stuck posters to all of the walls which means they now need repainting?
Or they have been smoking and the property needs to be fumigated?
if none of these can be claimed what is the point of collecting a damage deposit?

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